VCA Animal Hospitals

Feline Rabies Vaccine

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Cats are the No. 1 domestic animal carrier of rabies in the United States. A bite from a wild animal is typically how a cat gets the virus –– and how that cat could then transmit it to a person. Once contracted, the disease is almost always fatal. Luckily, the rabies vaccine can protect your cat from this deadly disease.


Rabies is a dangerous virus that infects animals and humans worldwide. The virus is generally fatal in all species, and any warm-blooded animal can become infected. Foxes and skunks are implicated in many cases of exposure. Surprisingly, in the US, cats are more commonly involved in transmission of rabies to humans than dogs are.

Vaccine Characteristics

Rabies vaccination of cats is required in many states across the nation, due to the deadly characteristics of the virus and the risk to human populations. In states and municipalities where feline rabies vaccination is required, veterinarians must follow applicable statutes.

The rabies vaccine is considered a core vaccine for cats.


This vaccine is administered by injection.


Available rabies vaccines may protect against rabies only or may be combination formulations that protect against other feline viruses like panleukopenia and rhinotracheitis.

While your veterinarian is always the best guide for making vaccination decisions, according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ 2006 vaccination guidelines, the feline rabies vaccine is recommended according to the following schedule:

  • Kittens receive a single dose as early as 8 or 12 weeks of age, depending on the product label.
  • Administer two doses, 12 months apart for adults receiving vaccination for the first time, or for kittens older than 16 weeks of age at the time of initial vaccination.
  • A booster is required annually or every three years, depending on the product label and state or local ordinance.


Administering a vaccine is a medical procedure, and there are times when a vaccine may not be recommended. For example, your veterinarian may advise against vaccinating an animal that is currently sick, pregnant, or may not have adequate immune system functioning to respond to a vaccination. For pets with a previous history of vaccine reactions, the potential risk of a future vaccine reaction should be weighed against the potential benefits of vaccination. These and other issues are evaluated when deciding what is best for your pet.


There is no known alternative to rabies vaccination.

A test to determine antibody levels (so-called “vaccine titers”) is available for rabies. Though not 100 percent indicative of a pet’s overall state of immunity against rabies, this test is sometimes used for regulatory purposes.


American Association of Feline Practitioners’ vaccination guidelines

This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.