Posted on: 1 August 2018Share
Kittens are so small and vulnerable-looking that it may seem cruel to take them in for vaccinations when they're just weeks old. The reality is, however, that by vaccinating your kitten, you're protecting them from a wide variety of problems. Here's why your kitten needs early vaccinations and how they can protect their health.
Getting In Early
There are a few main reasons why veterinarians want kittens to get their shots early and frequently.
The first reason is that kittens can sometimes inherit things from an adult cat. For example, FIV can be passed down from an adult mother cat to a kitten through feedings. Vaccinating your kitten may help to protect them from developing the disease. You essentially provide their body with a way to build antibodies, which can help to keep them safe while they nurse on their mother.
Secondly, any illnesses your kitten comes across from an external source before they have a defense can be potentially lethal. If your kitten gets sick, their body will have to beat the virus or bacteria and survive the symptoms. Giving a vaccination allows your cat's body to develop new antibodies without going through the life-threatening symptoms.
Common Kitten Problems
Kittens are particularly prone to developing what seem like minor conditions, like a common cold. However, this cold can potentially follow them through their lives.
Feline herpes is another disease that can readily be spread from cat to cat. Like human strains, once a cat is infected by feline herpes, they have it for life. Unlike people, however, feline herpes tends to trigger cold symptoms like runny eyes, sneezing, coughing, and lethargy.
Having your kitten vaccinated as early on as possible will help to prevent them from catching feline herpes. This can potentially protect them for their entire life from the most common trigger of the common cold, so do your kitten a favor and get those shots.
What to Expect
Most kittens experience very little pain while getting their vaccinations. Your vet will use the smallest needle possible and will typically either give the vaccinations in the scruff, which is nearly painless, or in the loose skin of a leg.
Once your kitten comes home from its shots, it may be a little lethargic. This is a common response to vaccinations and not something you need to worry about. Your kitty's body is actively accessing and developing defenses against what it received in its vaccination. Once this process is complete and the body has removed the vaccine, your kitten will be back to its playful, curious self.
Pet vaccinations are essential to protecting your cat's life for the rest of its life. Don't put them off or skip them entirely. If you have concerns, talk to your veterinarian.