Vaccinations are important to keep your kitty safe from deadly diseases.

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) splits recommended cat vaccinations into “core” and “non-core” vaccines.

Core vaccines are those on the cat vaccination schedule that are appropriate for cats regardless of where in the world they live. In Australia, the core cat vaccines are feline herpes virus, feline calicivirus and feline parvovirus (also known as feline panleukopoenia).

There are non-core vaccines available for other diseases which may be recommend based on the cat’s location and its individual lifestyle. These should be considered on a case-by-case basis and discussed with your vet.

Non-core cat vaccinations include vaccinations against the following diseases: feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus (AIDS), feline infectious peritonitis, chlamydophila felis and bordetella bronchiseptica.

When your cat gets vaccinated your vet will refer to F3, F5, F6

The terms F3, F5 and F6 refer to how many diseases your cat will be vaccinated against.

F3 Vaccine – Feline 3 (F3) covers three major diseases:

  1. Feline herpes virus, commonly know as cat flu. This is often found in unvaccinated cats and can cause long-term problems like chronic sneezing. Typical symptoms are nasal discharge, red eyes and gum infections.
  2. Feline calicivirus, which can be another cause of the disease commonly know as cat flu.
  3. Feline panleukopaenia, also know as cat parvovirus, which can cause severe and often fatal gastroenteritis.

The F5 cat vaccination includes cover for feline herpes, calcivirus and panleukopaenia, along with additional cover against herpes, and chlamydia and feline leukemia.

The F6 vaccination includes immunisation against all of the diseases included in the F5 vaccine along with the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

If your cat is going to have access to the outdoors or go to a boarding facility it is highly recommended for your kitty to have the F5 or F6 vaccination.

When should my cat be vaccinated?

Different vaccine brands have different schedules as to when they should be given but the general ages vaccination should start are as follows:

6-8 weeks: F3

10-12 weeks: F5 or F6

14-16 weeks: F5 or F6

The FIV part that makes an F5 an F6 needs a 3rd vaccination given 2-4 weeks after the 14-16 week vaccination.

A yearly booster must be given to your cat to ensure adequate immunity is maintained.

Vaccination side effects

Here are some side effects your cat or kitten can experience after receiving vaccinations. Note that these are very rare:

  • Lack of appetite, increase in body temperature, lethargy;
  • Allergic reaction to the vaccine causing vomiting, diarrhoea and shortness of breath;
  • Skin irritation, bruising around the injection area.

The side effects will usually present themselves shortly after the vaccine has been given or possibly the next day.

Contact your vet if any of the above symptoms occur so they can administer treatment to make your kitty more comfortable.