Rabies Vaccines for Cats – What you need to know

cat getting vaccinated

There are a number of animals that can be carriers of the rabies virus, including raccoons, foxes, and skunks.

If you want to protect your cat from this deadly disease, there are a few things you’ll need to know.

How do Cats get infected with Rabies?

A cat can get rabies when it is bitten by an animal that is already infected with it. This is especially common with outdoor cats, which are often around animals that have this disease. It only takes one small bite or even a scratch to pass it on to your pet.

rabies vaccine cat

Vaccinating Your Cat

You absolutely need to make sure that your cat gets its rabies vaccine. This is an incredibly serious disease that kills 99% of all animals that are infected with it.

If is strongly suspected that your cat has rabies, it will have to be put to sleep. This is due to the fact that live animals cannot be tested for rabies. It would require two different areas of the brain to be biopsied, which can only be done after death has occurred.

A majority of states in the U.S. legally require people to get their cats vaccinated for the good of public health and safety.

Does My Indoor Cat Really Need a Rabies Vaccine?

You might think that only outdoor cats need a rabies vaccine, but this is not the case. The fact is that a wild animal with rabies could get into your home and bite or scratch your cat. 

  5 Cat Paw Facts You Need to Know About

It is also possible that your cat could manage to get out of the house and become exposed to a rabies carrying animal. Either way, you’ll need to get your pet vaccinated.

Bats, in particular, are known for coming into people’s homes, and they are common carriers of rabies. It only takes a second for your cat to become infected, so you have to take every measure to ensure it doesn’t happen.

rabies cat

When Does a Cat get its Rabies Vaccine?

You can have your kitten vaccinated at four months to six months old. It lasts for a period of one year. Once this period has expired, your cat can get a vaccine that lasts one to three years.

It will be necessary for you to get your cat vaccinated within up to 12 weeks. This will ensure that your feline is protected from this disease.

Side Effects of Rabies Vaccine

The rabies vaccine that is given to cats can potentially have a few different side effects. You might notice that your cat is a little bit sluggish or lethargic after getting the shot.

Some cats also experience a decrease in appetite, so you could notice them start to eat less. It’s possible that the area that was injected swells up a bit. These symptoms typically only last for a few days and are not incredibly serious.

It is extremely rare for a cat to experience a severe negative reaction to a rabies vaccine, but you still need to be aware. If you notice any hives, itchiness or swelling of the face, you need to get your cat treatment right away. This is indicative of an allergic reaction, which only occurs in 1 out of 10,000 cats.

  Cats Reverse Sneezing: Is it Dangerous?

Another sign of a severe reaction to the feline rabies vaccination is weakness. If you ever see your pet collapse, you need to take it to the immediately.

Types of Rabies Vaccines

There are two different types of rabies vaccines that you can get for your cat—adjuvanted and non-adjuvanted. Vaccines that do not contain adjuvant are widely regarded as being the most effective.

While adjuvanted vaccines can work very well to prevent rabies in cats, there is a significant increase of negative reactions. While some of these reactions can be mild, others are quite serious.

A vast majority of veterinarians have started using only non-adjuvanted rabies vaccines for cats. Before you get your cat vaccinated, it is important to find out which kind your vet is going to use.

Non-adjuvanted three-year vaccines are the best option, as they last a long time and don’t usually cause any negative reactions in cats.

Cost of Rabies Vaccine

The rabies vaccine can be fairly pricey, but the cost varies depending on what your veterinarian uses. A non-adjuvanted vaccine costs more than the normal one. The vaccine that lasts for three years costs the most.

There are quite a few veterinarians that don’t charge their customers extra for a non-adjuvanted vaccine, so you could potentially save some money. If you have a kitten that needs to get vaccinated, you might want to spend some time calling different vets.

Another factor is whether the vaccine is given to your cat in a veterinarian’s office or an actual vaccine clinic. While you might save money with an adjuvanted vaccine, it generally isn’t as effective and doesn’t last as long as the pricier alternative. This is not something that you want to go cheap on.

  Cat Tooth Loss: Treatments & Info


  • Rabies is a very serious infectious disease that can affect both indoor and outdoor cats.
  • You shouldn’t wait more than six months to get your kitten vaccinated.
  • While rabies vaccines can cause negative reactions, they are usually not serious and don’t last more than a few days.
  • Vaccines that do not contain adjuvant are widely considered to be safer and more effective as a whole.
  • It only takes a matter of one second for your pet to be infected with the rabies virus.
  • Once an animal is infected with rabies, it must be put to sleep because live testing is not possible.
  • Ask your veterinarian whether they use adjuvanted or non-adjuvanted rabies vaccines, as it can make a big difference.
  • Try to find a veterinarian that will not charge you extra for a non-adjuvanted vaccine so you can save money.
  • Look for signs of a severe rabies vaccine reaction in your cat, including problems breathing, hives, or swelling of the face.