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Kittens receive their first vaccinations at about eight to ten weeks of age, and a follow-up vaccination in three to four weeks. Your vet will instruct you on how many visits will be needed and which vaccines should be administered, based upon your kitty's age and risk factors. Boosters are then given at one year of age, and annually thereafter for the rest of the cat's life. The rabies vaccine is slightly different; it is given first at about three months of age, boosted at one year, then repeated at three-year intervals.
Be sure to take your cat to the vet for a checkup at least once a year, even if your kitty seems to be healthy at the time. During these annual checkups, your vet will give your kitty a thorough physical exam, which should include: Examination of the cat's body, from nose to tail; Weighing kitty and taking its temperature; Listening to the cats heart and lungs; Checking for abnormal discharges from any bodily orifices, including eyes and nose; Checking its teeth, gums and ears; Inspecting for parasites and abscesses; Feeling the cats internal organs. A stool sample will be tested for parasites, and any needed vaccinations or booster shots will then be administered.
Booster shots will ensure that your cat is immunized against potentially life-threatening diseases. These vaccinations introduce a harmless form of disease-causing viruses or bacteria into the cats body. These cause the cats immune system to produce antibodies that protect the cat from the real disease. Subsequent booster shots are necessary to build a cats immunity up to a sufficent level.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|