Rabies vaccine in an older cat?

Hi everyone, I'm new and I need some help. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I'll make it as brief as possible: I have a fluffy cat, Rusty, who is 19 years old and in great health for his age. I just moved to Arkansas after living in Oregon for 14 years, and back in Oregon it was not required for cats to be vaccinated for rabies. Here it is required by law, no matter if the cat is indoor or outdoor. A few weeks ago, the manager of the apartment I live in informed me that he needs the registration and proof of rabies vaccine for my Rusty. I've lived here for over a year and this is the first time I have heard of it (the manager said that the owners have just made it a new policy to require this information). While I understand that it's the law here, I am *very*reluctant to get Rusty a rabies shot since he is an elderly cat, stays indoors (he hasn't escaped outside since 1991), and has never had this vaccine before.

I've been reading up on the theories of vaccination effectiveness- or lack thereof- and possible side effects. I know they are rare, but they can happen, can be fatal, and I think Rusty might be more prone to them because of his age. I love Rusty to pieces; I got him just after he was born in 1986. I am not willing to risk his life for this.

I called my vetís office and the receptionist told me that there was little risk to Rusty, but this doesnít quite put my mind at ease. I think second and third opinions are in order.

So to get to my question: Has anyone else been in my place before? Can older cats be more susceptible to vaccine side effects? What would you do in my place?

On a side note, my mother half-jokingly suggested that I get the owner of my apartment and a rep from the city to sign a contract stating that they will take responsibility for any problems, including death, that arise from this vaccine. I am not sure how far I'd get, but I'd almost be willing to try it.

Thank you in advance for your help.
Hello artistchick,

I understand and share your concerns ! I would be very unhappy and worried if I was required by law to have any of my pets vaccinated against my will. :( However, in this case, the rabies vaccine alone is probably the safest one and it should not cause any damage... or I hope so ! Please do not let the vet talk you into giving your cat any other shot though ! Those could do more harm ! But as far as the rabies vaccine is concerned, I guess I'd comply to the law and go ahead...

Just out of curiosity, has Rusty ever received any vaccines and if so, has he ever suffered from any side effect ?
You couldn't get a titer test done? Where they test the antibodies in the blood and see if the immunity from the last shot is still there... Then maybe the vet can give you a certificate saying the cat is adequately vaccinated for rabies.
I would be quite worried about having a 19 year old cat vaccinated who has never received this vaccination before.

What will happen if you do not comply?
Oh, nevermind... I missed the "never been vaccinated" part.
i had my older cat get her rabies shot about 2 months ago..shes between 12-15, unsure..came home she was fine. then for 2 days, she just basically laid around. when she did get up to use the litter box, she couldn't walk straight..like her equlibrium was off and didn't eat. called the vet, said that could sometimes happen give her a couple days. and after the 2 days she was back to normal, but it was pretty scary. this was not her first shot though, and this never happened before
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