Cat and kitten vaccinations are vitally important to any cat’s health. There are various types of vaccines and frequency of administration, such as a kitten’s first vaccine to a frequent traveler cat who needs specialized vaccines for travel. This article will look at how much different vaccines will cost you for your cat or kitten in the UK.
The Importance of Vaccinations for Cats in the UK
Cats in the UK can be exposed to several preventable illnesses to which vaccines are designed to give immunity. For kittens, these vaccines can be life-saving; some illnesses, such as Feline Calicivirus (Cat flu), Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), are all preventable illnesses that frequently kill kittens in the UK.
Booster vaccinations are needed to “top off” your cat’s immunity to these diseases as they age, ensuring they’re fully protected. Some of these are given annually; some are given less frequently (such as every 3 years).
Statistics show that these diseases kill. 30%–70% of cats infected with a systemic (full body) calicivirus infection will die. The almost universally fatal FIP causes 12% of all feline deaths. FeLV kills 85% of persistently infected cats within 3 years.
The numbers are bleak, but the great news is that these infections can be guarded against using vaccines and an up-to-date vaccination schedule.
Vaccinations are available for most illnesses that cats can get, with initial vaccination schedules including:
There are also other vaccinations available for cats considered at risk, including vaccinations for rabies and bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough). Still, these are given more rarely and only in specific situations, such as traveling.
An in-date rabies vaccine is needed for a cat to travel into and out of the UK.
How Much Do Vaccinations for Cats in the UK Cost?
Different veterinary surgeries around the UK will have different prices for kitten and cat vaccines, particularly as the pricing of veterinary services in the UK is not regulated. The price can vary due to location, such as within Britain, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland, as well as in and out of the capital. Cat-only clinics only treat felines, which may be more expensive.
Some veterinary charities, such as the PDSA (Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals) and the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), offer cheaper vaccinations for those on lower incomes. Currently, one-third of the UK’s cat population is unvaccinated, according to The Cat Group.
Below is a table showing the price of initial vaccines and boosters in each part of the UK, as well as the average price for “reduced-cost” vaccination clinics and cat-only clinics.
|Initial Vaccination Course (Kitten)||£44–£172||£50–£100||£59–£102||£55–£75|
Average price of initial vaccine courses and boosters from low-cost/ charity clinics:
Average price of initial vaccine courses and boosters from cat-only clinics:
Additional Costs to Anticipate
With cat and kitten vaccinations, there are a few additional costs to consider. One cost to consider is any additional vaccinations your cat may need that aren’t in the “core” vaccination list. For example, rabies and Bordatella Brochiseptica vaccines aren’t usually prescribed to cats in the UK, but if you want to travel with your kitten or cat, you must get them a pet passport by law. This includes the need for a rabies vaccine, which costs £65 on average.
Some veterinary offices charge a consultation fee on top of the vaccination cost, which costs an average of £30, but consult fees are usually included in the vaccine cost.
If owners don’t bring their cats in for their boosters, they might have to restart the vaccine course. This is because the level of immunity the cat has built up will fall too low, meaning a booster won’t be effective enough to protect them. A restart of a vaccine course is almost always priced the same as a kitten’s first vaccination course, meaning a restart of vaccines can cost a lot more than a booster.
How Often Should I Get My Cat Vaccinated?
Cat vaccine schedules are debated in the UK veterinary world, as the number of people who keep their cats exclusively inside is on the rise. 10% of cats in the UK are now considered indoor only, but most veterinarians agree that all cats need the full vaccine ad booster schedule.
Cat owners can’t catch or carry these diseases themselves, but they can carry the viruses on their clothes. Shoes and clothes can come into close contact with cats, meaning that even a cat that never goes outside can become infected.
It’s recommended that cats should get their first vaccinations when they’re a kitten before they’re allowed outside and before they come into contact with any other cats. A booster is given annually after this, as antibody levels fall over time.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Cat and Kitten Vaccinations in the UK?
Pet insurance more than likely won’t cover vaccinations in the UK. Because pet insurance companies class vaccinations as “preventative treatments”.
Most pet insurance companies will provide a preventative “pet club” option for an additional fee that can cover vaccinations. However, this isn’t always offered, and if the cat owner lapses on the cat’s vaccination schedule (even by a few weeks), they may have to restart the whole course. This might void the plan and mean that pet owners must pay the full price for vaccines.
What to Do if Your Cat Misses Their Vaccines
If your cat misses their annual booster vaccine, what you should do next depends on how long your cat has missed their booster date by.
For most vaccinations, a booster can be “missed” for a few months before immunity levels will drop low enough to not be effective. Each veterinary surgery will have their own protocol on how much time between boosters they allow, but it seems that 15 months is generally the cut-off point for vets in the UK.
Most vets’ surgeries now offer either physical or digital reminder cards for your cat’s vaccines, so keep a lookout for those when your cat’s booster is due. Otherwise, try to book an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Going over the cut-off date for boosters may result in you having to pay for a whole vaccine course all over again!
The same is true for kitten vaccines; there is a specific amount of time needed between the first and second kitten vaccines (3 weeks). This is because of how the vaccines are designed. If you miss this window, you’ll likely have to get the course restarted.
Cat and kitten vaccinations are vitally important to the continuation of your cat’s health. Without them, many cats can get very sick and even die due to preventable diseases. Because a lot of these diseases are spread via close contact with other cats, multi-cat households are at a higher risk of one of their cats getting sick. Vaccinating these cats is very important to protect them from these easily spread illnesses.
However, indoor-only cats should also be vaccinated due to some viruses being carried in on owners’ clothing. The prices of these vaccines are variable due to your location and the type of vets you visit.
- Related Read: How to Get a UK Pet Passport: An Expert Guide
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