In the middle of cat flu season, a number of little ones come into the rescue center full of sneezes, wheezes and weepy eyes and all the things that go along with traditional flu! One of the questions people often ask is “Once a cat is vaccinated, can they still get cat flu”?
The simple answer to that is “Yes”, the cat flu vaccination is extremely effective. What it does though, is it dulls the symptoms that cats get when they catch cat flu, it doesn’t eliminate it completely. So even though your cat may be fully vaccinated, they can still come down with very moderate symptoms.
The sorts of symptoms you’re likely to see are slightly weepy eyes and a slightly runny nose. The benefit of the vaccine though is they’re not going to develop full-blown cat flu symptoms and they’re not “worst case” going to die. Cat flu can be incredibly deadly particularly in immune compromised pets and in really little ones.
Another thing about cat flu is once they’ve had it is always in their system, it never goes away. Cat flu is a form of the herpes virus, which causes cold sores in humans, and flu symptoms in cats. The two viruses are related but they are different, so you’re not going to catch the herpes virus from a cat, that’s got cat flu it just doesn’t work that way. It is simply restricted to cats but like the herpes virus or the cold sore virus in humans, once you’ve got it, you’ve got it for life.
That means little ones who we treat for cat flu and then vaccinate can still come down with moderate symptoms throughout their life that happens particularly in times when they’re stressed.
So that could occur if they are unwell and have got something else going on, it could also occur if they freak when you go away on holiday, all of these times are reasonably stressful situations for little ones and so those symptoms can crop up again.