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My cat is/might be pregnant - what should I do

Discussion in 'Cat Breeding' started by lymorelynn, Mar 23, 2013.

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  1. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
    Staff Member

    Oct 4, 2008
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    If your female cat is not spayed and goes out she will get pregnant. If you think she might be pregnant, she probably already is. Kittens as young as 6 months have been known to become pregnant, and cats can get pregnant after just one mating which takes seconds.

    If she has only been out a few hours or days she won’t yet be pregnant. Pregnancy begins with implantation, and it takes 12-14 days from first mating for this to happen – she has to release eggs, they have to be fertilised and travel into her uterine horns before they can implant.

    You have two choices:

    1. Get her spayed as soon as possible;
    2. Let her pregnancy continue and raise the kittens.

    We strongly recommend the first course of action for many reasons, which include:

    1. As mentioned above, she will not be pregnant yet. However if you delay she almost certainly will be.
    2. Most rescues (shelters) are full of kittens needing homes. Anyone who wants one of your kittens could instead give one of these a home and possibly save its life. Some shelters / rescues still euthanase cats and kittens which don’t find homes after a given period of time;
    3. Cats normally don’t have problems kittening, but if your cat does and needs a C-section this will cost several hundreds of pounds;
    4. If your cat is very young she is more likely to need a section and is more likely to have problems raising kittens when she herself is still a kitten;
    5. Raising a litter of kittens is considerably more expensive than spaying a cat - see below for approximate costs;
    6. It is vital to be able to keep an eye on her when she is kittening, so that any problems can be promptly dealt with;
    7. Caring for and socialising a litter of kittens takes a considerable amount of time and energy.

    If you decide to let her have the kittens, your female must be kept in until her kittens are weaned (about 10 weeks old) and she has been spayed. This is for three reasons:

    1. She might have her kittens somewhere outside the house which will make rearing and socialising them very difficult. You will also not be able to keep an eye on her when she is kittening in case your help is needed.
    2. If she has an accident while her kittens are small you will be left to hand-rear them which means feeding every 2 hours night and day to start with. You should be aware that hand-rearing kittens is very hard work, many more kittens are lost than when the mother rears them, and ‘bottle babies’ often have social problems.
    3. Female cats with kittens often come back into call (heat) quite soon after kittening (while still nursing) and get pregnant again. Females in call are often desperate to escape, and some of them stop looking after their kittens.

    My last foster litter was 5 kittens. The female had been wormed and treated against fleas before she was delivered and I already had a spare room, a large dog crate, a set of digital scales weighing in grams, lots of suitable bedding and spare litter trays. My approximate costs today (Mar 2013) would be £265, and I didn’t have any vet costs as they were vet-checked and vaccinated after I took them back. This is a rough break-down of my costs:

    1. Cat litter - £25. I brought in bulk on the Internet and this was just about enough to raise the kittens to 8 weeks.
    2. Cat food – 1 4kg sack kitten biscuits, £20. Wet kitten food, £200. Yes, £200. Kittens need a huge amount to eat. They also got treats of raw mince, and cooked white fish which are included in the cost.
    3. Wormer – £20.

    These kittens would each have received over £50 of vet care before being homed. They were all vet-checked, microchipped and given their first vaccination. Their new owners got a voucher for their second vaccination and for free neutering, plus they were fed for another week so the total bill for the litter would have been well over £500!

    Neutering brings many benefits beyond preventing pregnancy. We believe your cat should be neutered as soon as your vet is willing to operate, and by 6 months at the very latest unless there are medical reasons to delay. If your vet insists on neutering after 6 months, or says your cat should have a call first, or (worse still) she should have a litter first, find another vet.

    For females the main benefits other than preventing pregnancy are reducing the risk of breast cancer, and almost completely removing the risk of pyometra which is a potentially fatal infection of the uterus. Since each call (heat) increases her chances of breast cancer spaying before her first call confers greatest protection.

    For males it stops their pee smelling, and neutered males spray a lot less than entires. Neutered males also wander and fight less, and are less likely to have a road traffic accident.

    Useful links:

    My cat is having kittens | international cat care (read all the articles it links to, listed towards the left of the page)
    http://www.icatcare.org/advice/keeping-your-cat-healthy (point out the need for worming & flea control)
    Neutering your cat | international cat care
    Spay and Neuter for Cats: Winn Feline Foundation
    With thanks to OrientalSlave for writing this
    #1 lymorelynn, Mar 23, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
    ZoeM likes this.
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