Cats are susceptible to a range of viral diseases that can be fatal in severe cases. Viruses are usually spread by close contact between cats. Antibiotics have no effect against viruses so treatment usually consists of attempts to alleviate the symptoms and support the cat until recovery occurs. Fortunately safe, effective vaccines are available to protect cats against cat flu (also known as snuffles) feline enteritis and feline AIDS (FIV).
Routinely we vaccinate kittens against these viruses at the age of 9, 12 and 15 weeks, followed by a booster at one year of age. From then on we vaccinate every year for FIV and every three years for flu and enteritis.
We do not routinely vaccinate against feline leukaemia as this virus is very rare in New Zealand. We can however, offer this vaccination as an optional extra at your request. We do recommend feline leukaemia vaccination of cats at risk, for instance those that live with another cat that already has the disease.
There is now available an optional vaccination against Feline immunodeficiency virus (F.I.V.). This virus is spread by cat bites and scratches during fighting. F.I.V. is a common virus in Marlborough and causes the eventually fatal disease feline AID’s. Boarding catteries do not require cats to be vaccinated against F.I.V. but vaccination is recommended to keep your cat free of disease.
Kittens are vaccinated against F.I.V. at 9, 12, and 15 weeks followed by a booster each year. Adult cats can be vaccinated too but need to be blood tested first to show they are not already carrying F.I.V. For more information on F.I.V. see the article Feline Aids.
As vaccines take time to work, it is necessary to keep your new kitten inside away from the neighbourhood cats until a week after the initial vaccination course has been completed (ie. after the 15 week injection).
You will receive a vaccination certificate after the first injection and it is important that you bring this with you on each vaccination visit so that we can keep it updated for you. You will need to produce this certificate as proof of vaccination if you ever need to board your cat in a cattery.