Cat vaccinations have become quite complicated. We rely on our veterinarian to vaccinate our cat to the minimum possible with the maximum protection. We rely on his or her expertise. It is difficult to fully understand the information on the internet with respect to cat vaccinations. And I am not convinced that we can rely on all vets to provide the best advice on vaccinations because they have a financial axe to grind.
However, we do know that the American Academy of Feline Medicine and the American Association of Feline Practitioners both recommend that after a first annual booster vaccination cats should be vaccinated no more often than every three years for feline infectious enteritis and also in general every three years for the cat flu virus feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus (FCV).
When you board your cat at a cattery they often required proof of vaccination within the preceding 12 months (this applies to the UK but I’d expect something similar in the USA).
Boarding catteries admit that cats are under a much greater risk of infection in their establishments and therefore they may recommend that it may be prudent to obtain a booster vaccination in the one or two months prior to entry into a boarding cattery.
The question that I would pose having experienced this is whether vaccinations are more potent within one year after being administered rather than after three years. This encourages a fresh vaccination which would otherwise be unnecessary with the added risk that that entails. And also the cat will then be thrust into a strange and stressful environment at the boarding cattery.
If the experts say that a vaccination lasts three years before it needs to be boosted then that would seem to be good enough to me. Vaccinations are about risk and reward. There are dangers to vaccinations although the risks are relatively small.
Vaccination reactions can be mild such as pain at the injection site or fever throughout the day but sometimes the reaction can be severe. A study found that an adverse reaction occurred in one in every 15,000 inoculations. They usually occurred in cats under six months old.
The reactions include: lameness, local injection site reactions, allergic reactions, lack of efficacy, upper respiratory tract disease and sarcomas.
Personally, I would like to see boarding catteries stick to veterinarian guidelines and not make demands over and above them which put cats under an added risk of suffering an adverse reaction.