Important Information for Cat owners – Cat Vaccine Shortage

By Kellie Tickner, Orchard Hills Veterinary Hospital Administrator

Due to complicated supply problems post-COVID, there is currently a shortage of feline vaccines in Australia, and this is expected to continue until early 2024. This has already had a major impact on shelters, with some having to close their doors to new cat and kitten admissions.

What are Vets doing?

We have been working hard to acquire as many doses of the core F3 vaccines as possible but with a shortage of F5 vaccines also, this has proven difficult. We anticipate that the current low quantities will be insufficient to vaccinate all our feline patients who are due over the expected shortage period.

In order to ensure the greatest community benefit from the limited vaccine supply available, we have sought the advice of the Australian Veterinary Association and vaccine manufacturers.  This has resulted in a temporary change to our feline vaccination protocols. Our focus will be ensuring that previously unvaccinated kittens and adult cats deemed to be at higher risk, are prioritised.

What should cat owner’s do?

We encourage all cat families to arrange their pet’s annual health check as normal.  Your cat’s risk profile and specific vaccination needs can be discussed with your vet, and an individual plan tailored.  If the decision is made to delay your cat’s vaccination, you may want to keep your cats indoors as much as possible, away from other cats.

It is crucial to remember that vaccination represents just one component of your cat’s annual health checks. Our veterinarians will still be conducting an important physical examination and health assessment, and providing you with advice and tools to maintain your cat’s well-being. This check-up is also an important opportunity for you to discuss your cat’s nutrition, lifestyle needs, and strategies for disease prevention.

What if my cat is going into a boarding facility?

Cat families who are planning travel over the Christmas holiday period may have already made plans to house their pet in a boarding facility.  Given the requirement for pets to be currently vaccinated prior to entering a cattery, this shortage may create challenges. If your cat is unvaccinated or due for an annual vaccination, we encourage you to contact the boarding facility ahead of time, to discuss what measures have been put in place.  You may need to consider making alternative arrangements such as a pet-sitter, so please do this sooner rather than later. 

We look forward to helping you and your feline family members. If you have any questions or concerns about the feline vaccination shortage, please contact our friendly staff at Orchard Hills Veterinary Hospital on 4736 2027 for the most appropriate advice for your individual cat.