Cat Tips

If you cannot own a cat due to household restrictions, consider volunteering for a local shelter or animal rescue group. You'll meet new friends who share your fondness for felines, and you'll spend quality time with kitties.

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Expert Q&A

What are the first shots my cat should have? She is now 1 year old.

Veterinarians often describe vaccines as being "core" or "noncore." The former are meant for all cats, while the latter are advised for certain felines. Core vaccines usually include feline panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus and rabies. It is very important for your cat to be safeguarded against these deadly diseases. Your veterinarian might also suggest that your cat receive vaccines for chlamydia, feline leukemia (FeLV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and ringworm. Out of this additional list of vaccines, kittens may just get the FeLV shots, due to the kittens' age and the fact that their lifestyles might not warrant the extra vaccines. However, your cat is actually past kittenhood. Generally cats receive their first combination vaccine at 6 to 7 weeks of age. Other vaccines may be given at 10 weeks and then at a few other intervals. For adult cats, booster shots are then needed. While not a substitute for vaccinating your cat, keeping your cat indoors can also provide some protection against infectious diseases, since your cat will not be directly exposed to other animals or to contaminated food and water. However, germs can track on to the floor via your shoes, your cat could sniff another animal through a screen door, or other methods of exposure could be possible. Better to vaccinate now than to be sorry later.

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