Written By : M Samy

Do cats need rabies shots?

Yes, cats need a primary rabies shots as soon as they are 4 months old, a one year booster vaccination will be required and then another booster every 3 years to prevent your cat from getting this virus.

Should cats get a rabies vaccine?

Yes, cats must be vaccinated against rabies; they are even required to ensure their immunity, the health of other animals they may meet and other people because the rabies virus can quickly be transmitted during contact with other animals. 

Is rabies vaccine mandatory in the us?

In California and 23 other states (some states allow exemptions), all dogs (and imported animals) over the age of 4 months must be vaccinated against rabies, including booster shots of course. All of them should have a rabies vaccination certificate. you can find here Rabies laws by states 

Why should cats get a rabies vaccine? 

do cats need rabies shots

To Protect your cat from getting this virus

Rabies vaccine is essential for your cat in the first place. Your cat can simply catch this virus from other cats, racoons, or dogs that have not been vaccinated against this virus and may come from a country where rabies vaccination for dogs is not required, especially since this virus is easily transmitted from one animal to another. 

1.To Protect other pets

If your cat is vaccinated against rabies, there will be less risk of infecting other pets that may visit your home and therefore less liability. 

2.To protect yourself, your family members and other people

By vaccinating your cat, you will protect yourself and other people who may come in contact with your cat. The rabies virus can be transmitted from a cat to a human through saliva, claws, or other contact. 

3.So you can Travel with your cat 

To travel it is obligatory to be vaccinated against rabies in some countries where the control is systematic and the vaccine is mandatory. 

Do indoor cats need rabies shots and why?

Indoor cats must also be vaccinated against rabies. The virus can be very easily transmitted, even if your cat does not go out or meet any animal, a simple scratch on you or contact of another animal with you can be dangerous for your feline.

That is, you can be an intermediary between other animals and your cat. Then saliva and everywhere outside you can also bring it on your shoes or clothes to your cat. 

Is the rabies vaccine dangerous for cats ?

False, before being marketed, the rabies vaccine for cats is controlled on its effectiveness under a marketing authorization application. 

So Is it risky to give my cat the rabies vaccine?

Rabies vaccine is not dangerous, on the contrary it will protect your cat against the rabies virus which is easily transmitted through several intermediaries such as saliva, clothes, people, other pets.

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I do not generalize because each cat has its own sensitivity. But in most cases the rabies vaccine in cats has non-dangerous side effects. 

Side effects of rabies shots in cats

  • A slight local inflammation around the injection site.
  • A loss of appetite that does not last long. 
  • Fatigue, but this is not going to cause him pain, it is just due to a noticeable unusual activity in his body. 

At what age can cats be vaccinated against rabies?

Never under 3 months of age. A cat, dog or ferret should never receive a rabies vaccine until at least 12 weeks of age for the vaccine to be valid. 

The age at which cats can be vaccinated against rabies depends on certain conditions such as breastfeeding and the type of vaccine.  But in general it is from 4 months to 1 year old. In any case, the veterinarian will recommend the exact age at which your cat should be vaccinated against rabies. 

I mentioned breastfeeding as a factor affecting the age of rabies vaccination, because cats that are breastfed are protected by the antibodies and immune effect of breast milk. So in this case the vaccination may be a little delayed compared to other cats that did not receive breast milk. 

What is the best rabies vaccine for cats?

Previously, it was the PUREVAX Feline Rabies 1 yr for cats, this vaccine is recommended for cats every year. 

From 2014, a new vaccine recommended for cats every 3 years “3 yr purevax Vaccine”. The latter has been well developed. But veterinarians today continue to recommend the first “PUREVAX feline 1 yr” because it is 3 times cheaper than the last. 

How much do rabies shots cost?

In general, it can be as much as $38 per shot, depending on the country where you have it done, the clinic and the brand of vaccine you choose. 

The price of a consultation for a rabies vaccine for cats also differs between those who live in the city and those who live in the country (those who live in the country must pay less). 

The yearly vaccine costs 3 times less than the 3 years one.  If the purevax 1 yr vaccine costs 23$, the purevax 3 yr vaccine will cost 49$. 

Is Rabies vaccine reimbursable ?

Unfortunately not. Once it is confirmed at the laboratory level that the vaccine is effective, it would no longer be reimbursed. 

Do senior cats need rabies shots ?

The health of senior cats is more sensitive because they have a weaker immune system than younger cats. For this reason, it is essential for senior cats, even those who live strictly indoors, to be vaccinated against rabies. 

Do pregnant cats need rabies shots?

A pregnant cat can be vaccinated against rabies without risk provided that live vaccines such as “PUREVAX RCP” are not used; they are vaccines that can change the immune function of its own body and that can infect the kitten, which can have a neurological infection that leads to a disability. 

However, some vaccines are allowed and confirmed to be safe for kittens, as well as for nursing and pregnant women. It is necessary to discuss this with the veterinarian to choose the type of vaccine that is appropriate for her. 

Is Fvrcp the same as the rabies vaccine?

It is a mandatory vaccine for cats but it will not prevent your cat from getting rabies.

It is used to fight several infectious diseases at once but it is not effective against rabies, but this does not mean that no case has ever been successfully prevented from rabies through this vaccine. 

Do cats need rabies boosters ?

Yes, in order for the immune response to be effective, and for the cat to be protected against this virus, it is necessary to do rabies boosters one year after the first injection, and after this second injection, the other injections called “boosters” must be done after every 1 or 3 years maximum, depending on the type of vaccine PUREVAX 1 yr or PUREVAX 3 yr.

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In case of delay (you are older than 1 year or 3 years), you will have to wait another 21 days to get the booster. 

How do I know if my cat has rabies?

Signs are common, when a cat has rabies virus, they start to show signs after about 21 days after infection (this is the incubation period). 

There are 2 forms of symptoms that vary depending on the character, sensitivity and breed of cat. 

1.The silent form of rabies

This is a dangerous symptom that is characterized by

  • A facial paralysis.
  • The cat has difficulty swallowing and salivating excessively. 
  • Muscle contractions 
  • Convulsion 

2.The furious form of rabies

This form or symptom is characterized by an unusual aggressiveness, it may even show signs of aggression. 

In aggressive breeds of cats, they may show signs completely different from their character, it may become very quiet and solitary and tries to flee or hide under the furniture. 

In any case, if there is any unusual change in behavior, consult a veterinarian before it is too late. 

You’ll notice these symptoms if your cat is infected by Rabies virus :

  • Lethargy (weakness or paralysis of the legs)
  • Fever
  • Hypersalivation
  • Seizures
  • Difficult breathing
  • Frequent Vomiting (This may be due to other thing)
  • Anorexia
  • Aggressiveness , depression and abnormal behavior

Is there any risk if a cat does not receive the rabies vaccine?

Rabies is a neurotropic virus, which means that it attacks neurons, causing serious disorders of the nervous system.

Paralysis occurs in most cases of rabies in cats and this paralysis usually leads to death. And unfortunately there is no treatment against rabies, so it is better to prevent it with vaccination.

Or if your cat was once scratched or bitten by another animal, you should take it directly to a veterinarian. It is possible to treat rabies immediately after a scratch or bite, but once the symptoms appear it is impossible to treat it. 

How can rabies be transmitted to my cat?

The rabies virus is transmitted through saliva from a bite, scratch, or an infected and inflamed lesion. Rabies cannot be transmitted through feces, urine or blood. 

Your cat can get the rabies virus by: 

  • Contact with an animal brought in from abroad 
  • Travel to an affected country
  • Very exceptionally, contact with a carrier bat.
  • Birds, reptiles, fish and insects do not transmit this virus. 

Basically this virus can be transmitted if the saliva of the infected animal comes in contact with the mouth, eyes or nose of another animal, but also if this saliva is in contact with an open wound or any other injury as after a bite.

Can a cat transmit rabies to my child?

Yes, the rabies virus can be transmitted from an infected cat to another animal or person. Especially since the saliva of a cat affected by this virus can easily get to your child, knowing that the first symptom of rabies in cats is excessive salivation, so if a cat drops its saliva all over the place, your child can catch it by coming into contact with the saliva.

Can you prevent cats from getting rabies without giving them a vaccine?

It’s possible, but difficult and why taking this risk ! , but you have to do this :

  • You have to isolate him from other animals and even people. 
  • Never let him go outside 
  • Daily sterile cleaning (you can get saliva from an infected animal on your shoes or droplets on your clothes)
  • Make sure there are no mice around your cat’s shelter 
  • A clean diet as well.

Health surveillance for unvaccinated cats 

Some countries require you to take your unvaccinated cat to a veterinarian for a health check every 15 days. Even if in other countries this is not mandatory, it is advisable to do so, to detect in case of an unremarkable rabies virus infection. 

A way to eliminate the rabies virus? 

In the external environment, the virus is not very resistant and easy to eliminate with the help of disinfectants. But once it has entered an organism, it will inevitably travel to the brain after an incubation period of 15 to 30 days in cats.

What other primary shots should cats get?

Cats are susceptible to many diseases besides rabies, some of which require vaccination: 

1.Feline Typhus

This is a very easily transmitted virus. It is transmitted from one animal to another but also via objects that have been in contact with the virus. Vaccination against typhus is possible from 2 months. 


Coryza is somewhat similar to the flu that affects humans. It is dangerous and can trigger lung problems. Vaccination against Coryza should be done as early as 8 weeks.

3.FeLV or “Feline leukemia”

The virus is transmitted by direct contact through nasal discharge, feces, urine, saliva, eye discharge and breast milk. Vaccination can be done from 8 weeks of age. 

4.Feline coronavirus

The cat coughs and appears to have chest pain.  In healthy cats, there is usually a good chance that the coronavirus will not develop into FIP virus, which is a dangerous and fatal disease.

What to do if you suspect your cat has rabies ?

If your cat shows symptoms of rabies, you should immediately isolate it from your other pets and, of course, from your children.

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You will then need to confirm this diagnosis. Of course, you’ll want to make sure the virus hasn’t spread to other family members.

Put your cat in its carrier and take it to a veterinarian immediately. Ask your kids to wash their hands and than brush their teeth and stay away from your other pets.

You should then check your other pets to make sure they are not infected with the virus.

Final Thoughts 

Finally, the rabies virus is transmitted through saliva, which is present on everything from clothing to shoes to other pets when you visit your home. It is easily transmitted, which is why it is difficult to avoid it, even if the cat stays home alone all the time.

Vaccination is the only effective way to fight rabies, especially since it is a dangerous and deadly disease. But this does not mean that it is impossible to avoid this virus without a vaccine. 

M Samy pet blogger and author at famillypet

About Author

Hey! Samy here , Welcome to my Blog I'm an animal lover, especially pets and Really concerned about their well being ; I've been around and caring for all my life and Now ; a full-time Pet blogger at your service . My motto here at Famillypet is: "Pets First" ... Read More