6 Important Vaccines Every Kitten Needs in Hingham, MA

By the time your kitten is weaned and reaches eight weeks old, it’s important to make an appointment with your veterinarian in Hingham, MA for an exam and vaccinations. All kittens should receive vaccines for viruses that can cause upper respiratory infections and distemper, as well as for rabies. If any cats in your home like to spend their days and night outdoors, it’s recommended to have your kitten vaccinated for feline leukemia virus.

Kitten vaccines in Hingham, MA

Why Are Kitten Vaccines Important in Hingham, MA?

Cat vaccinations are a critical part of your kitten’s health and provide your fur-baby with protection against any viruses that can be debilitating and even deadly. As a rule, vaccines should be given as a series of injections at specific intervals, and it’s important to be on time for your kitten’s scheduled vaccinations.

Generally, vaccinations start at 6-8 weeks of age and boostered every 3-4 weeks until the kitten is 4 months old.

What Are Kitten Vaccines in Hingham, MA?

The function of a vaccine is to trigger an immune response to a certain virus which can help protect your pet from future infections and diseases. A vaccine triggers the body’s immune response to produce antibodies that can battle viruses. Keeping your kitten up-to-date on vaccines will ensure that your pets will enjoy a healthier and happier life.

4 Important Essential Vaccines for Kittens in Hingham, MA

Essential, or core vaccines, can help protect your kitten from viruses such as feline distemper (panleukopenia), feline viral rhinotracheitis (feline herpesvirus 1), calicivirus, and rabies. The first three are included in a combination vaccine given every three to four weeks until the kitten reaches 4 months of age, and the initial rabies vaccine is usually given once between 12-16 weeks of age.

Your veterinarian in Hingham may also recommend other kitten vaccines depending on where you live and your cat’s lifestyle.

Four essential kitten vaccines that are important for every cat include:


Rabies is a zoonotic disease that can be transmitted to humans and other pets and is required in most cities and states in the US, even if your cat stays exclusively indoors. Rabies is a virus that attacks the central nervous system. Symptoms include excessive drooling, paralysis, anxiety, and ultimately death.

If you have any questions about the rabies vaccine, please contact your local vet in Hingham.

Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)

Feline panleukopenia, or FP, is a highly contagious viral disease of cats caused by the feline parvovirus. Kittens are most severely affected by this virus.

Symptoms of feline panleukopenia include:

  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • High fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nasal discharge

Cats shed the virus in their urine, stool, and nasal secretions and infection occurs when susceptible cats come in contact with these secretions, or even the fleas from infected cats

Feline Calicivirus

Feline calicivirus is a virus that is an important cause of upper respiratory infections and oral disease in cats and is one of the more common infectious agents in cats with a respiratory infection. Calicivirus is highly contagious, which is why it’s an important vaccine for kittens in Hingham.

Infected cats can shed the virus in saliva or secretions from the nose or eyes.

Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis

This is an infectious disease caused by feline herpesvirus type-1, and symptoms include fever, sneezing, conjunctivitis, and rhinitis. The virus is spread to other cats via saliva and/or discharge from the eyes and nose from an infected cat.

The feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia vaccinations often come in a combination shot (FVRCP), which is sometimes called the “distemper shot.”

2 Non-Essential Vaccines for Kittens in Hingham, MA

Optional or non-core vaccines aren’t administered to every kitten, but depending on where you live and your kitten’s lifestyle, they may be recommended. Cats in Hingham that live outdoors are at more risk for infectious diseases and often need these additional vaccines.

Two important non-essential kitten vaccines are:


A vaccine for this bacteria is often part of the FVRCP shot.

Feline Leukemia

This serious viral infection spreads through many bodily fluids like saliva, feces, urine, and milk. The vaccine is recommended for kittens who spend any time outside. Feline leukemia cannot be cured, so prevention is a priority.

Why Does My Kitten Need More Than One Vaccine in Hingham, MA?

When a kitten is born, she receives a temporary form of immunity through her mother’s colostrum, which is the milk produced by the mother shortly after birth. Colostrum is rich in protective antibodies and is produced just a few days after birth. Up to 48 hours after birth, the kitten’s gastro-intestinal tract absorbs these antibodies directly into the bloodstream. Known as “passive immunity,” the absorption of mom’s antibodies protects the kitten during her first few weeks of life, giving her immune system a boost.

However, to develop her immunity against certain diseases, the kitten needs to produce her own “active immunity.”

In short, kitten vaccines stimulate active immunity, and to be effective, they need to be given at certain times and in a certain sequence. If a kitten is 6 weeks or younger and is vaccinated, the mother’s antibodies are still present in the kitten’s bloodstream, and the mom’s antibodies can prevent the immune system from responding properly to the vaccines. That’s why many veterinarians in Hingham suggest waiting until 6-8 weeks to start a vaccination schedule, that way mom’s antibodies won’t interfere with the effectiveness of the vaccines.

When to Give Kitten Vaccines in Hingham, MA

Vaccinations given at certain ages and intervals increases the chances of stimulating active immunity in your kitten. It’s recommended to give vaccinations in the critical period that occurs after the kitten loses her mom’s passive immunity and before she is is at risk of being exposed to diseases and viruses.

Giving a series of vaccines improve the chances of your kitten developing proper immunity and antibodies, and they’re needed because a single vaccination, even if effective, is not enough to stimulate the long-term active immunity. One exception to this is the rabies vaccine since one injection given at the proper age is enough to produce lasting immunity for up to a year.

Kittens in Hingham should start receiving vaccines when they are 6 to 8 weeks old until they are about 16 weeks old. Then they should be repeated 1-3 years later. Kitten shots come in a series every 3 to 4 weeks, and adult cats need shots less often, usually every year or every 3 years, depending on how long a vaccine is designed to last.

See a Vet to Schedule Your Kitten’s Vaccines in Hingham, MA

If your kitten stays inside all of the time, you might think she’s automatically protected from these kinds of diseases, but she could pick up various bacteria and viruses if she stays at a kennel, or if you introduce a new cat into the household. Kitten vaccines play a vital role in preventing your cat from getting these and other harmful and potentially fatal diseases.

At Old Derby Animal Hospital, we customize your kitten’s vaccination schedule based on their lifestyle and what would be best for them. We know how important your pet is to you and your family and we want them to live a long and healthy life with you, which is why we make sure your cat is all up-to-date on their proper vaccinations. If you have any further questions, or want to schedule an appointment, contact us at any time!

About Old Derby Animal Hospital

At Old Derby Animal Hospital, we practice veterinary medicine with the goal of helping you maintain a stronger, longer-lasting bond with your pet. Our full-service veterinarian facility in Hingham, MA combines the feel of a large practice without sacrificing that personal touch that we believe is essential to your pet's care. You have access to a wide range of medical, surgical, and dental services for your pet at our animal hospital, including luxury boarding and grooming at The Inn.

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