Is there a 3 year rabies vaccine for cats?

If there’s a viral disease that drives fear into every pet owner’s hearts, it’s rabies — and it’s not without reason.  Rabies is very fatal for our unvaccinated furry friends because there is no known cure or treatment available for it.  Once an animal gets rabies, if they are unvaccinated, it’s a definite death sentence.

So is there a 3 year vaccine?

There is a 3-year vaccine, but it may be more expensive than the yearly. We, therefore, recommend that you consult your vet before deciding how to vaccine your kitty. This is why it’s absolutely important for us, cat guardians to make sure that our little furballs are regularly vaccinated – even if they are exclusively indoor cats.

How often should my cat be vaccinated for rabies?

Your kittens can and should get vaccinated as early as they turn eight weeks old.  How early is depending on the brand of vaccine chosen for your cat and your vet’s recommendations.  Your cat should then be revaccinated a year later.

If your cat got their initial vaccination after they have turned 16 weeks old, they will need a yearly vaccine booster.  Otherwise, depending on the vaccine, and of course, what your vet has recommended , your cat may need a booster every year or every three years.  The three-year vaccine usually costs more than the annual version so your vet may recommend the latter for your cat.

What are the side effects I should know about?

You’ll be glad to know that negative vaccine reactions are very rare in cats.  In case that your cat is one of the unlucky few who gets the side-effects, they’re absolutely nothing to worry about.

Should your cat get a side effect, expect only a  slight fever, lethargy, a decrease in their appetite and slight swelling.  These types of reactions will typically disappear in a few days.

In extremely rare cases when a cat is severely allergic to the vaccine, they may get hives, have itchy, swelling faces, and even collapse.  These reactions only occur in fewer than 10 out of 10,000 vaccinated cats.

Older vaccine formulations contain adjuvant which boost your cat’s immune response to vaccines.  While these vaccines work really well, they’re also known to cause some negative reactions on some cats.  These days, most vet’s will recommend non-adjuvanted vaccines. 

Why do indoor cats need to be vaccinated?

Since the rabies virus gets transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal — which means it will get passed on primarily through bites, pet owners might think that their indoor only pets are not at risk of getting rabies.  They’re dead wrong.

All our mammal pets, dogs, cats, rabbits, etc, need to be vaccinated against rabies,  As veteran cat owners know too well, our cunning little kitties are expert escape artists.  It’s not a question whether they are able to escape… it’s when.

Rabies carrying animals like bats and raccoons can definitely sneak inside your house through your chimneys and attics.  Bats can trigger your cat’s hunting instincts.  What happens then if the rabies ridden bad decides to nip at your cat?

Just to be extra safe, please vaccinate your cats as soon as possible.

Common questions about cat rabies

What are the symptoms of rabies in cats?

After an encounter with an animal with rabies, the virus can actually incubate inside your cat’s body for a week, to even a whole year.  However, when the virus becomes active, you’ll start to see the symptoms popup one after another very quickly.

Here are the common symptoms that cats with rabies will start to show:

  • Behavioral change.  This includes an increased level of aggression, your cat being restless or even lethargic.  Your cat may also become more vocal than usual.
  • Change in appetite.
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Sudden Death

Unfortunately, the most reliable way to diagnose rabies in animals is through direct fluorescent antibody test.  This test can only be done post mortem.

What should I do if I think my cat has rabies?

The very first thing you should do if you think your pet has been infected with rabies is to protect yourself. Remember, you are a mammal, and you can get infected with rabies.

After you’ve put on some protective gloves, call your vet for an emergency appointment AND your local animal control so they can safely contain the animal that has infected your pet.

Hopefully, your cat has been vaccinated prior the unfortunate bite.  Your cat will then be given a rabies booster vaccine and will be kept under close observation for 45 days.

What should I do if I get bitten by an animal with rabies?

If you, yourself has had an unfortunate interaction with a rabid animal, the only thing you should do is to go see your doctor IMMEDIATELY.  You’ll be subjected to a series of injections including a rabies immune globulin.

Never attempt to apprehend the rabid animal yourself.  Please contact your local animal control to get the job done safely.

Is the 3 year rabies vaccine safe for cats

The 3-year rabies vaccine for cats is just as safe as the 1-year vaccine. If it is an option for you to give your cat a 3-year Purevax (recombinant) Feline Rabies vaccine, this might be an outstanding and safe decision. There is not much difference in how safe a 1-year vaccine and a 3-year vaccine is.


Yes, there is a 3-year rabies vaccine for your cat.  It’s usually more expensive than the annual version so your vet will probably recommend the latter.  How often you should get your pets vaccinated should be according to your vet’s reccomendations.

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