Want to start a new post? Go to the Cat Forum front and scroll down to the “Start new thread” button.

Cat Forum

Rabies Vaccines for Indoor Cats (5 replies)

Karen Doll
7 months ago
Karen Doll 7 months ago

I'm just curious. We have 3 indoor cats and we have them vaccinated against rabies every year — I know many cat owners who do not. They argue that their cats are indoor-only cats and there is not need.

First of all, there is a need — indoor cats escape, and our cats are living proof. We've always been able to catch them, but some may not be so lucky.

Second, there is a state law here in PA that all cats receive a yearly rabies vaccine. We are surrounded by woods and have many raccoons, possums, foxes and skunks who are some of the most likely predators to carry rabies.

Just in case we don't catch our escapees quickly, I feel better knowing that they are protected. So, I'm wondering, if you have indoor cats, do you regularly vaccinate your felines against rabies?  

Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD
7 months ago

This is an important topic! As a veterinarian, I run into problems with indoor cat owners who don't vaccinate their indoor cats for Rabies. Pennsylvania had a terrible problem with raccoon Rabies when I was a vet student at UPenn. All students had to be vaccinated.

First, make SURE your cat received the Rabies Purevax.  Less of a chance of a vaccine-induced sarcoma with that vaccine.

Why the need for indoor cats to get vaccinated?  You are right they might escape. Also, bats get into homes and are killed by cats!  If your cat is not vaccinated, this is a serious problem indeed.

Lastly, different states have different Rabies laws and quarantines but if your indoor cat bites a person and is not vaccinated against Rabies, it could pose another headache and a quarantine.

Thanks for taking care of your kitties!

Karen Doll
7 months ago
Karen Doll 7 months ago

Thanks, Dr. Deb 🙂 

Good point about an indoor cat biting a guest. And, we do have a lot of bats flying around our backyard from dusk on.

I didn't know about the Rabies Purevax. Thanks. One of our cats already had her vaccine, but two of our cats are due for their shots in September--I'm going to look into that. 

As a dog owner in the past, I also know that not everyone gets their dog vaccinated against rabies and with dogs being out and about, that's just dangerous for everyone who comes into contact with that dog. As a vet, I'm sure you face similar situations. It's really hard to educate people who think they know best. 

My guess is that folks just don't realize the dangers. I always try to tactfully share the potential dangers, but I can't make people do the right thing.

What's nice to see are the long lines at our local Pet Supplies Plus on Sundays when they offer vaccination clinics--LOTS of good people taking great care of their beloved pets!! 

Melissa Smith
7 months ago
Melissa Smith 7 months ago

My cat is strictly indoor and I always get his rabies vac done. What if he got out? He would be totally unprotected. Rabies is so dangerous but so preventable!!

Karen Doll
4 months ago
Karen Doll 4 months ago

Reason 101 why strictly indoor cats NEED a yearly rabies vaccine...

This morning after checking my email, I went into my bedroom to open the blinds and make the bed and check for a Mr. White spotting (Mr. White is a stray that we caught about two weeks ago, had neutered, and released back into our neighborhood and haven't seen recently). I'd seen him earlier this morning relaxing in his front yard next to us.

So, as I looked out my window, what do I see? A new, calico cat I've never seen before. Then, a quick double take revealed said cat to be MY indoor cat, Kitty Leigh. Several feet behind her was MY indoor cat, Bean, and both were inching their way toward our neighbor's arbivitae hedge. Could it be that after I filled my bird feeders and came in through the basement door earlier, I failed to make sure the door knob clicked all the way closed?

I raced down to the basement, and sure enough the door was wide open. I went out onto the patio as both disappeared into the hedge. UGH!!!

Of course my husband and son were long gone. So, I ran upstairs, slipped on shoes, grabbed the bag of cat treats and my jacket and headed back through the basement to the patio. When I opened the back door, Kitty raced inside. Phew! One down...

I stood on the patio and shook the bag of cat treats and called to Bean. Thankfully, he knows his name and 99% comes to me when I call him. Even though it took him a good minute, he popped through the hedge and raced over and inside.

I gave them each a quick inspection for ticks and fleas, but didn't see any. Thank goodness. I gave them each a couple cat treats and all is well once again. 

This is proof that EVERY indoor only cat needs a yearly rabies vaccine. Even though our cats have gotten out maybe about a handful of times over the years, accidents do happen.

Melissa Smith
4 months ago
Melissa Smith 4 months ago

Accidents definitely do happen - I see it all the time. I'm part of several local missing pets groups for my area on Facebook, and quite literally almost daily there is a frantic pet parent searching for their lost indoor cat. They sneak out when we're not looking, and if they run into an animal that is infected with rabies, it's a death sentence if they haven't had their vaccination.

Notify Petful

If you see spam, harassment or other community guidelines violations, let us know.