Module 2: The Case of the Sick Puppies

Cat Vaccinations

Just as for dogs, the ASV Guidelines state that all cats must receive the core vaccines at admission into the shelter and at recommended intervals while in the shelter. Shelters that do not vaccinate with core vaccines immediately at entry, or do not vaccinate all animals, are much more likely to experience deadly outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease.


3 kittens in a cage


Review Chapter 6 in the ASV Guidelines and the 2020 AAHA/AAFP Guidelines for vaccination of cats in shelters.


AAFP Vaccination Recommendations for Shelter Cats

  1. Modified-live FHV1 + FCV + FPV (FVRCP) vaccine
    • FHV1 = feline herpesvirus; FCV = feline calicivirus; FPV = feline parvovirus
    • Core vaccine required for every cat
    • Administered by the subcutaneous (SQ) route
    • Kittens: FVRCP at intake and every 2-3 weeks from 4 weeks old to 16-20 weeks old
    • Adults: FVRCP at intake and 2-3 weeks later
  2. Killed or recombinant FeLV vaccine
    • FeLV = feline leukemia virus
    • Optional vaccine not required for every cat
    • Administered SQ – requires two doses 2-4 weeks apart
    • Very effective in protecting kittens, the most vulnerable age group for infection
    • Not necessary for cats that are housed individually
    • Appropriate for cats housed in groups
  3. Killed rabies vaccine
    • Administered SQ once
    • Kittens and adults: 3 months of age and older before release from the shelter in accordance with local and state laws


Test Your Knowledge


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Integrating Veterinary Medicine with Shelter Systems Copyright © 2020 by University of Florida is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.