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Cat vaccines during the Covid-19 crisis

isolated cat

Overview

Vaccinations protect our pet cats from nasty diseases such as:

Can I have my cat vaccinated during lockdown?

Cats need a yearly vaccination booster to keep them protected from nasty diseases such as Cat Flu, Enteritis and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).

At the moment, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) have advised that vets across the UK should only carry out emergency and essential treatment for pets, and that they will need to maintain social distancing at all times to protect their staff, clients and the NHS. This means that routine procedures such as booster vaccinations, won’t be possible at this time although this may vary from practice to practice, based on their situation.

While this may put our pets at a higher risk of catching certain diseases if their vaccination protection runs out during lockdown, it will enable vets to treat emergency cases and the sickest pets, comply with social distancing guidelines and protect the health of the general public as well as veterinary staff.

Keeping your unvaccinated kitten safe

An unvaccinated kitten, or a kitten that has only had their first injection, won’t have any protection against the diseases we vaccinate against.

  • It’s important to keep your kitten inside until they have been fully vaccinated (and neutered).
  • Don’t allow your kitten to meet any cats outside of your household and don’t bring any new cats into your home.
  • If your kitten has missed their second injection, it’s likely they will need to restart their vaccination course once restrictions have been lifted.

Keeping your unvaccinated cat safe

If your cat has had regular vaccinations throughout their life, they are likely to have some protection covering them for approximately two-three months after the date their vaccine was due. Once this time has lapsed, they will be at a higher risk of catching some of the diseases we vaccinate against.

  • If you have a house cat, continue to keep him/her indoors and stop any other cats coming into the house. Because we are currently also limiting how often we leave the house, your cat will be at a low risk of catching anything.
  • If your cat normally goes outdoors, but they are happy to stay inside, try to keep them in as much as possible if their vaccination protection has run out, ensuring you’re providing for their needs. However, it’s vitally important to monitor them for stress and allow them outside again if they appear unsettled by the new routine, or have previously suffered with stress related illness such as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (stress cystitis/FIC).
  • Once we are able to start routine appointments again, your cat may need two vaccine injections to get them back up to date with their protection. Please contact your vet once they are running a full service again to discuss this - each situation is different and vets will be putting measure into place to make sure your cat continues to get the vaccination protection they need.
Published: 16 April 2020

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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst