Vaccines in nursing cats: A danger to kittens?

by Sandra


We rescued our former neighbor's abandoned cat a couple of months ago. Started feeding her and realized she was pregnant so we brought her in to care for her. She's doing well and had 6 healthy kittens who are 6 weeks old tomorrow.

They are all eating kitten food and drinking and seem to only nurse for comfort and only occasionally. We had the mom spayed yesterday through our county's mobile vet service and she received a rabies and distemper vaccine as a mandatory part of the service. We were instructed to keep her away from the kittens for the next 10 days. This is proving to be impossible!

She's upset and wants to be near her babies. She's very maternal. The times we've let her out of her crate to eat and move around, she immediately tries to groom and care for the kittens and allows them to try and nurse. I'm sure it's a comfort to her too.

She's not on any medication for pain, she seems to feel fine and to be honest I'm surprised she's letting them near the incision. My biggest concern though is if there is a danger to the kittens from the vaccines?

I don't think we can keep them separated for that long without her being completely upset the entire time and I can't sit and watch to be sure they don't sneak a suckle the entire time she's out and about. Can you give any advice?

Thanks so much.

Dear Sandra,

The only real danger is that the kittens may tear out the mother cat’s stitches or otherwise irritate her incision. The vaccines are of no danger to the kittens whatsoever.

I have had to conduct emergency cesarean sections to save a mother cat and her kittens before, and even after such a traumatic surgery, the kittens would be allowed to nurse with the mother cat. As long as you keep a close eye on the mother’s incision, allowing the kittens to be near mom (and vice versa) while she is recuperating from her surgery is fine, and even allowing them to suckle will be okay too.


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