What Vaccines Do Cats Need?

The core vaccines vets recommend for all Australian cats are:

  • Herpesvirus (a cat flu)
  • Calicivirus (a cat flu)
  • Parvovirus (feline enteritis)

This is an F3 vaccination. Additionally, vets recommend that any cat who goes outside in high-risk areas is also vaccinated against:

  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
  • Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)

An F4 or F5 vaccination is the addition of one or both of these non-core vaccines to the core vaccines above. Whether we give an F4 or F5 should be based on a risk assessment.

For example, in Adelaide FIV infection is common, but not FeLV. Therefore, South Australian vets recommend adding FIV vaccination for cats with unsupervised outside access.

All cat owners should be aware of the signs of cat flu, enteritis and FIV. Vaccines against other diseases, although available in Australia, are rarely needed:

  • Chlamydia is only a problem in some shelters and breeders, and is not serious if acquired
  • Rabies vaccination is only necessary as a part of export to certain countries

Australian Cat Vaccination Schedules

All cats and kittens receive F3 vaccination, but the use of FIV or FeLV vaccines is reserved for those either:

  1. Going outside in areas with high prevalence
  2. Living with known infected cats

Kitten Vaccination Schedules

Most kittens that are sold have already been given their first vaccine.

Kittens under 8 weeks of age need three doses of the F3 vaccine given at 4-weekly intervals. If FIV protection is added, the three doses are done at the same visits.

Kittens 8 weeks or older need two doses of the F3 vaccine given 4 weeks apart. If FIV protection is added, the first two doses are done with the F3 and the third is given in a further 4 weeks.

Adult Cat Vaccination Schedules

Cats receive a single annual dose of the required vaccine, whether F3 alone, or F3 and FIV.

Cats with very low risk (quarantined indoors) can receive F3 vaccination every 2 or 3 years. However, this is an off-label dose and not recommended.

Adult Cats (Overdue)

Cats that have missed a vaccine need to have the same protocol as kittens: ie two F3 doses and three FIV doses given at 4-weekly intervals.