Most of CA is fairly rabies free, so depending on where you are, the vet might be right.
As far as the vaccine, it really does not have that many bad reactions. The tumors in cats aren't from rabies vaccine, rather they are associated with the adjuvant used. There are non-adjuvant vaccines you can use.
I've been vaccinated (was required in vet school). I had the whole series. My titer was tested last year and it's pretty low now..... I'd require the full series if I happened to be exposed...
The other thing about dogs and cats is that it is required and if your animal bites someone, or is exposed to a positive animal you can end up having o quarantine or worse yet euthanize the animal due to rabies laws... Some places are now accepting titers as an alternative, so make sure you know your local laws....
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