How Much Is A 4 In 1 Vaccine For Cats?

What is a 4 in 1 vaccine for cats?

A 4 in 1 vaccine for cats provides immunization against 4 core feline diseases in a single injection. The 4 components of a 4 in 1 vaccine typically include:

  • Feline panleukopenia virus
  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis
  • Feline calicivirus
  • Feline leukemia virus

Feline panleukopenia is a highly contagious and often fatal disease that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting, and a dangerously low white blood cell count. Feline viral rhinotracheitis leads to upper respiratory infection with symptoms like sneezing, eye discharge, and fever. Calicivirus produces oral ulcers and upper respiratory illness. Feline leukemia weakens the immune system and increases susceptibility to other diseases and cancers. Vaccinating kittens with a 4 in 1 vaccine provides early protection against these common but potentially serious feline illnesses.


Why do cats need vaccines?

Vaccines help prevent cats from getting sick with infectious diseases caused by viruses and bacteria (1). They work by exposing the cat’s immune system to weakened or killed forms of disease-causing agents, allowing the body to build antibodies and develop immunity without getting sick. Vaccinating cats is important because it protects both individual cats and the general cat population against contagious and potentially fatal illnesses like panleukopenia, calicivirus, herpesvirus, and rabies.

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, vaccines represent one of the greatest achievements in preventive medicine for cats (1). Unvaccinated cats are at risk of contracting deadly diseases that vaccines can prevent. Even indoor cats can be exposed to viruses through contact with outdoor/stray cats or carried on people’s clothing and shoes. Vaccinating all cats, whether indoor or outdoor, is key to providing herd immunity and preventing outbreaks of infectious diseases in the feline community.

While no vaccine is 100% effective, properly vaccinating cats gives them important protection by priming their immune system to mount a stronger response if exposed to a disease in the future. This can reduce disease severity, duration, and transmission. So vaccines are a critical part of responsible cat ownership and keeping cats healthy.

When should kittens receive their first 4 in 1 vaccine?

Kittens should receive their first round of 4 in 1 vaccines around 6-8 weeks of age according to veterinary recommendations. The 4 in 1 vaccine protects against four common feline diseases: rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and chlamydia. Kittens need a series of vaccine boosters because they receive maternal antibodies from their mother’s milk that provide early protection, but these antibodies fade over time. Vaccinating kittens starting at 6-8 weeks helps ensure they develop their own long-lasting immunity as the maternal antibodies decline.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, “Immunizations are started at 6-8 weeks of age and are repeated every 3-4 weeks until the kitten is 4 months old.”

The American Association of Feline Practitioners also recommends the first 4 in 1 vaccine at 6-8 weeks, with boosters every 2-4 weeks until 16-20 weeks of age. Getting the initial series of kitten vaccines on schedule provides the best protection according to veterinary guidelines.

How often do 4 in 1 vaccines need to be boosted?

Kittens need an initial series of vaccines starting as early as 6-8 weeks old. Typically the 4-in-1 vaccine is given every 2-4 weeks until the kitten is 16 weeks old. After the initial kitten series is completed, adult cats need to receive 4-in-1 vaccine boosters regularly.

There are different recommendations on booster frequency from yearly to every three years. Some vets recommend an annual booster while others stretch it to every three years after the initial kitten series is completed. According to IAMS, an annual booster is often recommended because duration of immunity varies between individual pets. More frequent boosters ensure continued protection against disease.

According to Hastings Veterinary Hospital, cats who received their last FVRCP booster at <1 year old should receive annual boosters. Cats boosted between 1-2 years old can go every 2 years, and cats over 2 years old at last booster can go every 3 years. This schedule balances effectiveness with over-vaccination.

Pet owners should discuss an appropriate booster schedule with their vet based on the specific vaccines used, the cat’s lifestyle and risk factors. Annual exams allow evaluation of antibody levels to determine if an earlier booster is needed. Following vet recommendations provides the best protection.

What are the risks and side effects?

Like any vaccine or medication, the 4 in 1 vaccine does carry some risks of side effects. According to the Cornell Feline Health Center (, the most serious potential risk is a tumor called a feline injection site sarcoma. However, this risk is quite low at only 1 to 2 cats per 10,000 vaccinated.

More common side effects are usually mild and temporary, resolving within 24-48 hours. These can include (

  • Low grade fever
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling and redness around the injection site

In most cases, these mild vaccine reactions are normal and not a cause for alarm. However, if side effects persist more than 48 hours or seem severe, it’s best to contact your veterinarian.

How much does a 4 in 1 vaccine cost?

The cost of a 4 in 1 vaccine for cats can vary depending on your location, the veterinarian, and other factors. However, on average you can expect to pay between $20-$45 per dose according to veterinary sources.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association’s latest guidelines, kittens should receive a series of three FVRCP (feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia) vaccines at around 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, and 14-16 weeks old. The 4 in 1 vaccine includes FVRCP plus feline leukemia virus protection.

Pet insurance company Trupanion reports average costs of $21 per FVRCP vaccine and $28 for the feline leukemia vaccine. Adding these together, a 4 in 1 vaccine would cost approximately $49 from a veterinary clinic.

Vet pricing site PetCareRx lists the Nobivac Feline 4-in-1 vaccine at $20.99 per dose when purchased online. The typical series would cost $62.97 total.

Overall, budgeting $60-75 total for a full kitten 4 in 1 vaccine series from a licensed vet is a safe estimate. Reduced cost and free vaccine clinics may also be available in your area to help make routine vet care more affordable.

What options are there for low-cost vaccines?

There are several options cat owners can explore to get low-cost 4-in-1 vaccines for their cats:

Many animal shelters and humane societies offer low-cost vaccine clinics, often on set days or weekends each month. These clinics provide core vaccines like the 4-in-1 for a reduced price, which could range from $15-$50 depending on the vaccine and location. Some examples include the Las Vegas Animal Foundation and Vetco clinics held at Petco stores.

Veterinary schools affiliated with universities may offer low-cost vaccine clinics as well, as this provides veterinary students with valuable hands-on experience. The costs are lower because the students are still training under the supervision of licensed vets. The schools often hold scheduled low-cost vaccination days.

Many non-profit pet organizations and charities also offer periodic free or low-cost vaccination events in different communities. Pet owners can look up their local options online or check with animal rescue groups and pet food banks.

There are also online resources like GoodRx that aggregate information on free and low-cost vaccine options across different states.

Are there any exemptions for the 4 in 1 vaccine?

There are a few limited scenarios where a cat may be exempt from receiving the 4 in 1 vaccine on the standard schedule.

If a cat has a history of severe vaccine reactions, a veterinarian may grant a medical exemption. However, this is relatively rare, as most cats tolerate the 4 in 1 vaccine without issues. A veterinarian will consider the risks and benefits before granting a medical exemption.

Some states allow rabies vaccine exemptions if a cat has a positive rabies titer test showing sufficient immunity. However, routine titer testing is not recommended, as the rabies component of the 4 in 1 vaccine provides long-lasting immunity for most cats. Titer testing adds expense without clear benefit in most cases.

Overall, exemptions should be granted judiciously, as the 4 in 1 vaccine provides important protection against serious feline diseases. Work closely with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your cat receiving any component of the 4 in 1 vaccine series.

How can I make my cat’s vaccine visit less stressful?

Going to the vet can be a stressful experience for many cats. Here are some tips to help make your cat’s vaccine visit less anxiety-inducing:

Stay calm yourself. Cats can sense when their owners are worried or stressed, which will in turn make them more anxious. Talk to your cat in a soothing, relaxed voice and avoid panicking.

Familiarize your cat with their carrier ahead of time. Leave it out so they can explore it, and occasionally place treats inside so they associate it with something positive.

Consider pheromone sprays like Feliway that can help calm cats when sprayed in the carrier.

Bring familiar items from home like toys or blankets with your cat’s scent.

Request the first appointment of the day so you don’t have to wait long and your cat doesn’t have to sit in an unfamiliar environment.

Ask your vet about anti-anxiety medication if your cat has extreme fear of the vet.

Give your cat praise and treats during the visit so they have positive associations.

When you return home, give your cat space to destress and recover from the experience.

With preparation and patience, you can make vaccine visits easier for your feline friend.

Key takeaways on the 4 in 1 vaccine

The 4 in 1 vaccine is one of the core vaccines that all kittens and cats should receive. It protects against four major feline diseases – panleukopenia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis, and chlamydia. Timely vaccination is essential to protect your cat’s health and can prevent outbreaks of dangerous contagious diseases. Kittens should receive their first 4 in 1 vaccine between 6-8 weeks old, with a booster 3-4 weeks later, and then another booster 1 year later. Adult cats need the 4 in 1 vaccine boostered every 1-3 years, depending on risk factors. While vaccines are very safe, mild side effects like lethargy or fever are possible. The average cost for the 4 in 1 vaccine falls between $15-$30. Look into low-cost vaccine clinics to help make this core vaccine affordable for your cat. Following the 4 in 1 vaccination schedule is one of the most important things you can do as a cat owner to keep your pet healthy and safe from preventable diseases.

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