Vets: will vaccinations make kittens sluggish?

I took my two kittens in for check-ups and shots today – feline leukemia and FV rep, whatever that is. We got home about 4.5 hours ago, they hopped up on the windowsill for a quick nap, and have barely stirred since. No demands for dinner, etc. Zeb is awake, kind of, but Jez is totally passed out.

Is this normal?

First, I am not a vet.

Vaccinations can make a cat/kitten sluggish for a day or so. I am not sure if specific combinations are worse than others. I believe it is recommended not to get more than two done at a time though.

Are they just zonked out or are there other unusual signs? Are they both breathing normally? Some cats have anaphylactic reactions to certain shots and this can be very dangerous.

Can you rouse Jez? If you can’t, I’d call your vet now and take her to emergency. Are they breathing normally? Do they look normal except for being lethargic?

That other vaccine was FVRCP, by the way - Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia - what is commonly referred to as a distemper shot.

Our girls were total zombies for 24 hours after their shots. They just vegged. The next day they were back to normal little hellions.

Well, why not call your Vet?

But that happens to 2 of 4 cats I know.

Sure. The kitten’s immune system recognizes the vaccine as active disease and mounts a response. They spike fevers. But the vaccine just gets dismantled and absorbed, and no disease actually occurs, and so the immune system shrugs and figures it was a false alarm and stops reacting. It remembers, though. It remembers.

Worked at a cat shelter, and have three devil-cats of our own. Confirmed: vaccinations are a cheap and reliable source of peace and quiet. Also, our big boy, Baby, has asthma and needs to get cortisone shots every now and then. Those knock him out, too.

Thanks, all.

Yeah, I could have called the vet, and would have, if I’d been more worried and it hadn’t been Saturday night. Jez was breathing fine and would stir if I poked her, but then go right back to sleep. She’s smaller than Zeb (4 lbs. vs. 5) so it makes sense she’d be hit harder. They did sleep in this morning (yay!), but are up and alert, if not particularly rambunctious, this morning.

I haven’t had kittens in almost 20 years, so I couldn’t remember if this was normal or not. I assumed it was something about the cooties in the vaccines working on them, but just had a worried mama moment.

Again, many thanks for the answers.

I thought you were a dude all this time!

Yeah, usually unless they are in distress or cannot be awakened, they’re just having a normal “blah” reaction. Some cats have worse; one of mine has severe reactions and the vet has agreed that she should not be vaccinated anymore except for rabies. (She is 100% indoors and doesn’t interact with any other cats–this wouldn’t work for outdoor cats or cats who ever board anywhere or visit other cats.)

Glad they’re okay!