How Much Do Cat Vaccinations Cost at PetSmart? A Breakdown of Feline Vet Bills


Getting regular vaccinations is crucial for cats to stay healthy and prevent infectious diseases. Vaccines work by exposing cats to harmless versions of viruses and bacteria so their immune system can build antibodies to fight the real thing. Core vaccines for cats include rabies, distemper, and upper respiratory vaccines. These protect against deadly and highly contagious diseases like rabies, feline distemper, feline leukemia virus, and upper respiratory infections. Even indoor cats need core vaccines since diseases can spread rapidly between pets. Non-core vaccines may also be recommended based on lifestyle and risk factors. While no vaccine is 100% effective, regular vaccinations give cats the best chance at preventing illness and staying protected. This article will cover the main vaccines cats should get, additional services, costs, and tips for affording shots.

Rabies Vaccine

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that is spread through infected saliva and bite wounds. While most mammals can become infected with rabies, domestic cats are one of the most commonly infected pets. According to the CDC, rabies kills over 55,000 people worldwide each year, with most cases in Africa and Asia. While deaths from rabies in cats and humans are rare in the US, it is still crucial for cats to be vaccinated against this dangerous disease to protect both animal and public health (

The rabies vaccine is considered a core vaccine for cats by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Kittens should receive their first rabies vaccine at 12-16 weeks of age, with a booster 1 year later. Afterward, the AAHA recommends cats receive a rabies booster every 3 years throughout their adult life (

At PetSmart, the cost for the rabies vaccine is $19.99. This covers just the vaccine itself and not additional services or exam fees. However, PetSmart frequently offers promotions that bundle the rabies vaccine with other core vaccines for cats at discounted pricing.

Distemper Vaccine

Distemper, also known as feline panleukopenia virus, is a highly contagious viral disease that attacks the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow of cats [1]. It is often fatal in kittens and unvaccinated cats. The distemper vaccine provides protection against this disease.

The distemper vaccine is considered a core vaccine and is recommended for all kittens and cats. Kittens should receive a series of three distemper vaccines, with the initial dose given as early as 6-8 weeks old, and then follow-up doses every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks old [1]. Adult cats need a distemper booster one year after the initial vaccine series is complete, and then every three years thereafter.

At PetSmart, the distemper vaccine is included in their vaccination packages. The Indoor Package, which includes rabies, distemper (FVRCP), and deworming, costs $99. The Outdoor Package, which adds feline leukemia to the Indoor Package, costs $139 [2].

Leukemia Vaccine

The feline leukemia vaccine helps protect cats from feline leukemia virus (FeLV), which weakens the immune system and can lead to anemia, cancer, and death. FeLV spreads through saliva, shared food bowls, and from mother to kittens. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) recommends all kittens get the leukemia vaccine as part of their kitten vaccine series, with a booster one year later. After that, whether to continue leukemia vaccines depends on the cat’s risk level (Source).

At Petsmart, the FeLV vaccine costs around $25-35 when administered alone. It is often included in the “core” vaccine package for kittens, which covers distemper, upper respiratory infections, and leukemia for around $99 total. For adult cats, Petsmart charges $45 for just the leukemia booster shot. Petsmart offers affordable leukemia vaccines to help protect cats from this potentially fatal virus (Source).

Other Core Vaccines

In addition to rabies, distemper, and leukemia, there are some other core vaccines that are recommended for most cats:

  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVRCP) – Protects against feline herpesvirus-1, calicivirus, and panleukopenia virus. This 3-in-1 vaccine is considered core and is included in PetSmart’s vaccine packages. Cost is bundled into the package prices mentioned earlier.
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) – Protects against the feline coronavirus that causes FIP. This vaccine is controversial and not always recommended, but some vets may advise it for higher risk cats. PetSmart does not offer the FIP vaccine.

According to PetSmart’s vaccine overview, the FVRCP vaccine is included in their basic vaccine packages. So while an FIP vaccine would be an additional cost at a vet’s office, the core FVRCP vaccine is already accounted for in Petsmart’s bundled pricing.

Non-Core Vaccines

Non-core vaccines are optional extras that cats may receive depending on their lifestyle and risk factors. These include vaccines for feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), ringworm, chlamydia, bordetella and giardia.

The most common non-core vaccine given is the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) vaccine. FeLV is a contagious retrovirus that suppresses the immune system, leading to various secondary infections and diseases. It is spread through close contact between cats, especially through saliva. Outdoor cats or cats in multi-cat households are at higher risk of exposure.

At Petsmart, the feline leukemia vaccine is included in the “Outdoor” package for $139. This is a savings over getting the vaccine separately, which costs around $27.

Other non-core vaccines like FIP and ringworm cost extra. FIP vaccines cost approximately $38 while the ringworm vaccine is around $23 at Petsmart. These optional vaccines may be recommended for cats facing higher risk factors.

In general, the core vaccines are considered the most essential for all cats. Non-core vaccines are add-ons based on your cat’s lifestyle and potential exposures. Discuss options with your vet to determine which non-core vaccines may be appropriate.

Additional Services

In addition to vaccines, PetSmart veterinary clinics offer other services like microchipping and nail trims. According to information on the PetSmart website, these additional services and their costs include:

Microchipping – $49.99 per pet. This includes the microchip implant and registration in a pet recovery database.

Nail trim – $12 per pet. This provides a nail trim for cats and dogs.

Anal gland expression – $18 per pet. This relieves anal gland impaction for dogs and cats.

Ear cleaning – $18 per pet. This provides an ear flush for dogs and cats.

These additional services and costs can provide convenience for pet owners to get routine care done while their pet is already at PetSmart for vaccinations. The costs are in line with average prices charged by veterinarians for these services. Pet owners can inquire with the specific PetSmart location to confirm pricing.

Saving on Vaccines

There are a few ways pet owners can save money on vaccines for their cats at Petsmart:

Preventative care packages – Many vets and clinics like Petsmart offer preventative care packages or wellness plans that bundle routine vaccines together at a discounted rate. This allows pet owners to save 20-30% on vaccines and other routine care like exams, heartworm testing, and flea/tick medication.

Wellness plans – Petsmart provides wellness plans through their Banfield Pet Hospital that offer discounted office visits, vaccines, lab work, dental cleanings, and more for a monthly fee. These plans can reduce the cost of vaccines and care over time.

Tips to save – Pet owners can also use coupons and look for vaccine clinics or low-cost vet services to find cheaper vaccine rates. Buying vaccines in bulk or splitting doses between pets can also reduce costs. Shopping around and asking about package discounts can help owners spend less on critical vaccines.

While vaccines may seem expensive, they protect pets from harmful and potentially fatal diseases. Preventative care packages, wellness plans, and shopping around can help reduce the costs without skipping out on these important inoculations.

Choosing a Vet

Choosing the right veterinarian is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your cat’s health and wellbeing. Regular vet examinations help catch problems early, provide preventative care, and establish a relationship in case of emergencies. When searching for a vet, the AVMA recommends considering factors like office hours, how you’re treated, payment plans, and qualifications.

Look for a vet that is licensed and was awarded a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM or VMD) from an accredited veterinary college. Board certification indicates a higher level of training and expertise in a specialty. The vet should be experienced in providing care for cats. Look at online reviews and ask for referrals from cat owners you know and trust. Meet with the vet to make sure your personalities mesh and you feel comfortable communicating.

Finding an affordable vet is also key. Estimated costs for basic annual cat exams range from $45-$55, but prices can vary dramatically. Petsmart offers routine vet services with exams starting around $40. Consider the total costs of vaccines, tests, medications, and procedures the cat may need. Ask about payment plans if needed. With research and planning, pet owners can find a qualified, caring vet within their budget.


As we’ve covered, there are a number of important core and non-core vaccines that can help protect your cat’s health. The rabies, distemper, and leukemia vaccines are considered core and recommended for all cats by veterinarians. Additional non-core vaccines may be recommended based on your cat’s risk factors and lifestyle.

While the cost of cat vaccinations can vary based on your geographic location, veterinarian, and other factors, most core vaccines range from $15-30 per dose. Non-core vaccines are usually around $15-25 per dose. There are opportunities to save on vaccines through veterinary clinics, shelters, and preventative care packages. But ultimately, protecting your cat through proper vaccination is priceless in terms of their health and longevity.

Routine vaccination plays a crucial role in preventing many dangerous and potentially fatal feline diseases. By staying up to date on all recommended vaccines, you can help ensure your cat lives a happy, healthy, and long life. Your veterinarian is your best resource for determining the optimal vaccination schedule for your individual cat based on age, breed, environment, and other considerations. With the proper vaccines and preventative care, your cherished feline companion will remain by your side for years to come.

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