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Cat vaccines during the Covid-19 crisis

isolated cat

Overview

  • Vaccinations protect our pet cats from nasty diseases such as: Cat Flu, Feline parvovirus/panleucopenia (FPV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).
  • Due to Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing guidelines, some veterinary practices (including PDSA) aren’t able to offer vaccinations at present.
  • While this unfortunately may put some cats at a higher risk once their vaccine protection runs out, it’s necessary to ensure the sickest pets can get the care they need.
  • It’s important to have your cat vaccinated if possible, and to take steps to protect them if their cover runs out.

Why isn't my vet offering vaccinations at the moment?

During the pandemic, vets are having to prioritise the sickest pets, which means that many routine services such as vaccines are being delayed or cancelled.

During this challenging time, The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) have asked vets across the UK to prioritise urgent/essential treatment for the sickest pets. Sadly, this means that some practices are unable to offer their routine procedures such as vaccinations and neutering. If your vet is unable to vaccinate your cat, you may need contact a different vet, and in the meanwhile, follow our ​guidance below  to keep them safe.

Continue checking your vet’s website for service updates, but please keep in mind that they will be extremely busy adapting to the ever-changing challenges of the pandemic. They will be doing their best to care for some very sick pets and will really appreciate your patience and understanding.

I am a PDSA client and want to have my cat vaccinated, what do I do?

We at PDSA are currently facing a huge demand for our services, and at present, our priority is treating pets in need of urgent or lifesaving treatment. Unfortunately, this means that we are not currently able to offer preventive services such as vaccinations and neutering. Although we hope to provide these services at some point, it’s likely that a reduced service will continue into the foreseeable future. For this reason, we recommend that our clients find another veterinary practice for their pet’s vaccinations and neutering. Try your local private practice, or use the RCVS website to find vets in your local area.

Don’t worry, even if your cat is vaccinated/neutered elsewhere, they will stay registered with us should they become unwell at any point. We really appreciate your patience and support during this difficult time.

Click here for PDSA service updates.

Keeping your unvaccinated kittens/cats safe

Kittens

Unvaccinated kittens and kittens that have only had their first injection won't have any protection against the disease we vaccinate against. Follow the guidance below, until they are fully protected:

  • Keep them inside until they are fully vaccinated (and neutered).
  • Don't allow them 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.

Cats

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. Follow our guidance below until they are fully protected again:

  • If he/she is a house cat, continue to keep him/her indoors and stop any other cats coming into the house.
  • If they normally go outdoors, but are happy to stay inside, try to keep them in as much as possible, however, it’s vitally important that you monitor them for stress and allow them outside again if they appear unsettled by the new routine. It’s not a good idea to keep your cat indoors if they have previously suffered with stress related illness such as Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (stress cystitis/FIC).
  • If you have two or more cats, being indoors is likely to be very stressful because they will have to share a smaller space than normal. Stress in cats can be very bad for a cat’s health. Read our tips on how to keep your cats as stress free as possible.
  • Please contact your vet once they are running a full service again to discuss how to get them back up to date with their protection. They may need to restart their vaccination course.
Published: October 2020

PetWise Pet Health Hub – brought to you thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery 

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

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst