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How Much Does a Rabies Shot for a Cat Cost in 2022?

veterinarian giving injection to a cat

Getting a cat vaccinated can be daunting, but the overall costs per vaccination vary greatly depending on where you live and who your veterinarian is.

Your veterinarian will provide a recommendation of your kitten’s needed rabies vaccination based on your cat’s overall risk factor, including the possible risks they may face in the wild. Your kitten will undergo a vaccination process starting at 7 weeks, 10 weeks, or 13 weeks, depending on the vet recommendation or when you adopted the kitten.

After their initial vaccination, your cat will need to get an annual booster. On average, these lifesaving vaccines can range anywhere from $10 to $85 for the first year shot and from $10 to $35 for boosters.

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The Importance of a Rabies Vaccine

Rabies has quite the reputation, and for a good reason. Rabies is a fatal viral disease that can spread from infected animals to pets and humans. In almost all cases, Rabies leads to death, and it’s vital to stay on top of Rabies vaccinations for your cat, especially if they are an outdoor feline.

Due to the serious nature of the disease, vaccination against rabies is required in almost all states. The rabies vaccine protects your cat from becoming infected with rabies, which proves fatal in unvaccinated animals. Rabies is primarily transmitted through animal bites, usually from wild animals like bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks that wander into your yard.

The severity of rabies caused most states and local governments to require a Rabies vaccine. Once symptoms set in, the disease is almost guaranteed to be fatal, and the only treatment possible is to make your cat comfortable. It is so concerning that many states require euthanasia of unvaccinated animals exposed to any potentially rabid animal.

Euthanasia is required, even for a suspected case of rabies, because it is impossible to diagnose rabies in the brain of a living animal. Rabies can only be confirmed from brain tissue extracted during a procedure after death.

Cost of Rabies a Vaccine

Veterinarian at vet clinic giving injection to cat
Image Credit: Tom Wang, Shutterstock

The cost of your Rabies vaccine varies depending on where you live and the clinic you choose. Some pet insurances cover the costs of annual vaccines and general wellness through additive care plans on top of your policy.

However, on average, a standard rabies shot can range from $15 to $30. The individual shot cost will also vary based on whether you choose to go with the 3-year or 1-year vaccine. Regardless of your choice, you will still have to get annual boosters every 1 to 3 years.

We looked at Rabies vaccination costs according to veterinary information by region:

  • South: The average cost of a rabies vaccine was $15–$20. You can find this range in states like North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Alabama.
  • West: The average cost of a rabies vaccine was $18–$25. You can find these rates in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and California.
  • Midwest: The average cost of a rabies vaccine was $15–$25. You can find this range in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Kansas.
  • Northeast: The average cost of a rabies vaccine was $16 –$25. You can find rates like this in Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.

It is important to remember that these are individual shot prices, meaning your total might be more if you get annual vaccines.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Rabies Vaccine for a Cat?

The rabies vaccine functions as any other vaccine for a viral disease would. Also called immunization or just the rabies shot, this is a killed or inactive vaccine—meaning the amount of rabies within the vaccine will not cause the receiver to become infected. Since it’s much like our flu shots, the vaccine carries the rabies virus within and stimulates your cat’s immune system to build an immune response against the presence of rabies.

Once your cat has had this immune response, they can build their antibodies to fight off the invasion of the rabies virus if a rabid animal ever bites them.

What to Expect After a Rabies Vaccine?

sick cat
Image Credit: one photo, Shutterstock

Starting after three months of age, the first rabies vaccination triggers a cycle of yearly boosters so they can always be protected, and it is well worth it. Reactions to vaccines are very rare in cats, even for the rabies vaccine. Side effects of rabies vaccines don’t happen often, but your cat may show signs of lethargy, a decreased appetite, or superficial swelling at the vaccine site.

The general side effects, if any do appear, will go away in a few days. In extreme cases where cats can develop an allergic reaction to the vaccine, which is very rare, take your cat back to the vet immediately. Extreme reactions can include hives, severe swelling of the face, weakness, itchiness, or collapse. Allergic reactions, especially severe ones, are rare and occur in fewer than 10 out of 10,000 cats vaccinated.

How Often Does My Cat Need a Rabies Vaccine?

After the initial rabies vaccine, cats will need a shot every 1 to 3 years.  While annual booster shots aren’t required for all vaccines, they are necessary for rabies and will rotate on a cycle depending on your first vaccine. Your vet will determine the best vaccination schedule for you and your cat.

Does Pet Insurance Cover the Rabies Vaccine?

Most pet insurance does not cover the cost of vaccines within their standard policies. They often don’t offer vaccination coverage or other preventative medicine coverage without an added wellness plan. Your regular premium will increase, and the new wellness plan may only cover certain vaccines.

While your vaccines may not be covered under a basic accident and illness plan,  any emergency medical care or surgery typically is.

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Conclusion

Keeping your cat vaccinated is necessary to ensure your pet stays healthy and protected from severe disease. The price for a rabies vaccine will vary depending on where you live, what insurance and wellness plan you have (if any), and the clinic you choose to use. You will typically pay anywhere from $10 to $30 for your rabies vaccine, which will double if you combine it with your cat’s yearly wellness exams.


Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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