Vaccinating & microchipping your cat

One of the most important first steps after adopting a cat or kitten is ensuring they have the correct vaccinations and that they’re microchipped.

Pets need certain vaccinations to ensure they stay in good health, and microchipping helps them not to get lost. If you’re adopting a cat from a reputable animal shelter or breeder, they’ll likely have been vaccinated and microchipped before you take them home, though you may need to pay a small fee to cover these costs.


Why do cats need vaccinating?

When kittens are born they’re normally protected from infection by the antibodies in their mother’s milk. This only lasts a few weeks, however, so they need vaccinating from an early age to help protect against serious illnesses. These include:

  • Cat flu (also known as feline herpes virus or feline calicivirus)
  • Feline infectious enteritis (also called feline parvovirus)
  • Feline leukaemia virus

Vaccinations are also required by most catteries if you want to leave your pet there while you go on holiday.


When should kittens be vaccinated?

When you get your kitten, make it a priority to register them with a local vet who will be able to give your cat the vaccinations they need.

Your kitten will need two vaccinations in their first few months of life. They should have their first vaccine at around eight or nine weeks old and receive the second about three or four weeks later to boost their immune system.

After they’ve completed their course of vaccinations, it’s highly recommended that you book appointments for booster injections every 12 months to make sure immunity is continued. Your vet will provide you with a vaccination record to help keep on top of important dates.


Why should you microchip your cat?

Microchipping is the best way to identify a lost cat, or a cat that’s been injured in an accident. It gives you a better chance of being reunited with them than a collar identification tag, which can fall off, break or be removed.


When should your cat be microchipped?

Most cats can be microchipped from around 10-12 weeks old. The procedure is simple and won’t hurt your cat. They won't even be aware the chip is there once it’s been inserted.


How does microchipping work?

A tiny microchip about the size of a large grain of rice is inserted under the cat’s skin. This gives them their own unique 15-digit code. The chip can be scanned by a vet or animal welfare officer and matched to the owner’s contact details, which are stored on a national database such as PetLog.

If you adopt a cat from an animal charity, they will usually already be vaccinated and microchipped before you take them home.

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