Respiratory Vaccinations & Kittens

The only thing better than vaccinations for protecting your kitten is a glass bubble.

The only thing better than vaccinations for protecting your kitten is a glass bubble.

Cats of all ages are prone to getting upper respiratory infections, and these can sometimes make your pet very sick. They may even turn fatal if they turn into pneumonia. Protect Kitty by getting him regular vet checks and all of the required immunizations.


Kittens can fall victim to a variety of upper respiratory infections, some caused by bacteria and others by viruses. If your kitty gets one of these, he’ll often look and sound like he has a cold or the flu. Watch for runny eyes, a drippy nose, coughing and sneezing. He may also stop eating and lose some weight, seem droopy and run a fever. While your pet can often fight off an upper respiratory infection by himself, it’s best if you take him to the vet to make sure it doesn’t get worse.


If your kitten contracts an upper respiratory infection, chances are he’s caught one of the four most common kitty URI germs. Two of these are viruses: calicivirus and feline herpesvirus. Herpesvirus often goes by other names, including rhinotracheitis and feline viral rhinopneumonitis. The two most common bacterial upper respiratory infections your kitten might catch are chlamydia and bordetella. All of these diseases can be transmitted directly to your kitten by sick cats, especially if they cough or sneeze on him. He can also get any of these illnesses if he comes into contact with contaminated surfaces.


Your vet can recommend the best shots for your kitty based on what your cat is likely to encounter. Proper vaccinations can help him avoid catching the most common upper respiratory infections. Note that a vaccination may not always keep your kitten from contracting an upper respiratory infection, but it will help to minimize the effects of the disease if he ends up getting sick. You can also reduce the likelihood of illness in your kitten by making him an indoor kitty and by keeping him out of boarding kennels and similar crowded situations.


The two most common types of kitten vaccinations provide protection against upper respiratory infections. Your vet will normally recommend one or the other for your pet. An FVRCP injection gives immunity for feline viral rhinotracheitis (the feline herpesvirus), calicivirus and panleukopenia, also known as distemper. The RCCP shot covers rhinotracheitis -- another name for the feline herpesvirus -- chlamydia, calicivirus and panleukopenia. If your kitten needs the bordetella vaccine, he’ll get it separately. Make sure you take your kitty in for all the follow-up booster shots, since he may not be protected if he doesn’t get the full series.

About the Author

A recipient of a business and technology degree from the master's program at West Coast University, Cindy Quarters has been writing professionally since 1984. Past experience as a veterinary technician and plenty of time gardening round out her interests. Quarters has had work featured in Radiance Magazine and the AKC Gazette.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images