Should we spay kitten?

(29 Posts)
countdowntoxmas Thu 13-Dec-12 12:14:33

Kitten is being microchipped next week and we need to decide whether to spay her at the same time. She is so affectionate and we think would make a great mum.
However, vet has said that she should not start breeding until 2 years old and if we decide to go that way, we should probably not let her outside until then. She is 5 months at the moment, so it would be a very long wait...
To spay or not spay?

Very true. Dp and ds2 wouldn't be here without the lifesaving treatment they've had. And lord knows whether dd would have survived the chest infection she had last month without nebulisers, steroids, antibiotics, modern clothing and central heating.

I've been in several accidents which in ancient times would have left me so incapacitated I woils most likely have died.

Out of 5 of us that only leaves ds1 who's never needed medical intervention, and without modern housing and good preventative care even he might not have lived to his current age.

Life is harsh, our advanced capabilities shield us from that fact

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 14-Dec-12 18:22:14

You've got to remember that we are essentially captive animals too, we have treatment for illness and warmth and good food. We're not living wild getting ill, fighting or hungry.

How many of us wouldnt have made it to adulthood without medical care?

My DH and My nephew wouldnt have survived.

I've had a couple of serious infections, whos to say they wouldnt have gone to septicaemia without the antibiotics?.

Plus quite a few humans are shit mums who harm children and we have natural birth defects too.

Spot on cozie. 3-5 years for a breeding feral female, slightly longer for a dominant ton, non dominant Tom's usually far shorter.

A well cared for house cat can live to 20 or more (the oldest recorded was in her 30s when she died)

Wild/feral cats like all animals rely on natural selection of the healthiest young to perpetuate the species, mortality rate for almost all wild animals is close to 70% before reaching adulthood.

cozietoesie Fri 14-Dec-12 09:27:18

PS - those are averages of course. There are some domestic cats who make it into their 20s nowadays.

cozietoesie Fri 14-Dec-12 09:22:07

Hi toddlerama

I don't think that nature has really 'got so messed up'. It's just that in the wild, most animals - and cats in particular - will breed according to their own health and available food supplies. The latter are pretty plentiful in many places. But sadly, they'll also die a lot younger. I can't remember the precise stats (which are clouded by domestic cats who go outside and are in traffic accidents etc) but it's certainly true that feral cats live significantly shorter lives than domestic cats - if I was to say that feral cats live between 3-5 years and domestic cats between 13-15 years these days with better vet care and nutrition....well, it might be inaccurate but not wildly inaccurate, I think.

So - in the wild, they'll have loads of kittens, at short intervals, many of the kittens will die, many of the cats will die much younger, but the overall numbers will stay broadly constant depending on food, weather and predation. (Remember that a cat will be having litters of maybe 3-5 kits, many of whom in the wild would go on to start reproducing themselves at 6 months etc etc etc. You can see how the numbers would work with regard to maintaining the species.)

That's my take, anyway. I could be wrong. For those of use who have female domestic cats, we'd rather have them around for a bit longer than put them through that.

toddlerama Fri 14-Dec-12 08:52:42

I've never had a cat and likely never will due to severe allergies in my extended family but I'm curious: why has nature got so messed up over cats fertility? Left to their own devices they kill their young, get pregnant dangerously young, develop disease through pregnancy? Why haven't they got any instinct to survive? If anyone knows I'd love to find out. Is it something we've bred out of them? What would happen in the wild?

sashh Fri 14-Dec-12 03:44:56

I took in a stray about this time last year and she came in to season before I had a chance to get her 'done'.

It was awful for her and me. She cried really loudly most of the time, as if she was in pain.

As she couldn't get out she started to present herself to any male, putting her tail to one side, crying and backing up to a male friend. He was quite disturbed.

This was day and night for about a week.

You really have done the right thing.

SpanielFace Thu 13-Dec-12 18:19:22

I'm glad you've booked her in. I think your vet will have meant that she SHOULDN'T be bred until 2 years (if you were thinking of a planned pregnancy, rather than the usual unplanned pregnancy that most cats have!). For a planned pregnancy in a cat, that is a sensible age. Unfortunately most cats get pregnant at 5-6 months, which is effectively a teenage pregnancy, and can stunt their growth. They can be extremely hard to live with if not speyed and will try to get out the house and find a mate at any opportunity! Many will get pregnant very rapidly after the kittens are born, meaning they can have 2 or even 3 litters a year, which has a terrible long term effect on their health, as well as leading to more kittens needing homes. Unplanned mating with any old tom cat also puts then at risk of infections like FIV (the cat equivalent of HIV). So, all in all, you've definitely made the right decision!

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 13-Dec-12 18:03:03

Ooh good, I was hoping you'd spay.

One of our cats sisters was lovely but trampled all her litters to death, the first litter they thought was just her being a first time mum but after a while they had to concede that huggy had ishoos with kittens. Her breeder caught her very purposefully setting about her kittens and took them off her.

One of our cats came to us in season (she was an ex show champion so her kittens were worth £££) and you have never heard a racket like it, our neutered male did not know what to do with her! grin which is a pity as I think she knew exactly what she wanted! strumpet.

helpyourself Thu 13-Dec-12 16:51:54

grin

ProtegeMoi Thu 13-Dec-12 15:49:46

Well done, the right decission!

Brilliant news countdown.

As someone who's taken in a lot of abandoned cats I really am delighted you've made that decision.

Mibby Thu 13-Dec-12 14:09:50

Thank you countdown

cozietoesie Thu 13-Dec-12 14:09:03

Well done, countdown.

smile

mignonette Thu 13-Dec-12 14:08:29

Well done Count.

mignonette Thu 13-Dec-12 14:06:02

Spay..Spay..Spay..Spay..

Avoid anthromorphisms. A 'great mum' in a cat has no emotional overlay as it does for us. Within three months those kitten babies of hers will just be nuisance competition for her. so don't think of it in terms of 'her needing to be a mother' etc.

There are herartbreaking levels of unwanted animals in the UK. If you feel tempted to let her breed then please go visit a cat shelter. Then see if you still think it a good idea.

Please spay her.

countdowntoxmas Thu 13-Dec-12 14:02:01

Thanks for your answers. We have had her booked in to be spayed next week.

Very true, one cat we had went into heat very young, a few weeks before she was due to be spayed. It was horrendous.... she was yowling and screaming and trying to batter her way out the doors and there were about 10 toms in the garden trying to break into the house and tearing each other to shreds.

It's not a delicate process... it's loud, smelly and obnoxious and can be very distressing for the female, whether or not she's impregnated.

On the motherhood issue, one of mine is a lovely cat. Very cuddly, gentle with the kids. She turned up in our garden as a feral already heavily pregnant and had the kittens in a nearby shed before I was able to lure her into the house. She spent 23 hours a day at our house scrounging for food and barely went back to the kittens. After a few weeks she was starting to trust me but still hadn't come into the house. I came down one morning and found one kitten dumped on the doorstep and she turned up a while later herding another one into the house, settled herself into a basket and showed no inclination whatsoever to go and fetch the other two kittens... I ended up breaking into the shed and getting them but she would happily have left them. She didn't ever pick the kittens up, barely cleaned them and really had very little interest at all. And worse still, every time she stopped feeding a litter she was already heavily pregnant with the next. I tried 5 different vets and none of them would spay her while she was feeding, despite me explaining the risk was necessary. After the third litter in 10 months (13 kittens in total!) I had a screaming match over the phone with one of the vets and told him if he refused again I would be dropping the next litter at his doorstep for him to deal with and he grudgingly spayed her... the kittens were 8 weeks, still feeding constantly and she was already 5 weeks pregnant when he spayed her sad By the time she was spayed she was skin and bones and would have died if she'd had another litter.

It's not as simple as 'Oh, cute cat = one neat litter of cute kittens', there are health risks and much more to consider.

What do you plan on doing with the kittens? Could you find safe reliable homes for up to 8 kittens? Or would you just hand them out to anyone who asks? So potentially all your cats kittens could end up in neglectful homes where they aren't cared for properly, aren't spayed and the number of kittens produced by your one cat could grow exponentially within a few years.... who will care for all those kittens?

helpyourself Thu 13-Dec-12 13:25:43

Spay. She will definitely get pregnant before she's 2 otherwise and there are enough waifs and strays already.

Rikalaily Thu 13-Dec-12 13:08:53

Spay and get her chipped while under the GA (one of mine was done before neutering, I was in tears because he was screaming his head off, it was obviously very painful for him) My vet offers a discount on the chip if done while neutering as they hate chipping while not sedated.

The pyometra risk should be enough for anyone who isn't a professional breeder to spay thier girls, it's just not worth the risk. So many cats die from pyo because it wasn't obvious soon enough to save them.

Your not a professional breeder, if you love your cat you'll spay her. She doesn't need to have the stress of a pregnancy/rearing a litter and breeding can change thier temprement, she might not be lovely afterwards, also her being an affectionate cat doesn't mean she'll be a good mum at all and allowing her to get pregnant means risking her life or putting her through a c section of the birth doesn't go well.

Spaying before thier first season lowers cancer risk/no risk of pyo and she won't turn into a crying/spraying/infuriating harlot possibly every 2 weeks (yep if they don't mate they can come back into season 2 weeks later, over and over again!) from her first season until she's mated.

Have you been around a female in heat? They are a nightmare, they yowl constantly, won't leave you or visitors or even teddies alone, they rub thier back end against anything hoping for a humping, they can start spraying thier pee everywhere to attract a mate and they will do anything to escape, it's next to impossible to keep them in and to keep the toms out. The local toms will spray all over the outside of your house too, it absolutely reeks and you can't wash the smell off, you have to wait for it to fade which takes forever!

You won't be able to open your windows/doors in the summer! Mine are all neutered but I had to keep one of my girls in earlier this year when she started having seizures, summer was horrendous, the kids couldn't play out freely as we had to watch the doors, the house was unbearable hot/stuffy and got a musty smell because there was no fresh air getting in. She still managed to escape a few times, we were extremely careful and she wasn't even full of hormones and desperate for a quickie with the local boys, a queen in heat is alot harder to keep contained than a poorly cat.

cozietoesie Thu 13-Dec-12 12:53:35

Good point on the motherhood bit, Summer. My last boy had a mother who killed one of the litter by mistake and abandoned the other two - just after birth. (He and his brother were raised by the breeder.) It was her first litter and she probably just couldn't take to it.

Spay.

I rescued the most gorgeous, affectionate female a while back and despite the fact that she'd produce absolutely adorable kittens the sad fact is there are millions of equally adorable kittens in the world needing loving homes, more are not needed. She was spayed this day last week and is recovering well, I have no regrets.

Having kittens is dangerous and stressful for a cat and even the best natured cat might not take as well to motherhood as you'd imagine. Additionally going into heat repeatedly and not breeding is stressful for a cat and can cause health issues.

cozietoesie Thu 13-Dec-12 12:42:25

Spayed, absolutely. There are loads of cats around needing homes and, however cute her kittens might be, they would just add to the problem.

Also - trust me - if you've ever had to give house room to a female on heat who wants out....well. You wouldn't even be asking this!

grin

DameMargotFountain Thu 13-Dec-12 12:29:12

i think i'd be changing vets if i were you - cats can be pregnant very early on

and yes, get her spayed

she might be a great mum, but she won't be the one looking to home her offspring

ProtegeMoi Thu 13-Dec-12 12:23:23

Yep definately!

Your vet is lying about the 2 years thing. I worked for a cat rescue for over 2 years and we had cats come in at 6 months already pregnant!

Trust me when I say a cat in heat WILL find a way to escape, it's not worth the risk. Not only would it be dangerous to your cat's health to have a litter so young there are so many unwanted kittens in the world, especially this time of year.

Do the responsible thing and spay her!

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