Spaying a pregnant cat

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Spaying a pregnant cat

Cat Spaying

It is important that pregnant cats are spayed or neutered, and that pregnant

cats are checked for pregnancy at regular intervals in order to avoid pregnancy.

The need for spaying or neutering is even greater if the female cat is known

to be in the last trimester of pregnancy, as she can become quite difficult

to manage at this stage, and may not be able to be handled safely if she is

pregnant. The cat will normally have her spay or neutering carried out once

she has had her last litter, but if she is still pregnant, a more careful

approach is required to minimise the risk of injuring the cat and her unborn


Cats in the last trimester of pregnancy should be spayed or neutered under

general anaesthesia, and ideally should have this carried out during the same

surgery as ovariohysterectomy or ovariohysterectomy. A pregnant cat is usually

not a good candidate for anaesthetic unless the veterinarian has sufficient

knowledge and experience of caring for pregnant cats to determine whether the

cat can be anaesthetised safely. The procedure to be undertaken should be carefully

planned and explained to the cat, so that she is in no doubt what is required

of her and why. The cat's level of fear should be minimised if possible by

talking to the cat calmly and reassuringly at intervals during the anaesthetic

process. The cat should be held by the neck or back, as this is a safe place

to hold a cat, and should be able to feel the touch of the person carrying

out the procedure. This will prevent the cat from biting at or attempting

to bite the veterinary surgeon. The use of a sedative may also be helpful

to help the cat to be relaxed and cooperative throughout the procedure.

Most cats in the last trimester of pregnancy will be in no acute distress,

and are less anxious to avoid handling than they are before this stage. If

the cat has been spayed or neutered before and is pregnant again, the process

should be started after the cat has had her last litter. In this case, the

cat should be spayed or neutered at the earliest opportunity, without any

delay in the gestation period.

The gestation period of a pregnant cat is approximately four to six weeks,

so most cats should be spayed or neutered after the fifth to seventh week

of pregnancy. In any case, the procedure should not be carried out later

than the sixth week, in order to prevent a possible early birth of the kittens,

and to minimise the risk of any difficulties during pregnancy or birth. However,

cats may experience a spontaneous abortion after the sixth week of gestation,

so spaying or neutering may still be carried out at any time in a cat's pregnancy,

as long as it is carried out before the cat's ninth week of gestation. The

cat will normally continue to have her kittens once she is spayed or neutered,

so it may not be necessary to wait to spay or neuter a pregnant cat until

she has had her last litter. This may not be possible, however, if the cat

is not due to have her litter for another week or two, or if the litter is

due to be very late.

There is a risk of a cat suffering a miscarriage after spaying or neutering

a pregnant cat. Although these are uncommon, it is important that the cat

is spayed or neutered by a competent practitioner, who is experienced in

the spaying or neutering of pregnant cats, or has sufficient training to

ensure that this is carried out correctly.

The first stage in spaying or neutering a pregnant cat is to place the

cat under general anaesthesia and the surgery completed under aseptic conditions.

The cat is then put to sleep and the uterus is clamped and cut away. Any blood

vessels that may remain in the uterus will be severed, to prevent them carrying

any blood from the cat.

There is usually some bleeding from the uterus. This may be a little more

than would be expected in an anaesthetised cat, and the anaesthetic and operating

drugs used may also contribute to the bleeding. The cat may be put to sleep

again a few hours later to allow the uterine bleeding to subside. In cases

where a pregnancy has been identified before the surgery, the surgery can

be carried out without anaesthesia, using the same instruments and techniques

used when the cat is anaesthetised. If it is carried out this way, the cat

may have more uterine bleeding, and may also be more stressed during the


The second stage in spaying or neutering a pregnant cat is to close the

surgery with sutures. Most cats are kept on oxygen for a few hours after

the surgery, to make sure that they do not become overly distressed and agitated.

The cats can normally be moved from the anaesthetic recovery box back to their

home environment a few hours after the surgery has been completed.

If a cat has recently had her last litter, there may be some slight discomfort

following the surgery, but most cats will feel well within a few days after

the surgery.

A number of cats are reluctant to lie on their sides after having their

uteruses removed, and many do not like to be touched on their sides. Many

cats, in particular, seem to prefer to keep their abdomens tucked up when

laying on their sides. This can make them feel uncomfortable, but usually

takes a few days to subside.

It is possible for some cats to have a mild vaginal discharge for some days

after the surgery. The cat should be allowed to go out in her normal way

as soon as the discharge has passed.

It may also be necessary to clip the cat's claws before the surgery. Most

cat owners find this a very distressing experience for their cats, so it is

best to have the clipping

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  4. Perryn

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