Most cats do not experience any side effects after being vaccinated. These kitties go back to their routines after getting home as if nothing happened. However, there are a small number of cats who might experience a few side effects, including malaise, low fever, and low appetite.
Why your cat is not feeling well after a vaccination
Vaccination is essential for the health and wellbeing, not only of your cat, but also your family. Many lethal diseases have been kept at bay and countless cats have been saved, thanks to the development of vaccines.
That is not to say that there are no adverse reactions to vaccines. Along with the benefits, there are a few risks associated with vaccines. But in the grand scheme of things, the benefits outweigh the risks.
Generally, most cats do not experience any side effects from vaccines. Between three to 50 out of 10,000 cats may experience mild symptoms. It is possible that these numbers are higher but are rarely reported because the side effects are often negligible and go away within a couple of days.
These side effects include low fever, malaise, vomiting, facial swelling, itching, and pain and/or swelling in the injection site.
Vaccines can also cause lameness, breathing difficulties, and even cancer. However, these side effects rarely happen.
Your cat can react to a vaccine anywhere between 30 minutes to three days after administration. To date, animal health experts have yet to understand why some animals have reactions to vaccines or why some breeds seem to be more susceptible to these reactions.
If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment.
Why vaccination is important to your cat
Although some diseases are now close to being completely eradicated, it is still essential to protect your cat against these.
When your pet is vaccinated, a small amount of the disease is introduced to his body. This amount is so small that it cannot cause your pet to become sick. In turn, this triggers your cat’s immune system to create antibodies that will fight the disease.
After your cat has created antibodies for a disease, he will have immunity against it. If he is exposed to the disease, his body will be ready to fight it.
Among all the vaccines for cats, rabies is considered to be one of the most critical because of its threat to humans. This is why in some places, rabies vaccines are mandated while others are not. However, most of these vaccines are still important to the health of your cat.
The type of vaccine your pet needs to get will depend on a few factors, including his health and whether he lives exclusively indoors or not.
Vaccination for kittens can start anywhere between six to 10 weeks of age. Depending on your cat’s exposure to diseases, his age, breed, and your vet’s recommendation, he may need booster shots for his vaccines anywhere between one and three years.
Vaccines are essential for kittens because their immune systems are not fully developed. However, timing is critical. During a kitten’s initial days, his mother provides him with antibodies through the mother’s milk. These antibodies usually last for a few weeks. And vaccinating a cat during this period is not recommended because the antibodies can undermine the vaccines. Typically, kittens need to be vaccinated over a period of 12 to 16 weeks.
Cat vaccines are broadly categorized into two types: core and non-core vaccines.
Core vaccines include vaccines against rabies, calicivirus, feline distemper, and feline herpesvirus.
The non-core vaccines include the vaccines against feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline infectious peritonitis, ringworms, chlamydia felis, and kennel cough.
Before a non-core vaccine is administered to your cat, the vet needs to evaluate your pet’s health, age, vaccine history, current medication, and the presence of other cats in your household.
For example, if you do not board your pet in a cattery, there is no reason for him to get a vaccine against kennel cough.
Helping your cat feel better after vaccination
Although it is impossible to predict what your cat’s reaction to the vaccine will be, there are a few things that you can do to make him feel better after coming home from the clinic.
Before going to the vet, make sure that you set aside space where your pet can rest quietly once you go back home. This is particularly important if you have kids and other pets in your home. However, if your cat moves to another spot, just let him be.
Make sure that your pet has access to food and water. But do not worry if your cat barely touches his food. Lack of appetite is a side effect of vaccines in some cats.
Give your cat time to recover by himself. Unless you are feeding him or replenishing his water bowl, do not go to him to play or massage it. When he is ready, he will be the one to approach you.
Monitor your cat and watch out for severe side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, lameness, and breathing difficulties. If your cat exhibits these symptoms, go to the vet office as soon as possible.
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