The Importance of Vaccinating Your Cat

We have two cats (or should I say they have 5 humans – they totally own all of us), Marley is almost two and Reggie is just over 16 weeks old and although he is the cutest kitten on the planet he is the craziest cat ever to have lived. We love them dearly and look after them as if they were one of the children. If they were to get ill we would take them to the vets but we also take preventative measures to stop them from getting ill in the first place as with our dogs they are wormed and flead on a regular basis and they’ve all had their vaccinations.

In a recent survey of 2,000 UK cat owners, carried out on behalf of Merial Animal Health found that many cat owners have very little knowledge or understanding about the importance of having a cat regularly vaccinated. The results showed that nearly 50% of UK cat owners don’t vaccinate their cat annually, meaning many UK cats are at risk from preventable diseases such as Feline Infectious Enteritis (feline panleukopenia), Feline Leukaemia Virus, Feline Herpesvirus, Feline Calicivirus and Chlamydophila Felis. 
Did you know that the most common diseases found in the UK are Feline Upper Respiratory Disease, (more commonly known as cat flu), signs including severe flu-like symptoms, fever, depression, eye ulcers and even pneumonia, and Feline Leukaemia virus (is more commonly known as FeLV )? FeLV is a lifelong infection and unfortunately, most cats will die within three years of diagnosis. It is typically spread via direct contact between cats, usually through grooming or bites.

The survey results showed that 22% of cat owners have never vaccinated their pet at all and just over a quarter of owners said that they would wait until their cat is ill before considering vaccination.

Rick Edwards, the host of the BBC’s brand new daytime quiz show !impossible and self-confessed cat lover, has pledged his support to the Viral Cats campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinating your cat.

Rick’s tortoiseshell cat Tippi Edwards features prominently on his Instagram and Twitter feeds, has partnered with Merial Animal health to help raise awareness of the risks of not vaccinating and the potential effect this could have on the nation’s cats. 

Rick said: 

I decided to join the Viral Cats campaign because I was honestly staggered when I read the research about how many people aren’t getting their cats vaccinated. I’d do anything to protect Tippi, and I’m sure all other cat lovers would too if they knew more about the risk of serious disease. I don’t believe that the cat owners who aren’t getting vaccinations realise how vital it is. If they did, they’d be getting down the vets pronto!

The results from the survey carried out by Merial backs up other research that was carried out recently by the PDSA, their research revealed that six million UK cats and dogs could be at risk from diseases due to a fall in the number of owners vaccinating their pets. Which is a huge amount of unprotected pets don’t you think?

The PDSA also found that a quarter of owners said that the lack of contact with other animals was their reason to not vaccinate their pets. This is supported by the Merial survey which found that 60% of owners know little or nothing about the diseases that could affect their cat and 28% believe vaccination is not to be necessary at all. 

Dr Sally Edis-Bates BVSc MRCVS said: 

The lack of awareness regarding the importance of vaccination is surprising, especially the relatively high number of UK cat owners who don’t believe that vaccination is important at any stage of their cat’s life. Many owners understand the need to vaccinate in the first few months, but it appears that the message regarding regular annual vaccination and its importance in helping to guard against potentially life threatening diseases is not getting through. I would recommend that cat owners who are unsure whether their cat is protected, speak to their vet to find out if their cat is fully covered

The Viral Cats campaign aims to improve the education of UK cat owners so that they understand the risks associated with not vaccinating their cat.  To find out if your cat is at risk of disease or if you are worried about your cat after reading this post there is an online cat health checker quiz available on the Viral Cats website.

Do you have cats? If so, have you had them vaccinated? If not, what is your reason for not vaccinating them? I’d love to know in the comments below.

*This is a collaborative post*

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