One important thing that we can do as cat parents is to make vaccinations a priority. An initial round of vaccinations will help keep your kitten healthy as they grow into adulthood, but vaccinations should not stop there. There is a vaccine schedule to follow throughout your cat’s entire life to ensure their health and safety.
Knowing that vaccinations are a responsibility to take seriously for the duration of your cat’s life might lead you to wonder what the cost of cat vaccinations happens to be this year. It’s a great question that deserves a thorough answer! Here is a breakdown of vaccination costs and insight into other aspects of vaccinating a cat.
The Importance of Having Your Cat Vaccinated
All cats, especially kittens, are susceptible to a variety of infectious diseases. Vaccinations help greatly reduce the risk that your feline family member will become infected with a disease and minimize the chance that they would pose a danger to humans in any way.
Vaccines are the most effective way to protect against viruses and bacteria that can threaten the health, if not the life, of your cat overall. Even indoor cats should receive vaccinations in case they are exposed to a virus or bacterium accidentally.
An indoor cat’s immune system is not exposed to as many “icky” things as an outdoor cat, so their bodies are less inclined to know how to deal with an invading bacterium or virus. Vaccinations will help ensure that an indoor cat’s immune system can stand up to even the most aggressive diseases that they could come across.
How Much Do Cat Vaccinations Cost?
The cost of a cat vaccination varies from place to place, region to region, and sometimes depends on how old the cat is at the time. It also depends on the types of vaccines that the cat is getting. Four vaccinations are recommended for all cats, three of which are considered “core” vaccines. These are rabies, feline calicivirus, feline panleukopenia (FeLV), and feline rhinotracheitis. The latter three listed are combined into one vaccination and are typically referred to as a “distemper” vaccination. Therefore, there are two different vaccines to prioritize when your feline family member first comes home.
Here are a few examples of what these major vaccinations could cost you, whether you’re located in the East, West, or Midwest:
Keep in mind that these are prices for just one clinic or service provider per region, so the exact costs that you will pay will depend on exactly where you live and the kind of service establishment that you decide to use. Many states offer discounted cat vaccinations (as well as discounts for spaying and neutering) through county programs and established animal welfare organizations.
So, if you want to save money on vaccines, reach out to your local humane society or another animal shelter to find out if any discount programs are offered in your area before reaching out to a veterinarian or vaccine clinic. If you can’t find a discount program to utilize, it’s a good idea to call multiple service providers to get quotes so you can make comparisons and confidently choose the most cost-effective place to take your cat to.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
Most vaccination rates include the visit cost, so you shouldn’t have to pay more just to see the veterinarian or technician. If in doubt, make a quick call to verify whether additional charges can be expected for any reason. There are also a few other vaccinations that may be beneficial to your feline depending on things like their age, health, lifestyle, and susceptibility to certain viruses and bacteria.
Prominent among these are feline leukemia and Bordetella. Like the main vaccines, these additional immunizations can vary in cost depending on your location, service provider, and cat’s age. There should be no additional costs to worry about when vaccinating your cat unless you pair the vaccine administration with a wellness checkup or another type of service, in which case, you’ll be responsible for paying for those services too.
How Often Should I Have My Cat Vaccinated?
Your cat’s vaccination schedule will be different when they are a kitten compared to when they are an adult. The core vaccinations require administration every few weeks for a while, and then administration is only needed every 3 years. The rabies vaccine is required early on and then a year later, with regular boosters to follow.
You can expect to head in for vaccines often until your kitten is about 5 months of age. Visits to your service provider will significantly decrease thereafter. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:
|Type of Vaccination||Initial Doses||Recommended Boosters|
|Rabies||Once at 8 weeks or older, then 1 year later||Every 1 or 3 years, depending on the type of rabies vaccine administered|
|Core||Once at 6 weeks, then every 3–4 weeks until the age of 16 to 20 weeks||Every 3 years|
|Bordetella (Non-core)||Once at 4 weeks or older||Annually|
|Feline Leukemia (Non-core)||Once at 8 weeks or older, then again 3–4 weeks later||None for strictly indoor cats, annually for cats that go outdoors|
Your veterinarian should provide you with a specific vaccination schedule that highlights exactly when you should be taking your cat in to get their vaccinations. It’s never too late for a cat to get vaccinated, so don’t avoid getting yours inoculated just because they missed their kitten vaccines.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Cat Vaccinations?
Common pet insurance does not usually cover cat vaccinations. Instead, it focuses on reimbursing you for the costs of serious veterinarian services, like surgery and accident treatments. However, some pet insurance companies do offer supplemental add-on coverage, usually referred to as wellness coverage, that would cover at least some of the costs of cat vaccinations.
If you already have pet insurance, call your provider to find out if wellness coverage is already a part of your plan or if you can add the coverage. If you aren’t yet signed up for a pet insurance plan, make sure you read the fine print to ensure that cat vaccines would be covered in some form or fashion.
What to Do for Your Cat Between Vaccinations
Fortunately, there is not much that must be done between vaccinations to keep your kitty healthy and safe from viruses and bacteria. The only thing that you have to worry about is making sure your cat does not go places where there is a likelihood of the presence of disease. If possible, keep your cat indoors to optimize protection. It’s also a good idea not to allow your cat to encounter stray and unknown animals.
Cat immunizations are important, and it’s a good idea to start preparing and budgeting now by understanding what kind of costs and schedules to expect. Hopefully, this guide has made the topic clearer to you so you know exactly what you’re getting into when it comes to making vaccinations for your cat a priority.
Featured Image Credit: Kachalkina Veronika, Shutterstock