New Feline Vaccination Guidelines Focus on Individual Risk-Benefit Assessment


The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) recently released the 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines to the veterinary community. The release provides updated recommendations and the most current information for feline vaccinations.

There is no single protocol for all cats

The updated guidelines stress the need for an expanded understanding by veterinary professionals of individualized feline risk factors to determine a proper preventive healthcare plan.  Vaccination plans should be tailored to each individual  patient and be guided by an individual risk–benefit assessment.

Risk is determined by the patient’s life stage, lifestyle, clinical history, and health status as well as environmental and epidemiologic risk factors.

Discuss your cat’s vaccination needs with your vet

In order to ensure that your cat is not getting unnecessary vaccines, it is important that each cat parent has a thorough discussion with their veterinarian.

I’m happy to see that with each iteration of these guidelines, more emphasis is placed on tailoring vaccination protocols to each individual cat rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

You can read the complete guidelines on the AAFP website. The guidelines are also published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

10 Comments on New Feline Vaccination Guidelines Focus on Individual Risk-Benefit Assessment

  1. Cheri Collins
    October 7, 2020 at 5:01 pm (3 weeks ago)

    I read years ago that cats, like humans, can be checked with a blood draw / lab work to see if their vaccinations are still effective. Most vets don’t offer this as an alternative to just giving another vaccination because of the cost. I’ve been taking cats to the same wonderful vet for years, and he never suggests any of my cats should be vaccinated again. So we don’t even have to discuss it.

  2. Louise K.
    October 5, 2020 at 10:36 pm (3 weeks ago)

    I wish the document would’ve warned NOT to vaccinate pregnant cats. I just fostered a litter where the mama cat was vaccinated before giving birth. 3 out of the 4 kittens had birth defects possibly from the vaccination. 1 was severe and had to be euthanized. I ended up adopting one of the kittens, a beautiful boy who has CH (cerebellum hypoplasia).

    • Ingrid
      October 6, 2020 at 5:02 am (3 weeks ago)

      I’m so sorry about your kittens, Louise.

  3. ellen beck
    October 5, 2020 at 9:52 pm (3 weeks ago)

    I am happy to see this! We actually have been using an ‘old timey’ vet who mostly had a large animal practice but is leap years ahead of the times. He has been saying this for 20 years or more. He is all for not over vaccinating strictly house pets. Our cats and dogs have all lived very long lives.

  4. Ann
    October 5, 2020 at 1:25 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Thank you for making these available to us. I had read about the risks of over-vaccination years ago, and my original vet agreed to just stick to the rabies vaccine for my indoor kitties who were older. When I moved a few hours away, the new vet wasn’t too thrilled about my request. But the 3 of them lived to 17 and 18 years old

  5. Cheryl Velker
    October 5, 2020 at 9:54 am (3 weeks ago)

    I’m glad to see this. Read information years ago how over-vaccination was the probable cause of many chronic disease issues in cats today, not prevalent in “the old days”. Protection lasts more than a year. Other than rabies, which is required by law, I chose to vaccinate every 4 years- A totally arbitrary number BTW, not a recommendation. Read up on it an talk to your vet as Ingrid suggests.

  6. Janine
    October 5, 2020 at 6:39 am (3 weeks ago)

    Thank you for this information.

  7. Barbara Wilde
    October 5, 2020 at 4:32 am (3 weeks ago)

    Unfortunately, none of the link on the vet page you furnished is functional for me.

    • Ingrid
      October 5, 2020 at 4:58 am (3 weeks ago)

      I’m sorry you’re having problems accessing the links. They all work for me. They’re all PDF files – perhaps there’s a problem with your device’s settings? Maybe try a different browser?

    • Delphine
      October 12, 2020 at 10:14 pm (2 weeks ago)

      Maybe you should check in your dowloaded files, the pdf documents are there .


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