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Cat Rabies Vaccine: Is It Important?

Cat Rabies Vaccine: Is It Important?

Rabies is an incredibly dangerous and fatal virus for Moreno Valley cats. Thankfully, it is completely preventable with diligent vaccinations. Our vets are here to give you all the information you need regarding the rabies vaccine and why it's right for your cat.


How Rabies Spreads

The most common carriers of the rabies virus in North America are bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks.

Since the virus is spread through saliva and causes heightened aggression in animals suffering from its effects, the most common way for cats to become infected with rabies is through the bite of an infected animal.

Because of the extreme risk that rabies poses to the health of pets and humans, most US states require that any pet diagnosed with rabies be euthanized. The bite of an infected animal can infect any type of mammal, so it is important to protect your pet by keeping their vaccinations up-to-date.

The prognosis for rabies in unvaccinated cats is dire because the diagnosis is almost always fatal.

Cat Rabies Vaccine - Cost

The cost of rabies vaccination varies tremendously from city to city, state to state, and even from one vet to another in the same area. The type of rabies vaccine used is a key determiner of cost.

Vaccines that last longer, as well as ones that have fewer side effects, can be more expensive. Contact your vet to find out which rabies vaccine they use for cats and exactly how much your kitty's vaccinations will cost. Your vet can help guide you on what vaccination plan is right for your cat's health, as well as your own personal budget.

Cat Rabies Vaccine - Schedule

The schedule for your kitty's rabies vaccination will vary depending on the brand of vaccine used. 

Most vets offer vaccines without adjuvants - ingredients that proved effective in preventing rabies but caused an allergic reaction in some cats.  These vaccines may or may not be more expensive than vaccines with adjuvants, which are just as effective at preventing rabies but have a higher potential for causing rare side effects, depending on the individual veterinary practice and any existing state legislation on rabies vaccination in cats. 

Older non-adjuvant vaccines only lasted for a year, and so yearly booster shots were required.  Newer vaccines have been developed which require a single booster a year after the first vaccination, followed by boosters every three years after that; these vaccines are considerably more expensive, however, so some veterinarians opt to stick with the older vaccine technology.  If you ask your vet "how often should my cat have a rabies vaccine?" they will be able to tell you about what vaccination options they offer and what schedule is best for your cat.

Kittens should begin their rabies vaccination treatment at about 12 weeks old.  If you haven't already, you can schedule your cat for all their routine vaccinations and other preventative care at Sunnymead Veterinary Clinic.

Possible Cat Reaction to Rabies Vaccine

The possible side effects following rabies vaccinations are a big concern to cat owners. Anxious pet owners often come to Sunnymead Veterinary Clinic with stories they've heard about cats who have died from the rabies vaccine. Fortunately, these fears are unwarranted. Cat rabies vaccine side effects are rare and typically include only slight fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, and/or a localized swelling at the vaccine site.

In some excessively rare cases, a cat can have an allergic reaction to the vaccine, leading to hives, extreme weakness, and unexplained collapse.  It's important for pet parents to know that fewer than 0.001% of cats will have allergic side effects to modern rabies vaccines.  It is always safer to have your cat vaccinated against rabies than to risk potential infection in the future.

Why Your Indoor Cat Needs Their Rabies Vaccine

Cat owners might believe vaccination against rabies is unnecessary if their cat is an indoor cat, but this is not the case.  While it might be true that you don't allow your cat outside your home, the potential for escape--or worse, for an infected bat or rodent to break into your home, is great enough to warrant protection for your feline companion.

The consequences of rabies are simply too dire to take any chances, the best and only way to ensure your cat is completely protected against rabies is vaccination.

It is also the case that in most US states all cats and dogs over the age of 6 months are required to be vaccinated against rabies. When you take your pet to be vaccinated your vet will be sure to issue you with a certificate of vaccination as proof that your feline friend is up to date with their rabies vaccine.  

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat due for their rabies vaccine or booster shot? Schedule an appointment today with one of our knowledgeable Sunnymead Veterinary Clinic vets.

New Patients Welcome

Sunnymead Veterinary Clinic always welcomes new patients to our veterinary family! Our vets are passionate about providing quality healthcare to Moreno Valley animals. Contact us today to book an appointment, or visit for walk-in service.

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(951) 242-4056