How Much Do Cat Shots Cost at PetSmart?

Before we dive into the costs, let’s understand why cat vaccinations are crucial. Vaccines protect your feline friends from various diseases, some of which can be fatal. They stimulate the immune system to fight future infections, ensuring your cat’s well-being. Vaccinations are not just important for outdoor cats; even indoor cats can benefit from them as some diseases are airborne or can be brought into the home by humans.

Cat Vaccinations at PetSmart

PetSmart, through their partnership with Banfield Pet Hospital, offers a range of pet health services, including cat vaccinations. The cost of these services can vary, depending on several factors like the type of vaccine, the location of the store, and the age and overall health of your cat.

Core Vaccines

Core vaccines are considered essential for all cats, irrespective of their lifestyle. These include:

  1. Rabies Vaccine: The rabies vaccine is a must-have, even for indoor cats. It not only protects your cat but also you and your family. The cost of a rabies vaccine at PetSmart typically ranges between $15 and $25.
  2. FVRCP Vaccine: The FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia) vaccine is also known as the “distemper” shot. This combination vaccine costs between $20 and $40 at PetSmart.

Non-core Vaccines

Non-core vaccines are given based on a cat’s exposure risk. They include:

  1. Feline Leukemia (FeLV) Vaccine: FeLV is a serious disease that can compromise a cat’s immune system. The vaccine cost ranges from $20 to $40.
  2. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) Vaccine: The FIV vaccine is generally recommended for cats at risk of exposure. The cost is usually between $25 and $45.

Remember, the overall cost may also include a vet exam fee, which usually falls between $40 and $50.

Yearly Cat Vaccinations

Annually, cats typically need boosters for the FVRCP and Rabies vaccines. These boosters are crucial to maintain their immunity against these diseases. Depending on the local laws and your veterinarian’s advice, the rabies vaccine might be administered every one to three years. Also, if your cat is at risk of exposure to Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), yearly vaccinations might be required.

Kitten Vaccination Schedule at PetSmart

Kittens have a unique vaccination schedule. Starting as early as six weeks old, kittens receive their initial FVRCP vaccination, followed by booster shots every three to four weeks until they reach 16 weeks old. A rabies vaccine is usually given at around 12 to 16 weeks of age. If your kitten is at risk of FeLV, vaccinations can begin from eight to twelve weeks of age, followed by a booster a month later.

Special Considerations for Cat Vaccinations

Remember, every cat is unique, and factors like their lifestyle, age, health status, and history can affect their vaccination needs. For instance, cats with compromised immune systems, elderly cats, or kittens might require special considerations. It’s essential to discuss these factors with the veterinarian at PetSmart to ensure your cat gets the appropriate vaccinations.

Potential Side Effects of Vaccinations

While vaccinations are generally safe, like any medical procedure, they can have potential side effects. Most cats experience mild symptoms, like a slight fever, lethargy, or loss of appetite. In some cases, cats may have an allergic reaction, causing symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If your cat shows any severe reaction post-vaccination, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary care.

Cost-Saving Tips for Cat Vaccinations

For those who are budget-conscious, PetSmart’s wellness plans can offer significant cost savings over time, especially for kittens that require multiple vaccinations within their first year. Also, keep an eye out for PetSmart’s low-cost vaccination clinics. These are usually held several times a year and can help you save on your cat’s essential healthcare.

Alternatives to PetSmart

If PetSmart isn’t accessible in your area, there are alternatives. Petco also offers veterinary services through their Vetco clinics, often at comparable prices. Additionally, some areas might have local animal shelters or non-profit organizations that host low-cost or even free vaccination clinics.

Importance of Regular Vet Exams

While vaccinations are crucial, they are only one aspect of your cat’s healthcare. Regular vet exams are equally important as they help in early detection of any potential health issues. These exams typically include an overall health assessment, dental check, and may also involve blood work or other tests, based on your cat’s age and health.


1. Do indoor cats need vaccines?

Yes, even indoor cats need vaccinations. While they may have lower exposure to infectious diseases compared to outdoor cats, some diseases are airborne, and others can be brought into the home by humans or other animals. Essential vaccines for indoor cats include the Rabies and FVRCP vaccines.

2. What vaccines do senior cats need?

Senior cats, like all adult cats, require booster shots for core vaccines like Rabies and FVRCP. The frequency of these shots depends on local laws and your vet’s advice. However, before administering vaccines, vets usually assess the overall health of senior cats as they can be more susceptible to certain conditions that may affect their ability to process vaccines.

3. Are there any risks associated with cat vaccinations?

While cat vaccinations are generally safe, they can sometimes cause side effects. These can range from mild, such as slight fever or lethargy, to severe, like an allergic reaction. If your cat shows any severe symptoms following a vaccine, seek immediate veterinary care.

4. Is it possible to over-vaccinate a cat?

Yes, over-vaccination can potentially occur if a cat receives more vaccines than needed. It’s crucial to follow a vaccination schedule recommended by a trusted vet to avoid unnecessary vaccines.

5. Can vaccines make my cat sick?

Vaccines expose the cat’s immune system to a small amount of the virus, enabling it to build immunity. In some cases, this can lead to mild symptoms like lethargy or a slight fever, which usually subside in a couple of days. However, vaccines themselves don’t cause the disease they’re designed to protect against.

6. Do I need to vaccinate my cat against Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)?

FeLV vaccination is considered a non-core vaccine, meaning it’s recommended based on the cat’s lifestyle and risk of exposure. If your cat spends time outdoors or interacts with other cats that might be carriers, FeLV vaccination could be beneficial.

7. Can I give my cat vaccines myself?

While it’s technically possible to administer some vaccines at home, it’s not recommended. Vaccinations should be given by a trained professional to ensure they are administered correctly and safely. Also, adverse reactions can occur, which requires immediate veterinary attention.

8. What to do if I can’t afford cat vaccinations?

If you’re struggling with the cost of cat vaccinations, look for low-cost vaccination clinics held by PetSmart or local animal shelters. Additionally, PetSmart’s wellness plans can provide a more cost-effective solution for maintaining your cat’s health.

9. What is the most crucial vaccination for cats?

All core vaccines, including Rabies and FVRCP, are considered crucial for cats. These vaccines protect cats from common fatal diseases, making them an essential part of your cat’s healthcare regimen.

10. Can vaccinations cause long-term health issues in cats?

While extremely rare, vaccines can potentially cause long-term health issues, such as injection site sarcomas in cats. However, the benefits of vaccinations in preventing severe, life-threatening diseases outweigh these potential risks. It’s crucial to discuss any concerns you may have with your vet.

11. Do kittens need different vaccines than adult cats?

Yes, kittens typically require a series of vaccinations starting from around six weeks of age, which protect against several diseases, including Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (FVRCP). Kittens also receive a rabies vaccine at around 12-16 weeks. In contrast, adult cats require booster vaccines less frequently, usually annually or every three years, depending on the vaccine.

12. How often should I take my cat to PetSmart for vaccinations?

The frequency of visits for vaccinations depends on your cat’s age, health, and lifestyle. Kittens require several vaccines in their first few months, while adult cats typically need annual or triennial booster shots. Always consult with a vet to determine the most suitable vaccination schedule for your pet.

13. Do vaccinations hurt my cat?

Like any injection, a small amount of discomfort can be expected during a vaccination. However, this is typically brief, and most cats tolerate vaccinations quite well. Some cats may experience temporary side effects like mild fever or lethargy after a vaccine.

14. Can I take my pregnant cat for vaccinations?

Generally, it’s not recommended to vaccinate pregnant cats, as some vaccines can potentially harm the unborn kittens. If your cat becomes pregnant and isn’t up-to-date on her vaccinations, consult your vet to discuss the best course of action.

15. Can PetSmart help me decide which vaccines my cat needs?

Yes, the veterinarians at PetSmart can guide you in determining which vaccines are most appropriate for your cat. This decision is usually based on several factors, including the cat’s age, lifestyle, and health status.

16. How can I prepare my cat for vaccinations?

Most cats handle vaccinations well, but it’s best to ensure your cat is healthy at the time of vaccination. If your cat is unwell, stressed, or pregnant, it may be best to postpone the vaccination. On the day of vaccination, try to keep your cat calm and comfortable to minimize stress.

17. Can my cat go outside immediately after getting vaccinated?

While there’s no physical reason to keep your cat indoors after vaccination, they may feel a bit lethargic or off-color for a day or two, so it might be a good idea to keep an eye on them during this period.

18. How do I know if my cat has a bad reaction to a vaccine?

Signs of a bad reaction to a vaccine in cats may include persistent vomiting or diarrhea, swelling around the injection site, difficulty breathing, or a sudden change in behavior. If you notice any of these symptoms after your cat is vaccinated, contact your vet immediately.

19. Are there non-core vaccines my cat might need?

Non-core vaccines are given depending on your cat’s risk of exposure to certain diseases. These may include vaccines for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). Your vet at PetSmart can help determine if these vaccines are necessary for your cat.

20. How are vaccinations administered to my cat at PetSmart?

Vaccinations are usually administered via injection. Some vaccines might be given subcutaneously (under the skin), while others may be given intramuscularly (into the muscle). The process is generally quick and causes minimal discomfort to your cat.

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