Indoor Cats and Vaccinations Question

Updated on September 04, 2013
S.M. asks from Elcho, WI
18 answers

My cat is strictly indoors. She is a year old, had her first set of vac's at 8 weeks old, follow up boosters too and spayed at 12 weeks. since she never goes out is it really necessary for her to get anymore vaccinations?

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answers from Tampa on

Yes!!! My cats are indoor only but we ALWAYS prepare for "what if" they got outside, what if a flea got inside? BTW we always keep up on flea treatments as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Eau Claire on

I would do rabies and nothing else. I asked my vet and he said to do the rabies in case my indoor cat snuck out and bit someone we wouldn't have to quarantine it.

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answers from Grand Forks on

We haven't taken our cats to the vet since they were neutered and had their initial shots. Our cats are indoor cats and are 17 and 18 years old.

ETA: They have also never gotten outside accidentally, nor have we ever had fleas. Cats are not legally allowed to be outdoors where I live, unless on a leash.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

You should have her vaccinated. Did you know that you can carry fleas in on your pants or shoes after walking through the grass? Fleas carry diseases.

You can also carry in FLV on your shoes.

And you have no guarantee that your kitty won't accidentally be let out.

Please get her shots.

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answers from Houston on

Our indoor cat will be 8 next month and has never been to the vet.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

You still need to get her vaccinated. She does NOT have lifetime immunity from vaccination at 12 weeks of age. Rabies vaccination is generally mandated by law. Although it is unpleasant to think about, bats do get into people's houses. Also, there is zero guarantee she will never get out. Since you are on this site, I assume you have kids. Kids occasionally stop and talk while opening and closing doors. My son often leaves the door not quite closed. Also - should she ever bite anyone and she is not Rabies vaccinated - a judge will order her euthanized and tested for Rabies rather than simply quarantined.

Your veterinarian will advise you of the recommended vaccinations for an indoor only cat at her ANNUAL examinations. Which are strongly recommended for ALL cats - indoors and out. Remember - she ages faster than we do. Going once a year is like going to the doctor once every 7 years. If you skip a year or two - it's like us skipping 14 or 21 years - LOTS of health problems can smolder in that time frame.

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answers from San Diego on

We have indoor only cats. There is a different vaccination schedule for indoor only cats that our vet follows but they still get vaccines and boosters. I admit I can't remember exactly what it is off the top of my head. I would ask your vet about the alternative vaccination schedule for indoor cats.
We still bring them in yearly for check ups to make sure they stay healthy.

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answers from Detroit on

Most states require cats to be vaccinated for rabies, indoor or not. Even if she does not go out and it is not required by law, she should be kept current on rabies vaccines. I know families that have gotten bats in their house, cats potentially exposed, and bats tested positive.

Many vets will still recommend the feline distemper/upper respiratory vaccine boosters, but every 3 years instead of once a year. No matter what, cats need check-up exams at the vet, at least once a year, and possibly twice a year as they get older, to spot problems early that you may not even be aware of. The exam is more important than the vaccine. I have found plenty of cats that ended up having heart murmurs, fleas, and/or dental disease that were "indoor only" and didn't go to the vet because their owners didn't think it was necessary.

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answers from Wausau on

Yes, because even though she stays indoors you do not. Anytime humans come and go, they bring things in with them. Bacteria, viruses, sometimes even parasites or fleas.

There is also the chance that your cat may decide to slip out, or that a rodent or other critter may come in.

Certain things, like a rabies shot every 1-3 years, may be required by law where you live.



answers from Albuquerque on

My girls (kitties) are 12, 11, and 2 and they are on a limited vaccination schedule--they are all strictly indoors. We also have a small dog who is rarely around other dogs (he gets more vaccinations than the cats). In our state, Rabies vaccinations are required for all pets. Put it this way, if your cat scratches or bites someone and they report it (to a hospital or doctor), you may be required to provide proof of rabies vaccination. If you cannot prove current vaccination, there are 2 ways to determine if an animal has rabies: observation (which they won't do if a person was exposed) and necropsy (that's cutting open the brain to take a slice to look for the virus)! Would you risk having your pet euthanized just to avoid one vaccination?? There are 3-year rabies vaccines available and they're fairly inexpensive.
The other vaccinations are important depending on a few factors: will/could the cat spend any time outside, are other pets present in the home, and environment (are there stray cats in your neighborhood, do wildlife ever get in the house, are certain diseases more prevalent in your area). You should be able to discuss these questions with your vet to get their recommendation. Next year, try another vet and ask their opinion. You will get the idea if they're just out for the business, or if they are being straightforward and honest.
For many years, we did vaccinations every year (still limited), but then dropped back to the 3-year rabies and a vet visit every 3 years (or when one of them had an issue). Two of my girls are practically senior citizens and they really don't even try to go outside (we used to take them on walks and for car rides), so I think the panel of vaccinations would be too much on their old immune systems. The new kitty came from a feral rescue program, so we did all the vaccinations and tests when we first adopted her, but now she's on the same schedule as the others.
Routine vet visits are important, too! If not every year (because, yes, they can be expensive), try for every other or every 3rd year. It's good to keep an eye on their general health and that way any issues that do come up would hopefully be detected earlier. My 11-year-old girl was just diagnosed with breast cancer and we had a strawberry-sized tumor removed--now we're just keeping an eye on her. If we were still doing annual exams, they may have found it sooner... :(


answers from New York on

You choice but I would do flea and tick treatment on them on an ongoing basis. I foster cats and although they are strictly indoor they've come up with fleas and ticks on them at times because we've brought them in on our clothes or they've come in on the dog.



answers from Washington DC on

We get our indoor cats vaccinated. You never know when they might sneak out and get into trouble. And in some areas, you are required by law to get a rabies vax for your cats and dogs, regardless of housing. You might also want to consider flea control as well, since YOU can be a vector for the poor kitty.


answers from Washington DC on

if you are really sure your cat won't get out, i wouldn't bother. but cats are sneaky! and if she's unvaccinated and suddenly is exposed, she'll be more vulnerable.
all of mine are indoor/outdoor so i keep them up to date.



answers from Minneapolis on

my cat is 15 yrs old-strictly indoors-he only had one round of shots when he got fixed.unless you get more cats-or she goes outside-i wouldnt give her shots.i really believe my cat is healthy this long becuz of no xtra toxins in his system.hes never been sick or been to the vet since he got fixed 14 yrs ago.


answers from Chicago on

In our county, all cats and dogs need current rabies tags. So, our indoor cats get at least their rabies shots once a year.

Might want to check local or county ordinances for your area.



answers from New York on

Absolutely get her vaccinated!



answers from Madison on

I do not believe in having any more vaccinations than absolutely needed, whether human or animal. If you or an animal received your vaccines as a baby--then you are vaccinated. Period.

My cat is an indoor cat. He also has an autoimmune disease called Feline Gingivitis Stomatitis Complex. For that reason alone, he gets no more shots because they would overload his body with toxins, which he cannot afford to have.

When my dog is supposed to have her shots, I have a titer taken instead. If she still has enough antibodies in her system--she doesn't get the shot. She only gets a shot when she has no antibodies in her system. And when she does get a shot, I make sure to give her lots of detoxification protocols so that her liver isn't overtaxed.

If you feed/give your pets very high-quality food and don't give them lots of toxin exposure so that their immune system is healthy and thriving, then you don't have to worry about them being sick.



answers from Baton Rouge on

We have two cats that never come inside (their choice) except duting a hurricane (my insistence). They are vaccinated.
We have sixteen cats that never go outside. They are not vaccinated.

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