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Cat vaccines during the pandemic

isolated cat

Overview

  • Vaccinations protect our pet cats from nasty diseases such as: Cat Flu, Feline parvovirus/panleucopenia (FPV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).
  • During the pandemic, some veterinary practices (including PDSA) have had to delay preventative services (such as vaccinations) in order to prioritise sick and injured pets.
  • However, it’s still just as important to keep your cat protected against preventable diseases, so if your vet isn’t able to vaccinate them you may need to contact other practices in your area to see if they can help.
  • If your cat is currently unvaccinated, it’s important to know how to keep them safe until they’re protected again.

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, microchipping and neutering. If your vet is unable to vaccinate your cat, see if any other local vets can help, and in the meanwhile, follow our ​guidance below  to keep them safe.

Please keep in mind that your vets will be doing their best to care for some very sick pets and will really appreciate your patience and understanding during this challenging time.

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

Sadly, PDSA are not currently able to offer preventive services such as vaccinations and neutering. This is because, at the moment, we are facing a huge demand for our services, and our priority is treating pets in need of urgent or lifesaving treatment. We hope to start providing preventive services again at some point, but it’s likely that a reduced service will continue into the foreseeable future. We recommend that our clients find another veterinary practice for their pet’s vaccinations. 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 Cat Flu, Panleukopenia or FeLV. To keep them safe, follow the guidance below until they are fully protected:

  • Keep them inside
  • Don't allow them to meet any cats outside your home
  • Wash your hands after going outside, especially if you have touched any other cats

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 may have some protection covering them for approximately two to three months after the date their vaccine was due, but 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, but 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: December 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