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Can unvaccinated cats be around puppies?

Can unvaccinated cats be around puppies?

Vaccines are a hot topic among pet owners. Some pet owners are choosing not to vaccinate. Some choose to vaccinate against some diseases, but not others, and some choose a delayed vaccination schedule. 

Young puppies and kittens will not have all their vaccines, as they can only be given at certain ages. So, it’s natural to be concerned about your puppy being around unvaccinated animals. 

Can unvaccinated cats be around puppies?

Most diseases are species specific, meaning that they can’t be transferred from one species to another. However, some diseases can affect both your cat and dog, and some can also be passed on to you. 


The biggest danger to your cat, puppy, and yourself is rabies. Rabies can be passed from animal to animal through a bite. If your cat gets bit by an animal with rabies, they can then pass it on to you or your dog. 

Rabies is a fatal if not treated quickly, before symptoms appear. Rabies is often associated with dogs, but it actually affects more cats than dogs in the U.S.

This may be because people are aware of their dog’s risk of rabies, but they aren’t aware that their cat is at risk as well. 

Once the animal is infected with rabies, symptoms typically appear 3-10 weeks later. They can’t transmit rabies until they begin showing symptoms.

Rabies Vaccine 

Kittens can be vaccinated at 4 months old. However, cat owners may not vaccinate against rabies because they don’t think their cat is at risk. Cats that spend all their time indoors are at a low risk of rabies, because contact with an infected animal is required to catch the disease. Cats that go outdoors, even if they spend most of their time indoors, are at a risk of rabies.

 Puppies can get vaccinated at 14 weeks of age, a bit later than the 12 week age for kittens. Both animals should get a booster at 1 year, and follow their vets recommendations afterwards. Some vaccines only need to be given every 3-5 years after the initial booster. 


Bordetella, also known as kennel cough, can be passed from cats to dogs. Bordetella isn’t typically a serious illness, but it is highly contagious. It’s essentially the pet version of a chest cold or bronchitis.  

The incubation period is 2-14 days. Most cats and dogs who contract it will have a cough, but feel ok otherwise. It should clear on its own within a few weeks without treatment. 

Kennel cough actually refers to the symptoms, rather than a specific bacteria or virus. There are a variety of bacteria and viruses that can cause the symptoms of kennel cough. 

The main symptom of kennel cough is, of course, a cough. The cough may be dry or productive, but it typically has a harsh or hacking quality. Some cats and dogs may have sneezing, a runny nose, and eye discharge. 

Severe cases of kennel cough can cause your pet to feel ill. They may be lethargic, listless, or depressed. They can have a reduced appetite and a low fever. 

However, kittens, puppies, elderly cats and dogs, and animals that are immunocompromised can develop pneumonia from the disease.

Because puppies are at a higher risk of complications for kennel cough, you may want to prevent your puppy from being exposed to the illness. The best way to protect them is to avoid contact with any unvaccinated cats and dogs. 

Kennel cough can be transmitted through the air. If your cat and puppy are in close proximity, the puppy can contract kennel cough. 

Bordetella Vaccine

Both dogs and cats can get a bordetella vaccine. It’s a noncore vaccine, which means that you aren’t required to get it for your pet. However, some kennels and other places where dogs and cats gather will require a vaccination before entrance. 

Puppies can get the vaccine at 6 to 8 weeks of age. They will need another vaccine 4 weeks after the first. Once your puppy has been vaccinated,  they should be protected from animals with bordetella. 

If your puppy has not yet been vaccinated, you may want to avoid allowing unvaccinated cats or dogs around them. Kittens can get vaccinated at 16 weeks, or 4 months old. 

Can unvaccinated puppies be around vaccinated cats?

Yes, unvaccinated puppies can be around vaccinated cats. Vaccinated cats should be protected from any diseases the puppy can have, because they are vaccinated. 

A vaccinated cat is unlikely to pass diseases on to an unvaccinated puppy. 

Can puppies catch diseases from cats?

There are few serious diseases that puppies can catch from cats. In addition to the diseases preventable with vaccines, there are a few diseases to look out for. 

Mange and Scabies

Mange is caused by tiny mites that live on the skin. Once the mites find their way onto the skin, they burrow in. This causes itching, inflammation or swelling, and hair loss. 

 Dogs can contract Canine scabies, which is also called sarcoptic mange. They can pass the mange onto cats as well. Unfortunately, humans can also contract this type of mange. 

Cats can also get feline scabies, also known as notoedric mange. However, they cannot pass this to dogs.  

Ear mites are also caused by mites. As the name suggests, these mites attack and live in the ear. Ear mites are more common in cats, but dogs can get them as well. They can be passed from cat to dog, and vice versa. 

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks can also be passed from cats to dogs and dogs to cats. Unlike most diseases, they are indiscriminate. If the host has hair for them to live in, they will happily make their home. 


Parasites can be transmitted from cats to dogs, typically through poop. Dogs, especially puppies, are curious creatures. If they find cat poop, they may sample it. If there are parasites within the poop, your pup will contract them. 

Roundworms affect cats and dogs easily. Puppies often have roundworms or whipworms at or shortly after birth through their mother’s milk or in utero. It’s important to get puppies dewormed to prevent them from becoming problematic and making your puppy ill. 

However, if you have a cat with worms, your puppy can contract them after deworming.

Other types of worms can live in dogs and cats. Whipworms and hookworms can also be contracted through cat poop. Cats don’t have these parasites as often as dogs do, but it’s certainly a possibility. 

When treated early, these parasites don’t pose a serious danger. However, if left untreated, they can make your dog or cat very ill. You may  notice a cough, weight loss, and lethargy because the worms are invading your pet’s system. 

Generally speaking, the smaller the animal, the greater the risk. A puppy requires a much smaller amount of worms to become sick than an adult dog, because their body has less room and resources. 

Is it safe for puppies to be around cats?

I have a dog who is still in the puppy stage. I thought I was done acquiring new pets. My pup was quite a handful. Then, a kitten shows up on my porch and just strolls into the house. It took a few days, but the two are now fast friends. However, in addition to the potential for passing diseases, you’ll need to make sure the two can peacefully coexist. 

Introducing Puppies and Cats

Never leave a new puppy unattended around cats. They can fight and injure each other. Allow them to meet when you can supervise, and do not leave them alone until you are sure they will get along. 

A kitten, or a cat accustomed to dogs, will probably tolerate a puppy better than a cat that’s never seen a puppy. In my case, my dog wanted to play. At first, the kitten thought this was aggression. 

It was essentially a language barrier, because they communicate the desire to play in different ways. Eventually, they reached an understanding. They will now play together. However, when the kitten doesn’t want to play, she will give the pup a light swipe. She doesn’t hurt her, but she does let her know she should back off. 

Depending on their size, a kitten and a puppy may be fairly evenly matched. However, a mature cat can easily injure a puppy. A large puppy can also injure a cat. 

When first introducing someone, you should either confine one of them or have someone to help you. If things get out of hand, you each grab a pet. This should stop any aggression. If you are alone, place one of them in a kennel or use a baby gate. 

A baby gate can also be used when you can’t supervise them. They can get close enough to get familiar with each other, but not cause serious harm. 

Can cats get parvo from a puppy?

Yes, they can. Conventional wisdom stated that dogs and cats each have their own version of parvovirus. Canine parvovirus is known as CPV, while feline pavo is known as panleukopenia virus (FPV).

It’s believed to be true that neither of these could cross species in the beginning. However, the canine parvovirus mutated over time, and was eventually able to infect cats as well as dogs. 

A 2012 study found that CPV was present in cats, which shows that it can infect both species. The feline version, FPV cannot be passed to dogs. However, a cat with CPV can pass it on to dogs. 

Can an unvaccinated dog be around cats?

There are a few risks associated with allowing an unvaccinated dog around cats. These are the same as they are with a puppy, although kennel cough is less serious in adult animals than in puppies. 


Rabies can be passed from a dog to a cat. It’s recommended that all dog and cat owners at least give their animals the rabies vaccine, particularly if they spend any time outside. 


Parvo is a big problem for kittens and puppies. It’s less serious in adult dogs and cats, but it can still make them ill. They can also spread it to other animals. 

Remember that parvo can be passed from dogs to cats, and cats can pass canine parvo to dogs. 

Kennel Cough 

Kennel cough doesn’t usually cause serious illness in adult pets, so it’s not a huge concern. It is highly contagious, however.