Skip to content

Kitten Vaccinations

Kitten vaccinations should be considered a crucial aspect of good pet ownership, as kittens are susceptible to catching a range of preventable, but potentially devastating illnesses. Some pet owners may assume that their pet will have already had all their kitten vaccinations by the time they are ready to be collected from the breeder. After all, many kittens are advertised for sale as “vaccinated”. But this will often mean they’ve only received their first vaccinations (generally given when a kitten is 6-8 weeks old).

Why are kitten vaccinations started at such a young age? Because while a kitten is born with some maternal antibodies (offering a certain amount of protection for their young immune systems), these antibodies will start to fade as the kitten gets older. Therefore, it’s important to start vaccinations early (before all the maternal antibodies fade) to make sure your kitten isn’t left defenceless in the face of a contagious infection. Kitten vaccinations will then need to continue at 3-4 week intervals, usually until the kitten is around 16 weeks old.

What diseases should my kitten be vaccinated against?

Initially, kittens will receive three core vaccinations that offer protection against some of the most common feline infections. These include:


  • Feline Rhinotracheitis: This infectious condition (also known as FVR) occurs as a result of the feline herpesvirus (type-1). While this virus presents no risk to humans, it is highly contagious for cats and can cause conjunctivitis and respiratory infections. If a kitten is infected with FVR then, even after they recover, they will carry the virus for the rest of their life. As a result, you’ll likely see continued flareups whenever the kitten experiences future illness or stress.
  • Feline Calicivirus: This virus is often found in environments where there are a lot of cats, such as at a breeder’s property or within animal shelters. It is particularly common in young cats and causes oral disease and respiratory issues. There is no known cure for the calicivirus infection – all an owner can do is provide supportive care while the kitten’s immune system fights to recover from the illness. Particularly virulent cases may require intensive nursing by a vet.
  • Feline Panleukopenia: This is an insidious and extremely contagious virus that often results in death despite intensive and aggressive treatment. It attacks the kitten’s gastrointestinal tract, nervous system and immune system, resulting in depleted white blood cell counts.

In addition to these core kitten vaccinations, Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital can also provide kitten vaccinations for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).  We can discuss with you at the time if we feel these vaccines may be appropriate for your kitten.