Although core vaccines against Rabies, Feline Distemper Virus, Feline Herpesvirus,and Feline Calicivirus are important for all cats, indoor/outdoor cats should also be vaccinated to protect against the Feline Leukemia virus.
The rabies vaccine we use for cats is an annual vaccine. Although cats that go outside are at far greater risk of contracting the virus (through the bite of an infected animal), the vaccine is required by the State of Maine for all cats, regardless of their lifestyle.
A rabies vaccine is not just about protecting your cat, it is also about protecting you, your family and friends. Rabies is a zoonotic disease. This means if your cat becomes infected, you are at risk! And although a bite wound is generally required to transmit the disease, saliva from an infected animal can introduce the virus into an existing wound on you without a bite.
If your cat is unvaccinated or overdue for this vaccine and came into the clinic with a bite wound of unknown origin, State of Maine law requires up to a six month in home quarantine or euthanasia! Both are excellent reasons for keeping your cat up to date.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FELV)
Feline Leukemia is a virus that is propagated by the feral cat population in a given area. Although it is not highly contagious (requires direct/intimate contact for transmission), it is a fatal virus to many cats who are exposed to it. If your cat is indoors and does not live with a FELV positive cat, it is not considered an essential or core vaccine. If, however, your cat goes outdoors, this vaccine is a must!
Feline Distemper/Upper Respiratory Complex (FVRCP)
The FVRCP vaccine protects your cat from many of the airborne viral infections including feline panleukopenia virus, calicivirus and herpesvirus. These infections are highly contagious. The calicivirus and herpesvirus are responsible for 80-90% of upper respiratory infections in cats. The distemper (panleukopenia) virus can be deadly and the feline herpesvirus can lead to long term recurrent respiratory problems. This is a very important vaccine for all cats.