ExcitedCats is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

How Often Do Cats Need Rabies Shots?

Vet approved

	Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Several vaccinations are necessary to ensure a healthy lifestyle for your cat. There are various core vaccines, those that are recommended based on lifestyle, and many that require boosters to stay effective. With so much to keep track of, it can get a little overwhelming and difficult to manage.

This article aims to clear up some of the confusion around rabies shots. Likewise, we will be highlighting the importance of the rabies vaccine by taking a look at the severity of rabies—more on that later.

3 cat face divider

How Often Should My Cat Get a Rabies Shot?

So, just how often should your cat get vaccinated against rabies?

The answer is… well, it depends.

When your cat is around 12 weeks old, he should receive his first rabies shot. He should be vaccinated again after a year. From then on, your cat will need regular booster shots, but how often he will need these booster shots depends on state regulations and the type of vaccination used.

Your veterinarian can determine the best vaccination routine for your cat. Usually, this routine will be one booster shot every year or every three years.

For other vaccine references, WebMD’s Fetch offers a helpful vaccine schedule chart that displays which vaccines your pet should receive and when.

vet giving kitten vaccine
Image Credit: Ilike, Shutterstock

How Important Is the Rabies Shot for My Cat?

The rabies vaccine could be the difference between life and death for your cat.

Rabies is fatal for cats. If your cat contracts rabies, there is no cure or treatment to manage the condition. That is why it is so important that you vaccinate your cat against rabies. The only way to keep your pet safe is to use shots as preventative measures. If your cat is not yet vaccinated, reach out to your vet as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.

Does My Indoor Cat Need the Rabies Shot?

But, my cat is an indoor cat, you may be thinking. Does my indoor cat need to be vaccinated if he never goes outside? The answer is still yes. Whether your cat is an indoor cat, an outdoor cat, or somewhere in between, he needs to be vaccinated against rabies.

cat getting a shot from a vet
Image Credit: Kachalkina Veronika, Shutterstock

cat + line divider

Rabies in Cats

As we have established, rabies is a very troubling condition in cats. But what exactly does it look like?

It is often spread from a bite of an infected animal. Rabies attacks nervous tissue and spreads to the brain. Once it has reached the brain, the afflicted animal will suffer from paralysis that eventually affects the respiratory system resulting in death.


The earliest signs of rabies can begin to appear 2 to 4 days after infection transmission, usually from a bite wound. These symptoms include fever, lethargy, and decreased appetite. After that, complications progress rapidly. This includes issues such as paralysis, seizures, difficulty breathing, drooling, difficulty swallowing, coma, aggression, or depression. Cats may hallucinate and become aggressive.

cat drooling
Image Credit: Ling_Chen, Shutterstock


Rabies is transmitted most commonly through a bite. This is because the virus is found in the infected animal’s saliva. Because of this, there are instances in which a cat may become infected if the infected saliva makes contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth, even without a bite occurring.


There is no way to treat rabies in cats. Vaccines may prevent rabies, but they cannot treat it after an infection has occurred. Euthanasia is usually recommended in these instances to avoid unnecessary suffering.

3 cat divider

What If My Cat has been Exposed?

If you believe your cat has been exposed to rabies, take them to the vet immediately. Revaccination may be offered as an additional preventative measure.

nebelung cat in vet clinic
Image Credit: Juice Flair, Shutterstock

cat paw divider


The rabies vaccine is a crucial step to ensuring your cat’s health and safety. While one cat’s vaccination plan may differ from another’s, the important part is consistency and responsibility. If your cat has already been vaccinated, review your schedule with your vet. If your cat does not yet have a vaccination, schedule one as soon as possible.

thematic break

Featured Image Credit: Tom Wang, Shutterstock