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Shots for Inside Cat

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Should I give my cat annual shots? My cat had annual shots at the rescue shelter before we adopted him a year ago. They are now due again, he's an indoor cat and never comes into contact with any other cats. Is there really any advantage to getting his shots up to date or is it just a way of the vets to get you to spend money? I can't see how he can catch any diseases if he never goes out of the house.

By littleredrooster from Calgary, Canada

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Cricket [201]03/31/2010

When I first got my kitten I took him to the vet regularly and got him all his shots for the first year. After that the only time he gets a shot is his tri-annual rabies, and that only because it's required by law in my state.

I was told by a vet that this is perfectly fine for a cat that is always indoors and not exposed to other cats. I also have 2 dogs, but they are kept up to date on all of their shots and they also are not exposed to other animals. The vet said that since my dogs aren't exposed either, that the cat is still fine with only his rabies shots.

By Janis Bowen08/10/2009

Vet Tech here - We do not recommend shots for indoor only cats BUT if you let your cat out for any length of time get their shots!

By Kathy [51]08/08/2009

I too have a strictly indoor cat. I've kept up with his shots and he's not due now for another two years. It's not really that expensive when you consider it's only every year or two. I think some shots are every year, and some are every couple of years. Perhaps if you have multiple cats, it is more expensive, but that's why I only have one. I'm a firm believer that if you can't afford vet bills, don't get a pet. As much as I would love to have a dog, I don't have one because I'm not home enough and I think dogs are more expensive and require much more attention (dialy walks, taken out to potty, etc. etc) so I'm holding off until retirement and then only if I can afford it.

I was wondering though, if cats are kept strictly indoors (no patio visits, no outside visits) do they require monthly flea meds? I have no visiting pets either.

RE: Shots for Inside Cat

By Bttrfly08/07/2009

I had 4 cats and a dog awhile back. I now only have 1 cat due to moving and my beloved Rocky (dog) passed away this past Valentines Day. We had taken our cats and dog to the SAME vet clinic for about 10 years. They would never let me make payment arrangements no matter how high the bill was. I always had to Pay in Full right then and there. So needless to say, I often they had to go without checkups and shots.

By Anonymous [848]08/06/2009

I would like to add something here about kitty leukemia/hiv fear because most don't understand how the virus is spread. It's actually similar to contracting human hepatitis/hiv/aids.

Cats are exposed and become infected with the virus when they come into direct contact with an infected cat. Contact is using the same food and water dishes, using the same litter box, mutual grooming, or it can happen from fighting which causes saliva to be expelled through hissing from an infected cat to a non-infected cat or bite wounds given to an non-infected cat from an infected cat.

Unless someone brings an infected cat in to an indoor kitty's home (or a hissing fight between a screen in an open window happens) or someone stepped in cat poopy of an infected cat and stuck to the bottom of their shoes and then the indoor kiity comes in to contact with the poopy on the shoes there is nil chance of an exclusively indoor cat ever getting kitty leukemia.

By Debbie Dzurilla [24]08/06/2009

Some towns/states have rabies laws and all dogs/cats MUST have up to date rabies shots. I'm sure you wouldn't want any trouble for not complying with the law. Also, I had a friend whose cat got feline leukemia from her tracking something in her house from an infected cat that was in her yard. We don't have cats now but did for many years. We spent many years not taking them to the vet because we really didn't understand the need since they stayed inside, but when teeth problems forced us to take one of them in, then from then on we took them. Aging cats just seem to need more care and there are things you can do to help them in their senior years and extend their lives. A yearly visit to the vet for a check up is a good idea and I'm sure there are vets that will work with the customers on payment.

By Cricket [201]08/06/2009

Yes, by all means keep up with the flea meds. Fleas come indoors in all kinds of ways. Even on you! They will hop on your shoes, or slacks or nylons and come in with you. So that is one med that I believe should definitely be kept up, even for indoor only cats.

By Kay Russell [3]08/06/2009

If you ever have to leave your cats at a boarding establishment (in case of emergency when you need to be away and there is no-one else to look after your cats), they will not be accepted unless they have had ALL the relevant shots and are up-to-date. That way all the cats are protected, not just yours. Hope this helps, cheers from New South Wales, Australia

By Dorina [2]08/06/2009

Absolutely! Cats need their shots to protect them from disease. I have four indoor only cats and they get their annual and rabies.

Remember, they might sneak outside; if you have multi-cat household a annual/rabies can protect them from overly aggressive play bite that can get infected - its happened to mine. If it is the cost, alot of places offer discount shots at pet stores. Check around. Your pet's health, like your own, is nothing to mess with. Just do it.

By Anonymous [848]08/06/2009

I've had seven indoor cats (at one time there were as many as four at one time) over the past three plus decades and, except one who died young of cancer, they all lived happy and healthy to or close to and beyond fifteen years of age. They never had any shots beyond their baby shot series and they did not die from virus related disease.

When vets say yearly shots for cats are neccessary even if indoors, guess why? Two of the three vets I've had over all these years (and my babies do get regular check-ups) told me they aren't needed as long as they are an indoor cat and precautions are taken.

As long as you wash your hands after handling other pets who don't live in your home and as long as if you bring a new cat in to live in your home it has been given all of it's first series of shots first the chances are so very, very, very remote that your baby will ever have a problem. Oh and, of course, no visiting cats of friends or family unless you know for certain their shots are up to date.

The only reason my current eight year old baby even had a distemper and rabies shot two years ago is because it was required from the airlines when she and I relocated together by plane across the country.

By Dorothy [3]08/06/2009

I adopted my cat 6yrs ago from the Humane Society and I stopped getting her shots last year. My cat goes on the patio and that's as "out" as she gets. A Vet told a friend of mine who has two indoor cats ages 13 & 14yrs that shots weren't necessary for indoor cats. He has had no problems with his cats nor have I. I hope this little tidbit helps. Here is a pic of my little feline friend-Samara AKA Sam.

RE: Shots for Inside Cat

By Beth [25]08/06/2009

Even most vets don't recommend distemper shots every year for cats anymore. I have four of the little buggers and I do keep up on their rabies vaccinations though. Rabies is more likely to come to you uninvited than having your cat going looking for it.

By ibdavis08/06/2009

Yes, they always tell you to get all the shots. I've got 7 strays. 1st thing I do is take to vet for rabies, other shots, testing, neutering/spaying. After they come in, they never go out again. I don't vaccinate for anything after initial vet visit. One thing though is that if cat needs any grooming, i.e., badly matted hair, groomer will not do without current rabies certification. Just FYI.

By Cindy Strouse08/06/2009

My cats do not go outside, but occasionally one gets adventurous and makes a mad dash through the door. (I have also had cats go through screens which I thought kept them in!). What if they came in contact with a sick or rabid animal. Also, lets say a rabid bat gets in your house the kitty gets bitten. And last, but not least, suppose you stop to pet another cat who turns out to have feline leukemia or HIV; you can bring that home to your baby. Those are the reasons why my cats get their shots.

By Barbara Kamm [3]08/06/2009

Have you thought about the things that you track in on your shoes that could possible harm your pet? I think you should have a conversation with your vet to find out just what protection an indoor cat needs.

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