To prevent a cat from having kittens, her master can choose different contraceptive solutions. There are already hormonal methods, temporary and definitive method, which is sterilization or oophorectomy. In any case, before deciding on one of these solutions or the other, it is better to fully understand the phenomenon of cat reproduction, but also to know how each of these methods works and the side effects. Let’s find out in this file.
The reproductive cycle in cats: a better understanding of this phenomenon
A kitten is about six months old, often during the first spring after it is born. The cats’ first heat then appears, with an average duration of 10 to 15 days, but with variable regularity depending on the cat’s breed.
Temperatures are divided into three stages:
- first phase During the first two days, the cat will meow repeatedly and hoarsely to attract males from the surrounding areas, but without their consent to mate.
- The second phase : between 3e and 10e Today, the cat agrees to mate, but only after courtship. She scrubs furniture and walls and marks urine to spread sex pheromones. The drop is very fast in a cat, as it only lasts a few seconds. Then ovulation begins within 48 to 72 hours.
- third level : after 10e On the day, if the cat has not been impregnated, it enters the phase of sexual rest for a variable period until a new heat cycle begins. If fertilized, pregnancy begins and lasts for 63 to 68 days.
The fact that a cat has contraceptives in place makes it possible to avoid breeding, but also to reduce – even eliminate – behaviors that appear in the heat period. When a cat is not placed under contraception, whatever its shape, it is essential to monitor it well in order to quickly detect any abnormalities.
The majority of cat owners choose contraception without really questioning themselves. However, this solution is not always necessary, especially if the cat lives indoors, never outside and without contact with male cats, as long as the breeding “risk” is zero. On the other hand, you should be able to tolerate the cat’s behavior in the heat, which can be annoying (urinary signs, scratching, loud, sad and frequent meows).
The creation of a contraceptive solves many “problems”, but also preserves the health of the female, because the life expectancy of cats often increases – depending on the chosen formula. It should be noted that contraceptives can be permanent or temporary depending on the solution preferred by the master.
What are the contraceptive solutions for the cat?
There are many contraceptive solutions for cats, divided into two categories, hormonal contraception and sterilization.
No contraceptive hormone
The cat master can choose several methods of hormonal contraception. It should be noted that this contraceptive is temporary, which allows for a possible future pregnancy. However, you should know that these solutions are sometimes not recommended due to their side effects.
on the contraceptive pill
Pills can be prescribed by your veterinarian, which are available in pharmacies by prescription. It contains progestogens (particularly mesterol acetate) which are hormones intended to mimic pregnancy in order to prevent heat and ovulation in the cat. Depending on its dosage, it should be given to females once a week or once every two weeks. Of course it is necessary to ensure that the cat swallows the pill well and does not spit it up, especially through vomiting or diarrhea.
If the pill is a solution, vets advise against using it for long periods, as it has significant side effects. In fact, the risks of health problems are great, such as goiter, pyoderma or breast tumors. The risk of diabetes must also be taken into account, not to mention that birth control pills can modify a cat’s behavior and make them more aggressive or apathetic.
It is also possible to opt for hormonal injections, which the vet performs every four to six months in the office. This type of contraceptive is based on the same principle of operation as the contraceptive pill and can cause the same side effects. On the other hand, injections have the advantage of being spaced out over time and avoiding the risk of being forgotten or rejected.
Be careful, however, to ensure that the injections are performed outside of heat periods and on a cat that has not been impregnated. Indeed, in such a situation, it may lead to complications at the time of delivery and/or fetal death.
The last hormonal solution, contraception via implants is done by a vet who places it under a cat’s skin, between her shoulder blades, in order to inhibit her fertility. There are two types of hormonal implants:
- deslorellin implantsthe most common, which prevents the release of hormones and ovulation for 16 to 37 months;
- melatonin implantswhich suppresses fertility for 60 days (if inserted during ovulation) to 113 days (if inserted outside of ovulation).
The cat may have a localized inflammatory reaction in the area where the device was implanted, but this resolves within a few days. Be careful, because you have to wait 12 weeks for the implant to be effective, which is why you should separate the cat from the males to avoid any mating during this time.
Spaying is a permanent solution to contraception and is what most vets generally recommend. If it requires a greater investment at the time of its realization, it is more economical over time because it is no longer necessary to resort to it. This method is the most effective because cat sterilization consists of a process called ovaryWhich is characterized by the removal of the female genitals.
A cat can be spayed from the age of six months. It is not necessary to wait until you get a stretcher for the procedure. In addition, it should be noted that this contraceptive solution significantly reduces the risk of health problems. If surgery is performed on a cat between the ages of six months and two years, her risk of one day developing a mammary tumor is actually reduced by almost 11 times!
Ovariectomy is a simple, quick and common operation. The vet conducts a consultation before the surgery and then the cat is placed under general anesthesia at the time of the intervention. The process takes longer than castration of a male, but the cat recovers very quickly and so does the cat. The vet then checks for the absence of complications and good absorption of the sutures during one or more post-operative visits.
Remember that this process is final. The cat will not be able to fertilize and will no longer suffer from any effects of heat, especially in connection with behavioral disturbances.
Cat contraception: what are the consequences? What are the risks?
If the fact of putting a cat under contraceptives makes it possible to avoid the risks of fertilization and reduce or eliminate behavioral disturbances in periods of heat, then these various solutions are not without consequences or side effects.
Sterilization and side effects
Sterilization is a permanent solution, but as with any surgery, it comes with risks. However, it is a simple and common operation, with a very rare risk of complications when performed on a healthy cat.
On the other hand, the female can gain weight afterwards due to her reduced physical activity and the metabolic changes it causes. Thus it is recommended to prefer a suitable diet for sterilized cats and less calories and to stimulate them regularly through play to encourage them to do more.
Finally, the lack of activity caused by spaying can increase the risk of urinary tract infection and kidney stones, which is why it is recommended to encourage the cat to drink more, especially by mixing a solid diet (kibble) with wet food (pure food).
Hormonal birth control and health risks
The use of hormonal contraceptive solutions carries several risks to the health of the cat, as mentioned. In fact, the hormonal components of contraceptives have a significant effect that can promote the development of:
- Uterine infections
- diabetes sugar
- breast tumors
- Behavioral disorders (apathy, aggressiveness, etc.).
Moreover, most of these solutions cannot be given to cats that have already been in heat at least once. So the risk of pregnancy is possible during these early periods if no measures are taken. Also, a cat can spit out the pill easily or dispose of it through vomiting or diarrhea.