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Why should I vaccinate my cat?

Like in humans, we use vaccinations to protect cats against disease.  The main diseases we protect against in the UK are ‘cat flu’ and ‘feline enteritis’ (usually given together) and ‘feline leukaemia virus’ (which can also be given at the same time).

The ‘annual booster’ appointment is far more than just an injection. It is an opportunity for the vet to weigh and check over your cat and advise about parasite control, diet and any behavioural or other concerns. International Cat Care recommends all pet cats have a vet check at least once a year.


Cat flu vaccination protects against disease caused by Feline Herpes Virus and Feline Calicivirus. The symptoms of cat flu include sneezing, conjunctivitis, loss of appetite and depressed demeanour, and can be severe. Feline enteritis virus is related to Parvovirus in dogs, causing severe diarrhoea and often death. This combined vaccination is recommended for all cats (even indoor only cats) and a yearly booster is currently advised for most cats.


This virus can cause leukaemia, tumours, anaemia and also immune-suppression making the cat more susceptible to other infections. FeLV can be spread through fighting, mutual grooming, and through sharing food/water bowls and litter trays. Any cat who has access to outside or mixes with other cats of unknown status may be at risk of contracting the virus, so vaccination is recommended.


Side effects of vaccinations are not common, but the vet will be happy to discuss them with you if you have any concerns. Kittens may be quiet for a day and may get a raised temperature. Sometimes a non-painful swelling can appear at the site of injection. More severe side effects are very rare. The most significant and well publicised side effect in cats is fibrosarcoma – a tumour at the injection site, which has been linked to non-vaccine injections as well. This is very rare (probably less than 1 in 20,000 vaccinations). Severe allergic reactions are also documented, but are very rare. The benefits of vaccination far outweigh any side effects in the vast majority of cats.

The cat vaccines we use at Greenbay Vets do not contain adjuvant, which we believe makes them less painful/inflammatory on injection.

If you cat has lapsed in their vaccination cover, they will need 2 injections 3-4 weeks apart to re-start. We offer a re-start course for the same price as a booster.  To book in, give us a call on 01803 606059 (Torquay) or 843836 (Paignton), or book online.

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