In a perfect world, our indoor cats would stay safely sheltered in our homes. Unfortunately, unforeseen incidents (including cats venturing outdoors!) do happen, and to protect the cat’s health, it’s important to prepare him with two important vaccinations.
One vaccination I strongly recommend (unless contraindicated by your veterinarian for a medical reason) is the rabies vaccine. Not only do we want cats protected should they run into a foe outside, but, on the off-chance your cat bites a human, the process following that incident is greatly simplified for all involved if the cat is current with his rabies vaccination. This vaccine is given once a year and can be scheduled to conveniently coincide with your cat’s annual wellness exam.
The distemper (FVRCP or HCP) vaccination is designed to protect against a number of viruses. Most cats already carry these viruses; so, even if they don’t go outside and get newly exposed, the vaccination can keep cats protected from flare-ups that are triggered by stress. This vaccine is administered only once every three years.
Despite popular misconceptions that may lead you to believe otherwise, the vaccines themselves do not pose a threat to your pet’s health. The science of vaccination has improved so much, that adverse reactions are extremely rare. The many hazards of the great outdoors – and even the unpredictable indoors – pose a much more significant risk to a cat’s health than a vaccine, so I recommend cat owners prepare their cats for anything with regular vaccinations.