What is a cat vaccination?

Nasty reaction to cat vaccination – Photo by Jerry
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.

What is a cat vaccination? Answer: you inject a small and precise amount of a disease germ (virus) that is weak or dead into the cat. You may also inject a substance called an “adjuvant” (the word means “to aid”). An adjuvant makes the vaccine more effective. Aluminum – actually “aluminum salts” – is used. It stimulates the cat to make more antibodies when a killed-virus (dead) vaccine is employed.

The idea behind vaccination is to tweak the cat’s body to create antibodies that fight off the germ that is injected into the cat. The presence of the antibodies boosts the cat’s immune system and protects the cat against the germ (virus) in real life. These are the germs that the cat might catch at anytime, for example, outside or in multi-cat households from another cat or at shelters.

You can see that, at a basic level, a vaccination is injecting a disease into a cat with a chemical. The chemical, the adjuvant, can cause problems – (unsurprisingly). There are concerns that the aluminum salts adjuvant can cause cancer at the site of the injection.

Over-vaccinating a cat, could, I suppose, cause the disease for which the vaccination has been given. I think there are examples of this: where individuals such as breeders have overdone it and killed their precious kittens while trying to protect them.

What is an antibody? It is a word that is hard to describe. Basically, it is a protein that “neutralizes an antigen”1. An antigen stimulates the production of antibodies and is therefore unwanted by the body of the animal.

The important point about vaccines is that they are not some sort of magical fix that prevents disease. It is about balancing risk versus benefit. The cat’s owner has to make a decision. They often accept the status quo, the routines and what some vets say.

The problem for me is this. Many vets create a routine and an impression that cat vaccination is always good, always necessary and a guaranteed way of preventing certain diseases in your cat. Some vets and the pharmaceutical companies tend to be silent about the pros and cons of cat vaccines.

Think before vaccinating your cat. It is complicated and cat owners don’t know the answers and don’t have the information. It is important to go online and do some research, if you can, and ask questions about the downside of cat vaccinations.

It is really about being aware of the full picture and not presuming that you have to follow a set routine of cat vaccinations over years (boosters). Any injection into a cat is interfering with nature. This should be done with one thing in mind: caution and cat welfare.

Here is a video from a person who cares for a cat who lost in the gamble of cat vaccinations. It is quite tough but passionate. For me, it redresses the balance between what the pharmaceutical companies state (they manufacture the vaccines) and the silence of the veterinarians.

Note: Cat vaccinations are good and beneficial to cat health if administered with wisdom from both vet and cat caretaker.


  1. Free Dictionary

3 thoughts on “What is a cat vaccination?”

  1. Whilst cat caretakers don’t question their vet if so many vaccination boosters are necessary, most vets will keep on giving them yearly, they bring in lots of money!
    Just like monthly flea prevention treatments and 3 monthly worm prevention, we need to ask if they are really in the cats best interests.
    Cats are being injected with and smothered with chemicals and their natural immunity is declining.

    • Well said Ruth. Vaccinations have a place in cat caretaking but they are chemicals and there is a danger as you state. My personal opinion is that if we are a human or care for a cat we should minimise the pills and medicines taken. They can be necessary but there is a tendency for the medical profession (vet and doctor) to over prescribe because it is convenient and it makes money. The big problem with the vet profession is that the cat relies on the owner to speak up. How many are able to do that?

      We don’t know how many cats die or are injured through unnecessary vaccinations. I wish we did. It is a low percentage but something that should be borne in mind.

  2. Thanks for the valuable information in simple English and not much of “Medical Terminology”. I personally feel that vaccinations are required if your cat is a “OUTDOORS CAT” or you have a “Cattery” with many cats living together. a normal indoors cat can survive without vaccinations and my cats are living proof.I last vaccinated my cats as “Kittens”.


Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo