shots necessary?

nelles_gwJuly 5, 2014

New poster here.

I have two ragdoll cats, a little over 8 years old. They are indoor cats.

But they do go out on the lanai, a large screened-in area, open to the outdoor air. They NEVER get out of the lanai, or the house, to roam freely.

My question is this: do they need annual rabies and feline leukemia shots?

These shots are expensive, and the male cat has a 2 or 3 day reaction to the leukemia shot.

TIA for your thoughts,

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spedigrees z4VT

All cats should have an annual rabies shot, and you should ask your vet about the recommended interval for other inoculations. Feline leukemia is a deadly disease, as is distemper, and the other viruses that the combination shot protects against. Being an indoor cat does not mean that your cat cannot contract these diseases.

This post was edited by spedigrees on Sat, Jul 5, 14 at 19:05

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 7:03PM
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Welcome nelles, my last cat lived for 17 years, when she was young she would get her yearly shots and I would let her go out, when she reached 5 the shots started making her deathly ill and a few times I thought I was going to loose her, I stopped all shots and kept her in for the rest of her life. It was a chance I took,so its really up to you, if you have cats roaming around your property that is something to take into consideration also.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 9:11AM
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Thank you both for your replies.

My cats are never exposed to any other animals, as my HOA has a strict leash requirement.

They aren't due until August, so I'll be thinking about this.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 10:20AM
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My cat gets the rabies and the FVRCP but only because she has access to an outdoor kennel. Outdoor cats that pass thru the yard (fights thru the wire kennel) and bats are the main reason I get the vaccines. I was going to have her vaccinated for rabies only, but after talking with the vet I relented on the FVRCP due to possible exposure to sick, stray cats and any ill cats at the vets.
If I had a cat that showed any sensitivity, I wouldn't get the vaccines either.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 11:52PM
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I do the same as annz; rabies (one year Purevax), and distemper/FVRCP. Rabies, because it's required by law in NY I believe, and because we did have a bat in our house once, as have others here in Pets. No way do I want my cats quarantined if we ever get one again. I do the distemper vaccine because it is an airborne illness, and they could be exposed at the vet's office, or if an infected cat should happen to come up on our deck while our cats are hanging out by the screen door. Also, I volunteer at an animal shelter, and could theoretically bring home the virus (I do wash my clothing and shower before sitting anywhere at home, and before picking up my own cats).

I won't give my cats the FeLV vaccine. I had given it to my first two cats for fourteen or more years (it had recently come out when we got my first cat as a kitten, and it was a big deal that there was finally a vaccine against it). One of our cats died from fibrosarcoma, and the FeLV vaccine is/was highly suspected by many to cause Vaccine-associated sarcomas. Our cats now (as well the first two) are not highly likely to come in contact with another cat's blood/bite wounds and it is my understanding that that is how the disease is transmitted.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 11:36AM
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An 8 year old indoor cat is certainly and extremely low risk for getting Feline Leukemia virus, so I would skip that vax due to the risk factor (mentioned above). Rabies is recommended if there is ANY chance for indoor bat exposure (happens fairly commonly around here) or your cat is likely to bite someone someday, or if legally required (not here). The FVRCP vax recommended every 3 years now, but realistically an older indoor cat is not likely to contract one of these viruses, either, unless you work for a pound or vet. I am curious what you think 'expensive' is, though... all these vax are pretty cheap in this area.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:53AM
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My 8 year old indoor only cat has zero contact with other animals -- I have not gotten him shots since he was a kitten.

If money is an issue -- you are better off spending it on good cat food and litter.

lzrddr -- My guess is if you take an 8 year old cat to the vet that hasn't been in years -- they will try to talk you into a lot of things besides shots... (ie: blood draw, teeth cleaning, etc...)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:36AM
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If you get talked into to doing other things, perhaps they are worth it... but it is very easy to just so no, too. I know, as I am a vet and people say no to me all the time. So then we do what they want us to do.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 10:13AM
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I would definitely do the rabies shots, in case of accidental bat exposure.
A lady who had two indoor kitties posted a cautionary tale here many years ago...she'd gone to sleep with her window open one night, and when she woke up in the morning, there was a bat on her bed! She reported it to whomever, and because her cats hadn't been vaccinated for rabies, they had to both be quarantined at the vet's office for many months, on her dime.

She posted her story so others wouldn't make the same mistake. She was heartbroken to have to be apart from her kitties for so long, and could scarcely afford to board them with the vet.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:35PM
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Junebug, I remember that story too! My 8-year-old indoor kitty is due for her shots too later this summer. I was thinking of not getting them, but I'm re-thinking it now. This thread has a lot of good info.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 8:29PM
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One of my indoor only cats also tangled with a bat in the house. He'd had rabies vaccinations but wasn't current. Because I took the bad in for rabies testing I got all kinds of interrogation calls from the health department. Because I'd smashed the bat's head they didn't have enough in tact brain to test for rabies. So they treated the case assuming the bat had rabies. I took my cats in the next day for the vaccination and the vet told me I could quarantine my cats at home but had to keep them away from all other animals for six months.

I will never again delay vaccination. My vet said feline leukemia not needed as long as no contact with other cats including any outdoor cat that might come up to a screen door and spit at my cat through the screen. I haven't gotten that vaccine yet but planning to ask about it again. It wasn't my regular vet who told me this.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 10:30PM
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Socks, I just did a search and found the story, entitled "Don't make my mistake", by musiclvr. It was only four years ago. I've been a member here so long, all the stories/time sort of get mixed up in my head! Anyway, she ended up taking out a loan to board her cats- the other option was euthanization.

Gibby, I saw your story there, too.

I'm glad that musiclvr posted that story-I'd been toying with the idea of not vaccinating my cats. My two kitties were indoors only, but there was a period of time where we had a lot of bat infiltrates in the house. Better safe than sorry!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 2:27PM
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My cat is 7 yrs old. He gets an annual rabies shot & distemper is good for 2 years. We were turning out the lights the other night and a bat flew through the living room. :0) Our cat took out after it. Then we saw him downstairs listening to the wall...mice are in the wall...not in the house...yet....

Mice & bats.....

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:41PM
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