Rabies Vaccine: How Important Is It To Your Cat's Health

What Is Rabies?

It is an illness that can affect all warm blooded animals. Although it's normally transmitted through a bite, infective saliva can also contaminate a scratch or existing wound. Once it enters a cat's body, it travels along the nerves to the spinal cord and eventually to the brain. In the brain it multiplies causing nerve damage which results in behavioural changes.


Some behavioural changes an infected cat may exhibit are;

  1. Normally friendly cat may become timid
  2. Hiding
  3. Normally shy cat may become unnaturally friendly
  4. Aggression; trying to bite or scratch you, excessive hissing
  5. Experiences difficulty swallowing; salivates excessively


During the last stage of the illness, called the paralytic stage, the cat's limbs and body becomes progressively paralyzed, resulting in a lack of co-ordination, difficulty breathing and then coma and death.

How Does The Vaccine Work?

It contains inactivated rabies virus, also called Killed.Killed contains micro-organisms of the disease that has been made inactive.

To help the vaccine do its job an adjuvant, which are substances with the ability to stimulate the immune system, are added to the dead micro-organism that provoke your cat's immune system to build antibodies to response to this virus, without causing the disease. So if you cat comes in contact with the virus, the antibodies are there ready to kill the virus.

Possible Reactions To The Vaccine



a)Mild Fever

  • Tired and extra sleepy
  • Loss of or diminished appetite
  • Sneezing
  • A small, firm, non-painful swelling under the skin may develop at the site where the shot was given. The swelling usually goes away after several weeks.

Severe(These reactions are rare, but if any of these occur contact your veterinarian)

  • a) Sarcoma, a type of tumour that develops at the site where the shot was given. This tumour can develop several weeks, months or even longer after the vaccination.

  • b) Severe allergic reaction

The Titer Test

Once your cat is given the vaccine, before giving your cat the yearly or every three years boost of the shot, there is a test called the titer test, that your vet can do to check if you cat is still immune from the disease. This test helps to prevent illnesses associated with over vaccinating your cat. The titer test measures the amount of antibodies in your cat's body for a specific disease.

The titer test will show if your cat has a high titter for rabies, if your cat does, a booster is not necessary at that time. A high titter for the disease indicates that your cat has good protection against it. However, if a vaccine for this illness is required by law on a yearly basis in your area, a titer test is not proof of vaccination, and you would still be required to vaccinate your cat. Rabies is generally a recommended vaccine for your cat,to find out which other vaccines are recommended read Cat Vaccines: A Breakdown Of Which Ones Your Cat Needs.

When Can Your Cat Get The Vaccine?

Your cat can receive the vaccine around twelve weeks old or a bit older. Two dose of the rabies killed vaccine is given within one month interval. Depending on the laws in your area and the type of the vaccine available, your cat can receive the vaccine either every year or every 3 years.

Although this vaccine is widely recommened and even required by law is some areas, going to the vet to get the vaccine, or for any other reason, can be very stressful on your cat. To find out how to help make the trip to the vet less stressful on your feline friend read about different ways to comfort your cat to and at the vets.

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Finding A New Vet - Looking for a new vet? This article guides you through different effective ways to find a new vet.

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