Feline Wellness Starts Here: The Crucial Need for Kitten Vaccination

| May 24, 2024

As flowers bloom and temperatures rise, spring brings not only a sense of renewal but also a surge in new life. For animal shelters and animal welfare organizations, this time of year often marks the beginning of “kitten season” – a period when countless adorable kittens are born and find themselves in need of loving homes. While the arrival of these tiny bundles of fur is undoubtedly heartwarming, it also underscores the critical importance of vaccination in safeguarding their health and well-being. 

Why Vaccinate Kittens?

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect kittens from a myriad of potentially deadly diseases. Just like human infants, kittens are vulnerable to a range of illnesses that can spread rapidly and have severe consequences if left untreated. Vaccination plays a crucial role in strengthening their immune systems and equipping them with the necessary defenses to fight off infectious agents. 

Diseases Kittens Can Get Without Vaccination

Feline Panleukopenia (FPV): Also known as feline distemper, FPV is a highly contagious viral disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Without prompt treatment, FPV can be fatal, particularly in young kittens with underdeveloped immune systems. 

Feline Calicivirus (FCV) and Feline Herpesvirus (FHV): These viruses are common causes of respiratory infections in cats. Symptoms may include sneezing, nasal discharge, fever, and eye inflammation. While these illnesses are rarely fatal on their own, they can weaken a kitten’s immune system and pave the way for secondary infections. 

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV): FeLV is a retrovirus that attacks the immune system, leaving infected cats vulnerable to many other infections and diseases. Kittens can contract FeLV through close contact with infected cats, such as during birth or through grooming and sharing food bowls. FeLV can lead to various health problems, including anemia, lymphoma, and immune suppression. 

Rabies: Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects the nervous system of mammals, including cats. Kittens can contract rabies through exposure to infected animals, such as wildlife or unvaccinated pets. Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal, underscoring the importance of preventive vaccination. 

Vaccination Services at Toronto Humane Society

Toronto Humane Society’s Public Veterinary Services offers Rabies and FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis/Calicivirus/Panleukopenia) vaccines for cats. Please note that The FeLV vaccine is not currently offered by Toronto Humane Society Public Veterinary Services. 

Cats adopted from Toronto Humane Society are already up to date on vaccines once they are adopted, but they may need boosters depending on when they were adopted, their health status, and lifestyle.  Boosters are generally given a year after the kitten series is completed, and then every 3 years after that. 

If you have a newborn kitten that needs vaccines, or an older cat that needs vaccine boosters, please book your wellness appointment online.