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Cat Vaccinations 101 In Malaysia (type, price, when & side effects)

Table of Content

As though you haven’t heard enough of it already! Vaccines have been the talk of the town for some time now, and just as they are important for humans, they have been proven (and yes, YEARS of research in this case) to work for your cats too. Here’s everything you need to know about Cat Vaccinations in Malaysia.

Contrary to popular belief, cats DO NOT have nine lives! And yes, you as a pawrent will need to do everything in your power to let them live out their best life with you! The secret’s out... VACCINES! They WORK! And have eradicated some of the deadliest feline diseases from yesteryear.

Vaccines are a form of preventative medicine. They stop the incubation of bacteria and viruses that cause fatal diseases in cats. 

When should my kitten be vaccinated?

The general rule for kitten vaccinations is when they reach two months of age when their natural immunity from their mother’s blood wears off in their system. Each vaccination is given 20-25 days apart and continued until 4-5 months. You need not worry about figuring out these dates, as your vet will provide you with a simplified vaccination schedule.

If you’re bringing home an adult cat with an unknown vaccination history, it’s best to get it vaccinated. Your vet will schedule two appointments about a month apart for all the necessary shots.

Kitten Vaccination Schedule. Image credit: DogtorTeoh

How do these vaccines work?

The exact mechanism of action may vary from vaccine to vaccine. Still, essentially, all vaccines work by exposing your kitten’s body to pathogens (viruses/bacteria) that have been modified (weakened somewhat) so that they cause no harm, but just enough of a reaction so that their bodies would recognise them as foreign invaders, and be able to handle them in the future, should they encounter them.

What vaccinations do my cats need?

Cat vaccinations are conveniently organised into two main groups: core vaccines and non-core vaccines.

Core vaccines are seen as essential for a kitten’s longevity. They prevent severe diseases.

Non-core vaccines are somewhat optional, depending on your demographics, the kitten’s temperament and lifestyle. 

Core vaccines include:

  1. Rabies

A highly contagious disease that can spread from a single cat or dog bite to humans. It is therefore compulsory by law as it can affect humans. The rabies lyssavirus, found in cat & dog saliva, attacks the nervous system and slowly but surely renders it useless.

The rabies vaccine is given to kittens at three months of age and then after every year or three years, depending on recommendations by your vet.

  1. FCV (Feline Calicivirus)

Although humans aren’t affected by FCV, this virus causes flu-like symptoms and severe respiratory diseases in cats. The FCV vaccine has been shown to offer good protection against the disease and is also given at three months of age.

  1. Feline Parvo (FP) or Feline Panleukopenia

A deadly disease that attacks a cat’s bowels and bone marrow, it can cause high fever, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and decreased blood cells.

As the disease commonly affects kittens, the vaccine is given at 2-3 months of age, followed by a booster after 3-4 weeks and then again every 1-3 years.

  1. Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR)

This disease is caused by the Feline Herpes Virus (FHV) and also causes flu-like symptoms, a loss of appetite and dehydration. Kittens are vaccinated at 2-3 months of age, and boosters are given every month for a few months.

Infographic courtesy of @DogtorTeoh


Non-core vaccines include:

  1. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)

This virus causes digestive disorders, a poor appetite and fur entanglement. It further weakens a cats body, increasing the risk of deadly diseases like cancer. The virus can be easily controlled with two shots of the vaccine, given about a month apart, followed by boosters every year.

  1. Chamydophilia Felis

This disease affects the eyes and the respiratory system. Kittens should receive the vaccine at two months of age.

  1. Bordetella Bronchiseptica

A contagious disease that can spread between dogs and cats, it mainly affects the respiratory system. 

How much do cat vaccines cost?

In Malaysia, the cost of cat and kitten vaccinations depends on several factors, including where you live and the charges at your local vet. On average, the annual cost of cat vaccines in Malaysia ranges from RM40 to RM100. 

This includes the core vaccines with each dose administered with a three-week gap. This excludes your routine consultation and check-up costs at your vet, ranging from RM15 to RM60 per visit.

Cat vaccinations are not routinely covered by pet insurance as they are considered a form of prophylactic or preventative care. However, Oyen.my, Malaysia’s leading pet insurance company, has recently launched a pet wellness program that covers vaccinations and routine blood examinations etc., very much like a wellness club membership for humans!

Besides vaccinations, it also covers deworming and skin and coat care too. Feel free to check out the plans on offer here!

These plans are perfect for first-time cat owners as they direct you to the best vets in the city and take care of all the expenses that come with them. This pilot program is currently available for cat parents in the Klang Valley area.

Does my cat need yearly vaccinations?

As you might have noticed already, there can be conflicting advice regarding cat booster shots or yearly cat vaccinations. The general rule is that a cat’s vaccination needs vary based on age, breed and lifestyle. Most vets in Malaysia will agree that several vaccines need to be given yearly, while others, maybe once every three years. Speak to your vet for more details about these variations.

Is it too late to vaccinate my cat?

No, it’s never too late to vaccinate an adult cat. Most vaccines have regimes for adult cats, so speak to your vet for a customised vaccination schedule for your adult cat. Adult cats might require more regular cat booster shots to build their immunity.

If you’re fostering or adopting a stray (bless your kind soul), your vet will be able to put together a customised vaccination schedule that will be an immune booster for your new furry friend.

What side effects are associated with cat vaccinations?

Thankfully, cat vaccinations are not associated with severe side effects. Fever, lethargy and poor feeding can occur after a vaccination appointment, and these usually don’t require any treatment in most cases as they will resolve in time.

The best infographics ever, thanks to @DogtorTeoh
Interested in Cat Acupuncture? Check out @DogtorTeoh

Conclusion

So that’s everything you need to know about cat vaccinations in Malaysia. 
Once again, if you’re worried about the recurring costs of vaccinations and other forms of preventative medicine for your cat, do check out Oyen’s wellness program for everything health and wellbeing without the worry of additional costs.