Vaccinations for feline distemper, feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus and rabies are called "core vaccinations" and are the first shots kittens need, says PetMD. Depending on a kitten's lifestyle, a veterinarian may also recommend "non-care vaccinations," such as feline leukemia, feline infectious peritonitis, Bordetella, and Chlamydophila, states PetMD.
While primary vaccines are recommended for kittens as young as three weeks of age, many require a series of follow-up shots or boosters as well, notes Purina.com. The first vaccines a kitten receives are effective in preventing them from developing some chronic and fatal conditions and are therefore extremely important and, in some cases, required by law, according to Pet Education.
PetMD states that core vaccines should be administered to all kittens within weeks of birth to prevent the contraction of potentially fatal diseases such as rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, rabies and distemper. Other non-core vaccines should be discussed with a feline health professional, as they depend on the kitten's lifestyle.