Feline Frenzy. The Cat Breeds Most Prone to Vaccine Reactions


Vaccine reactions in cats are rare but can occur. Some breeds may be more prone to reactions than others. Reactions can range from mild (lethargy, reduced appetite, swollen lymph nodes) to severe (hives, facial swelling, respiratory distress, vomiting). According to Valli 2015, the overall vaccine reaction rate in cats is around 51 reactions per 10,000 vaccinated cats.


Siamese cats tend to have higher rates of vaccine reactions compared to other breeds. Some studies have found Siamese cats are four times more likely to experience vaccine reactions than other breeds. The reasons behind this are not fully understood, but likely relate to genetics.

Common vaccine reaction symptoms in Siamese cats include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite. These symptoms usually start within hours after vaccination and last 1-2 days. More severe reactions like facial swelling may also occur in rare cases.

If your Siamese cat experiences a vaccine reaction, call your veterinarian. They may recommend delaying future vaccines, pre-treating with antihistamines, or using single antigen vaccines spaced out over time. While Siamese cats are predisposed to vaccine reactions, the benefits of core vaccines still generally outweigh the risks.

Ragdoll is a cat breed that is known for its laidback temperament and silky semi-long fur. Ragdolls have striking blue eyes and pointed coloration. They are one of the larger cat breeds, with males weighing up to 20 pounds. While Ragdolls make wonderful, affectionate pets, there are some important health considerations for the breed.


One of the potential issues with Ragdoll cats is that they can be more susceptible to vaccine reactions compared to other breeds. According to the Ragdoll breeding website Aspen Ragdolls, it’s important to watch for reactions after vaccinations which can include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea [1]. Another Ragdoll owner reported their vet warning that Ragdolls can have severe, even fatal, reactions to rabies vaccines [2].

If a Ragdoll kitten or cat has any concerning symptoms after receiving vaccines, it’s imperative to seek veterinary care immediately. With prompt treatment, most cats recover well. To reduce the risks, some vets may recommend spacing out vaccines more than the standard schedule or avoiding certain vaccines altogether if the cat has reacted previously. Owners should discuss options with their vet and closely monitor for any reactions after vaccinations. Staying vigilant about potential vaccine reactions can help keep Ragdoll cats healthy and safe.


The Balinese cat breed is one of the breeds that is prone to developing vaccine reactions. While most cats only experience mild vaccine reactions like lethargy or decreased appetite, Balinese cats are more likely to have severe reactions (source). The Balinese breed originated from Siamese cats and shares many of the same traits, including being predisposed to adverse vaccine reactions.

According to veterinary research, Balinese cats can develop severe vaccine reactions including facial swelling, hives, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and collapse (source). These reactions typically occur within hours after vaccination and require immediate veterinary treatment. While the exact reason is unknown, vets suspect Balinese cats may have a genetic sensitivity that causes their immune system to overreact to vaccine ingredients. To prevent adverse reactions, Balinese cat owners should discuss a special vaccine schedule and protocol with their veterinarian.


Burmese cats are prone to vaccine reactions and allergies. According to AHCFargo.com Burmese – Breed Info, Burmese cats are susceptible to reactions and infections from vaccines like panleukopenia, calicivirus, and rhinotracheitis. On Reddit, a user asked if other Burmese cat owners had cats with allergies, noting the breed is often listed as hypoallergenic but their Russian Blue was allergic Anybody have one who is normally allergic to cats? I’ve …. While considered hypoallergenic, Burmese may still have allergic reactions to components of vaccines.


The Abyssinian breed has a higher tendency for adverse reactions to vaccines compared to other breeds. According to a veterinarian from Point Vicente Veterinary Hospital, Abyssinians are susceptible to side effects of common feline vaccines like panleukopenia, calicivirus, and rhinotracheitis.

Some possible adverse reactions in Abyssinians include vomiting, swelling or pain at the injection site, fever, lethargy, and facial swelling. These signs typically appear within hours or days of vaccination and resolve within a few days with supportive care. Owners of Abyssinians should monitor their cat closely post-vaccination and contact their veterinarian if concerning symptoms develop.

Russian Blue

The Russian Blue is known for being sensitive to vaccines. According to Feline, Russian Blues are susceptible to viral infections even after vaccination. Some owners have reported vaccine reactions such as lethargy, swelling at the injection site, and fever after routine vaccinations.

To reduce the risk of vaccine reactions, some precautions can be taken. Only core vaccines may be necessary, spaced out over longer intervals. Vaccines can also be administered one at a time instead of in combination. Russians should receive the FPV and rabies vaccines first, followed by Fel-O-Vax PCT and Fel-O-Guard Plus several weeks later. Reactions can be minimized by requesting non-adjuvanted vaccines. Close monitoring after vaccination is also advised.

While Russian Blues can be sensitive to vaccines, with proper precautions and veterinary guidance, severe reactions can often be avoided. Their long lifespan of 13-20 years is certainly attainable with diligent care and minimal vaccines based on titer testing rather than automatic revaccination. Overall the benefits of core vaccines still generally outweigh the small risk of reaction in this breed.


Bengal cats are known for having high rates of adverse reactions to vaccines compared to other breeds. According to Bengal Cats & Vaccines | Florida, “A few pets may experience mild lethargy, soreness and slight fever. They may also develop a lump at the site of vaccination.” The Bengal breed is particularly sensitive and prone to vaccine reactions.

Another source notes the precautions to take when vaccinating Bengals: “The first factor is whether we have any cats in our house with cold symptoms: watery eyes and sneezing. If so, we need to be very cautious. The second factor is the type of vaccine.” (Simplifying your Bengal’s Vaccines).

Specifically, The truth about Starkittie Bengals notes “Bengal cats should NEVER get a modified live vaccine, it should be a modified killed vaccine, or they can get sick.” The Bengal breed’s sensitivity means owners and vets should take care in choosing vaccine types to avoid adverse reactions.

Maine Coon

The Maine Coon is one of the largest domesticated cat breeds, with males often weighing over 15 pounds. Their large size increases the risk for vaccine reactions compared to smaller cats (VieraVet – Maine Coon). The increased muscle mass provides more area for vaccine material to be deposited, while the larger volume of vaccine needed to immunize a Maine Coon also increases the antigenic challenge to the immune system.

Larger injection volumes and needle sizes associated with vaccinating bigger cats also lead to increased inflammation. Maine Coons may experience more pronounced and longer-lasting vaccine site swelling, soreness, and pain compared to a smaller cat receiving the same vaccine. Their owners should monitor the injection site and speak to a veterinarian if reactions seem excessive or long-lasting.


The Sphynx cat breed is known for its hairless appearance. Due to their lack of fur, Sphynx cats can be more sensitive to vaccines than other breeds. According to one cat owner on a Sphynx forum, their cat had a terrible reaction to the leukemia vaccine and developed a sore for months (source). Sphynx cats have fewer natural defenses against immune reactions, so vets recommend reduced vaccine schedules for this breed.

On Reddit, a Sphynx owner asks about vaccine recommendations since their breeder did not provide any records. A respondent notes that Sphynx cats are more susceptible to side effects and it’s best to find a vet familiar with the breed (source). With their sensitive immune systems, Sphynx cats require careful consideration of necessary vaccines and dosage schedules.

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