Do Indoor Cats Need Rabies Shots?

Giving your indoor cat rabies shots is a good idea depending on where you live. In some paces it is even a legal requirement. Indoor cats are at risk of getting rabies if they escape from the house, especially in countries where the local wildlife can carry rabies. Rabies can’t be treated after it is caught and will eventually result in death. Rabies shots are the best way to protect your cat and need to be applied to your cat routinely to be effective. It may seem unnecessary to give your cat vaccines if you only plan on keeping them indoors, but you should view it as an extra layer of protection for your cat’s health.

In some regions and situations, giving your indoor cat is a legal requirement. If your cat isn’t vaccinated and escapes, it may have to be put down if it scratches or bites somebody. In some jurisdictions you may also be fined if you haven’t given your cat its proper vaccinations. Read on through this article to find out if you need to give your indoor cat its rabies shots.  

Does my indoor cat need rabies shots in the US?

Most states require all cats, including indoor cats, to be vaccinated against rabies. The exceptions at the time of writing this include California, Montana, and several others. Check to make sure that your state hasn’t updated their laws on rabies vaccinations in pets if you are curious if you have a legal obligation to vaccinate your cat.

No matter if vaccinating your indoor cat is a law in your state or not, we strongly recommend that all American cat owners give their cat regular rabies shots. Rabies is fatal for both cats and humans and can be spread between animals through bites and scratches. It may seem unnecessary to vaccinate indoor cats but they can and do escape. When indoor cats escape they are at risk of getting into fights with infected animals like racoons, foxes, and bats. Although transmission of rabies from a cat to a human is extremely rare, this is because of tough animals control laws and mandatory rabies shots in most states.

The distemper vaccine is the most common vaccine to do this in the USA and is applied once every three years. The shot also protects against a number of other diseases. Your vet should be very familiar with providing distemper shots and you should expect to spend around $50 for your cat to be treated.

Does my indoor cat need rabies shots in the UK?

The UK has much more relaxed approach to rabies compared to the states. Rabies has been effectively eradicated in the UK since the 19th century. If your cat escapes, there is no real reason you should worry about them contracting rabies from other animals. This means that giving cats rabies in the shot is not a legal requirement in the UK and is not a common practice.

We don’t think indoor cats in the UK need to be vaccinated against rabies as the risk of them actually getting rabies is close to zero. If you are particularly worried you can speak to your vet about giving your cat the rabies vaccine but this is uncommon for a cat in the UK.

There are a few notable exceptions to this rule. If your cat is entering or leaving the country, they will need proof of having received a rabies vaccine and also a blood test to show that the vaccine has been effective. This is a reasonable request, vaccinating travelling animals prevents the spread of dangerous diseases across the world. If you are planning on travelling between countries with your cat, speak to your vet for advice on getting the right documentation to keep them safe.

Does my indoor cat need rabies shots in Canada?

In Canada, rabies vaccinations are only a legal requirement in the province of Ontario. This includes indoor cats as they can and do escape. Rabies is a rare but prevalent disease in Canadian wildlife although recent numbers have dropped thanks to good animal control.

How do I give my cat rabies shots?

Only a professional vet will be able to correctly and safely give your cat its shots. Make an appointment at your local clinic if you are planning on giving your cat any type of shot. Rabies shots usually cost around $50. Your vet will be very familiar with giving cats vaccines and there shouldn’t be any need for you to worry about the safety of your cat when they get a vaccination. Most cat insurance plans will not cover regular vaccinations but many pet care plans at your vet will. Talk to your existing vet to see if they have a care plan which you can use on top of insurance to suit your needs.  


Rabies shots are a legal requirement in various locations around the world where rabies has spread through the local wildlife. Even if it is not a legal requirement, we strongly suggest that you get the rabies vaccination for your indoor cat if they are at risk of getting rabies if they escape. It will be a relatively cheap way to give you an extra layer of peace of mind for a very stressful situation. There is no cure for rabies, and it is almost always lethal for cats and humans. Regular rabies shots are the only way to make sure that your cat is safe.