Preventive Care and Vaccines for Indoor Cats:
Even if they never leave the house, indoor cats still need to be vaccinated to protect their health. These are the required or recommended vaccines for indoor cats.
Rabies vaccine administration is required by Maine State Law for all cats regardless if they go outside or not. One of the most common carriers of the Rabies virus are bats. When a bat is infected it is more likely to seek shelter and behave in unusual ways such as fly towards light sources and into people’s houses. This makes vaccinating your indoor cat against Rabies extremely important. We get calls every year from clients who woke up to their indoor only cat playing with a dead bat in the house. We have even had this situation occur and the humans then have to go through the series of rabies vaccines themselves!
We use PureVax Rabies vaccine (produced by Merial). This vaccine was specially formulated to reduce the occurrence of vaccine-associated fibrosarcomas (a type of cancer) in cats. Other Rabies vaccines contain an irritant or adjuvant to increase the body’s response to the vaccine. It is this irritant or adjuvant that has been identified as a cause of the fibrosarcoma tumors in cats. The PureVax is non-adjuvant, extremely safe and administered once yearly.
FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calici virus and Panleukopenia) is another recommended vaccine for indoor cats. This vaccine provides immunity against two separate upper respiratory diseases (Rhinotracheitis—the Feline Herpes virus, and Calici virus). The third component protects against Panleukopenia (the Feline Distemper virus).
These diseases are highly contagious and can be brought into the environment by other pets that go outside or even the owners’ clothing. In kittens, this vaccine is administered every four weeks from the ages of eight to sixteen weeks. It is boostered the following year and every three years thereafter. In cats over sixteen to eighteen weeks, the vaccine is administered once and boostered the following year and every three years thereafter.
For indoor cat parasite prevention we recommend situational flea control. If you live in a private home with a dog (who will bring fleas to your cat!), or in an apartment building containing other pets, flea control is important. Remember, cats are a flea’s favorite host. Recommended flea control can be achieved by applying a monthly topical or by giving an injection that provides 6 months of coverage. Ask us which would work best for your situation.