When it comes to reproduction, cats are quite abundant breeders. Female cats are able to reproduce up to three times a year. Each pregnancy produces several kittens at a time. One female cat is able to produce twenty four kittens in a single year.
Female cats are “polyestrous”, meaning they go into heat early into the year and will continue to cycle in and out of heat every 14-21 days until bred. The first heat cycle typically begins around four months of age, putting even young kittens at risk of becoming pregnant. While fertility may gradually decline overtime, there is no age at which a female cat can not become pregnant as cats do not go into a state of “menopause” such as humans. The average life span of an indoor cat is fifteen years which for an unspayed female cat means the possibility of a life time of hundreds of kittens.
Female cats that are not spayed are a risk for multiple health issues as well as poor behavioral and hygienic problems. Mammary cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in cats. Reproductive hormones are the primary cause of mammary cancer found in cats. Spayed cats have a 40-60% lower risk of developing mammary cancer.
In addition to the risk of cancer, female cats that are not spayed are at risk for infections of the reproductive tract and a severe uterine disease called pyometra. Pyometra is a disorder in which bacteria enters the uterus which becomes infected and filled with pus. Undetected, this condition is almost always fatal.
A female cat in heat can become frustrated with the desire to find a mate, resulting in behavioral and hygienic problems. While in heat female cats will howl, often through out the night for a mate. Unneutered male cats may wander around your property in interest of the female. Female cats will also sometimes spay urine while in heat.
Spaying a female cat is the only method to prevent litters of kittens as well as potential health and behavioral problems for your cat. It is much safer, and easier to spay a cat before her first heat cycle. Spaying before a cats first heat lessens her chances of potential mammary gland tumors as she ages. Many believe keeping a female cat indoors, away from males, will prevent pregnancy or prevent roaming. Unfortunately, in heat females are frustrated with the desire to mate and easily become escape artist in search of a male. It only takes a few moments outdoors for a fertile cat to become pregnant.
Pawmetto Lifeline is prepared to “Beat the Heat” in 2015 for female cats in hopes of preventing thousands of unplanned litters this year. During the month of February, in collaboration with Petsmart Charities, Pawmetto Lifeline’s Spay/Neuter clinic will spay your female cat for only $20. While space for this special is limited, it is life-saving for the overwhelming number of kittens who are born every year. If you’re female cat is not spayed and you would like to contribute to a longer, healthier life for her as well as to ending pet overpopulation by preventing future litters of kittens, be sure to call our clinic to “Beat the Heat”, today!
by: Caitlin Gomez, Officer Manager, Pawmetto Lifeline Spay/Neuter Clinic