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When it comes to feline sexuality, things are always moving so fast.
In addition, cats can get pregnant soon after they get a litter. Don’t imagine that your adorable kitty will take forever to get back in the game after giving birth. You’d be shocked to see tomcats around your home even when she’s nursing.
All this is to say that if you are not interested in breeding your cat, you need to spay.
But if you just found out that she’s pregnant and is going to be a momma soon, you need to wait for a little while. The question is: for how long?
You don’t want her turning up expectant again. That is what we will tackle in this post.
What Does Spaying Entail?
The word spaying is quite common yet many people are unaware of what it entails.
Simply put, spaying, or ovariohysterectomy, is the process of fixing a female cat or dog by removing her uterus and both ovaries.
The procedure is done under general anesthesia. Once your cat is knocked out, the vet will create a tiny incision mostly in the abdominal midline below the umbilicus.
Next, they will remove both ovaries and the uterus thereby sterilizing the cat.
After that comes the action of closing the incision using a number of layers of sutures.
Skin sutures may be placed and removed about a week later.
How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Get Pregnant After Giving Birth?
As mentioned earlier, cats spring back into action so fast after pregnancy.
Nature has designed that queens can go into heat about four weeks after having a litter of their own. This is in place to ensure the continuation of the feline species.
At this point, the kittens will start being weaned giving the momma time to look around. You may notice the obvious heat signals—vocalizing, presence of a discharge, being in distress, and the tendency to escape.
Without fixing the cat, things may take you by surprise.
Without mating, a cat will not be ovulated. It is the male’s barbed penis that stimulates ovulation. This means that if your kitty doesn’t mate, she will not ovulate.
In a few days, her hormone levels will drop and the estrus cycle will pass.
If you don’t have plans to spay, consider caging the cat until the mating season passes.
Please note that cats on heat can be real feisty. You will have to watch your cat round the clock to ensure she stays put.
Spaying During Nursing
Spaying can be done at any stage of the cat’s life—nursing included. However, most vets would rather wait until after weaning to do it.
At the nursing stage, your cat’s mammary glands will be swollen as her body produces milk around the clock.
Turns out this can complicate the surgery and many vets prefer to wait until the kittens are weaned to make things easy.
Plus, a nursing cat needs her head in the game of feeding her babies. She doesn’t have time to spend a day or two at the hospital in case something goes wrong.
If she were to have complications from anesthesia, her kittens will suffer greatly.
When Can A Cat Be Spayed After Giving Birth?
From the information above, it is clear that you need to act fast after your kitty has kittens.
If you wait around, your adorable kitty may have kittens again. This is especially true if you are right in the smack of the mating season.
Typically, you want to wait until the cat weans her young ones before you take the momma cat for spaying.
According to the ASPCA, kittens can be weaned when they are about four weeks old.
At this point, you can separate the young ones from the momma cat a few hours at a given time. They can start taking runny and soft kitten food as they still nurse until they are totally independent.
The weaning stage is when you should consider spaying your queen. You want to do this right at the onset of weaning to catch her before she goes into heat and mates.
After spaying, the momma cat will still be able to produce milk to keep nursing her kittens. However, you will need to step up and take care of the young ones.
Remember that the spaying procedure can take a toll on the queen. Her body will be slightly sore. She will have a bandage on her abdomen. Her emotions will be a little out of whack as she makes sense of everything.
As such, she may not be able to give her young the care they need.
Be there for each kitten and monitor their feeding.
You may need to bottle feed when momma goes in for spaying.
Hopefully, she will still be in a position to nurse after the procedure. If not, keep bottle feeding until the kittens are completely weaned which will be about 8-10 weeks of age, says ASPCA.
Kittens are cute and all but they are a lot of work. Plus, with the overpopulation of cats in the world, there’s no need to add more innocent kittens that may end up without a home.
The best solution is to spay and neuter kitties whenever possible. As soon as your cat’s kittens are weaned, step in and have the cat spayed.
Hi! I am Eleanor Price. I started this website after my cat, Louie, almost died from a case of botulism (a type of food poisoning often caused by bacteria that grow on food items). Turned out that my cat’s diet was the problem. I have made it my duty to provide the best information and recommendations about everything cat lovers need to know about their felines’ health and wellbeing. My goal is to find the most informative content on anything feline-related and share it with fellow hardworking kitty lovers.
Disclaimer: While I ensure that the advice and tips given here are in line with the latest evidence-based veterinary information and health guidelines, under no circumstance should you misconstrue my suggestions as medical advice. Please contact your veterinarian in all matters regarding your kitty’s health.