In light of the conversations on vaccinations, here are a few thoughts on when NOT to vaccinate:
- Very young kittens. The mother cat's milk has antibodies in it so the young kitten has her immunities. Once the kitten is weaned, the antibodies fail. Depending on the kitten, the immunity from the mother can last 6-12 weeks. Vaccinating early during this time can be ineffective at best, and according so some researchers, can impair the immune system for the life of the animal. (The immune system is not fully developed until around 5-6 months.)
- Cats over 12 years old. Older cats have a decreased immune system. By forcing the immune system to deal with 3-4 major diseases (as most vaccines are combinations), can easily overwhelm the immune system and lead to major problems.
- When the cat is being spayed or neutered. The cat's immune system will work at preventing a bigger problem (infection) and may not adequately respond to the vaccine.
- After a cat has had a severe reaction to a vaccine. If the cat was vomiting and listless last year with the vaccine, it's really not going to better this year.
- If the cat is sick with say an URI or even UTI. Vaccines may be ineffective when a cat is sick because the immune system is already taxed to overcome the illness. Almost all vaccines say to vaccinate only healthy cats.
- Right after a cat has been sick. Yes, the cat is over the URI and shows no symptoms. This does not mean the immune system is back to normal. It takes 2-6 weeks for the immune system to return to normal, depending on the illness.
- When dealing with any immune system problems. Vaccines stimulate the immune system. If a cat has, for example, IBD or even severe allergies, both immune related disorders, the vaccines can trigger an increase in the immune-related problem.
- When the cat was vaccinated for it last year. Even the AVMA now recommends every 3 years on most vaccines. Some researchers have shown vaccines can easily last 8-10 years! So, subjecting a cat to repeated vaccines does nothing to strengthen immunity, but may instead lead to weakening and overwhelming the immune system.