Vaccination of cats is an important part of maintaining their health. Proper cat vaccinations, including cat distemper and cat flu vaccines, are recommended annually to protect cats from serious diseases. Cats can be exposed to infection from other animals both outdoors and indoors, and vaccination is therefore essential for their protection.

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Written by our vet

What vaccines does the cat need?

When it comes to vaccination of cats, needs vary from cat to cat. A standard basic vaccination program usually protects against feline distemper and cat flu, which is recommended for all cats.

There may be situations where your cat needs extra protection and additional vaccinations. For example, the area where you live and your cat's activities can play a role. If the cat has a lot of contact with other cats in places such as animal boarding houses or exhibitions, vaccination against feline chlamydia can be beneficial. For trips abroad, a rabies vaccine is also required.

Feline plague

Feline distemper is a serious and contagious disease among cats in Norway, caused by the parvovirus feline panleukopenia virus. It can be fatal, especially for kittens. Symptoms of feline distemper include vomiting, diarrhea, fever and lethargy. The virus is mainly spread through droplet transmission or faeces, and can be transmitted via surfaces or clothing, making it challenging to get rid of if it enters the home.

Even indoor cats can be at risk of becoming infected, as the virus can be transmitted via shoes, clothes or other objects. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent feline distemper. If the cat is already infected, it is important to treat it quickly, and the diagnosis is made by stool sample and rapid test.

Cat flu

Cat flu refers to a respiratory infection caused by various viruses and bacteria, and most often the viruses rhinotracheitis and calicivirus are behind the infection. Common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose and eyes, as well as fever. Infection can occur through contact with other cats, but the viruses can also survive for a short period without a host and spread via contaminated objects or through the air.


Feline chlamydia, caused by the bacterium Chlamydia felis, is common among cats and can lead to upper respiratory infections. The infection is usually transmitted through direct contact, usually seen in cats in close environments such as animal boarding facilities or multi-cat households. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, eye infections and coughing, with potential progression to pneumonia in severe cases.


Fortunately, rabies is a rare viral disease in Norway and is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, with the possibility of infection to humans. Although it is not usual to vaccinate Norwegian cats against rabies as part of the basic vaccination, it is necessary when traveling abroad, and the vaccine must be given no later than 21 days before departure.

A vet dressed in white tending to a dark striped cat.

When should the cat be vaccinated?

We recommend vaccination at 12 weeks of age, for both cats and dogs. Until then, the animals are protected by the mother's antibodies which are transferred via the mother's milk. Here at A-Vet, we recommend that both dogs and cats receive basic vaccinations 2 times, 4 weeks apart. It is important that there is not too much time between vaccines, as this will not provide a good enough immune system.

If the cat is over six months old, it is vaccinated with 1 basic vaccine. Cats that have been basic vaccinated are then vaccinated annually against cat flu. The vaccine against feline plague is given every three years. It is important that the cat is healthy when it is vaccinated, and we recommend that both dogs and cats are treated with worming before vaccination.

Side effects of cat vaccination

Most cats usually experience few side effects in connection with vaccination, but it happens that the cat can become a little extra tired and lethargic for a couple of days after receiving the vaccine. Some also experience a mild reaction in the form of swelling and tenderness around the injection site or a slight fever.

Serious reactions are rare and may appear in the form of breathing problems, vomiting and diarrhea or collapse. These symptoms then typically appear within a short time after vaccination and therefore it may be wise to keep an extra close eye on the cat for half an hour after vaccination. Contact the veterinary clinic immediately if it shows signs of becoming unwell.

Price vaccination cat

Contact us if you have any questions in connection with the vaccination of your dog or cat. You will find an overview of our vaccine prices here. At A-Vet, every 4th vaccination for dogs and cats is free provided that our vaccination program is followed annually.

Symptoms in cats

A black and white cat with green eyes looking at the camera.