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With the abundance of homeless cats in the world, spaying and neutering remain to be the leading solutions for the problem.
Although some people don’t believe in fixing animals, many owners have embraced the idea wholeheartedly. Fixing stops the addition of more kittens to the already populated pool.
Spaying removes the uterus along with the ovaries and the reproductive tract. That means pregnancy is not a possibility.
So, when your lovely pet who is already spayed, displays signs of pregnancy, you’ll be confused.
Does it mean the cat is actually expecting kittens? Could she be suffering from something else?
Most importantly, should you be worried?
We have explained the answers to these questions below.
1. False Pregnancy
Right off the bat, you should know that a spayed cat cannot get pregnant. For one, there are no ovaries to be fertilized.
Even if by any magic the ovaries are still present, there are no fallopian tubes to travel to the womb through.
Speaking of the womb, a spayed cat doesn’t have one. With all these organs missing, there’s absolutely no way a fixed cat can have a litter.
With that in mind, the most likely reason a cat appears to be expecting is that she displays false pregnancy symptoms. In case you didn’t know, there’s such a thing as false pregnancy in the feline world.
Also called pseudocyesis, pseudopregnancy, or phantom pregnancy, false pregnancy is a situation where a queen shows all pregnancy symptoms without being pregnant. This phenomenon occurs when a cat doesn’t conceive after ovulating.
Under normal circumstances, pseudocyesis happens when an infertile male mates with an unsprayed cat. Her body will produce corpus leteum, making her body think she’s pregnant.
What happens is that she will have all the symptoms including enlarged breasts, pink nipples, behavioral changes, nesting, and withdrawal.
Hormonal imbalances trigger the mammary glands to produce breast milk. You may notice other symptoms such as self-nursing, weight gain, a swollen abdomen, loss of appetite, and vaginal discharge.
Take the cat to the vet
While false pregnancy in cats is caused by a hormonal imbalance, it can also be caused by uterine and/or breast cancer as well as an infection of the uterus.
The last two causes are pretty serious. For the pet’s safety, you have to bring her to the vet for diagnosis.
She will likely undergo physical tests, X-rays, ultrasounds, urinalysis, and blood count to get to the root of the problem.
If cancer or an infection is causing phantom pregnancy, the vet will offer the necessary treatment solution.
They may perform surgery or administer hormonal supplements to correct imbalances.
2. Prior Pregnancy
Any chance your cat got spayed when she was already pregnant? If you recently adopted an already spayed kitty, she might have undergone an abortion.
Ultimately, she will display symptoms for a while longer. It takes some time for the body to realize that the kitty is not expecting litter anymore.
Spaying a pregnant cat is equated to abortion. When a pregnancy is terminated, the surge of hormones will take a while before dying down.
Abortion in cats can happen at any gestation stage. Early and mid-term fixes are most common but late spaying can be done as well.
The symptoms should die soon when the body catches up with what’s happening.
However, since you cannot tell what’s going on, you might want to talk to the vet about it.
Let them run some tests on the cat and determine if she was expecting or not.
3. Ovarian Remnant Syndrome
Ovarian Remnant Syndrome (OVS) is a situation where ovarian tissue is left behind after spaying.
If you recall biology 101, ovaries are responsible for producing several hormones, one of which is estrogen.
If ovarian tissue remains inside a cat’s body after spaying, she may still have some estrogen which in turn triggers heat signs.
In most cases, tissue is left behind after surgery. However, a small piece can break off and lodge somewhere. If it is strong enough, it will command blood supply and start making hormones.
The number one sign of ORS in cats is estrus. A queen will go into heat just like her unspayed counterparts.
She will vocalize more, escape the home, show increased affection, and act restless.
Some cats will have a discharge and others will have decreased appetite. Sometimes it can be hard to know if your cat is on heat or pregnant.
What to do
Ovarian remnant syndrome needs medical help. If it is not solved, your kitty will go into estrus many times in her life. She will suffer the side effects of estrus for no reason at all.
Most importantly, going into heat can trigger mammary gland cancer, infections, and ovarian tumors.
To be safe, let the vet perform diagnostic tests on her. These include vaginal cytology (taking a swab of the cat’s vagina during heat), baseline hormone levels, ultrasound, and a hormone stimulation test.
After the vet discovers the presence of ovarian tissue, they will surgically remove it.
The procedure can only be performed when the cat is in heat. The reason is that during estrus, the remnant tissue is more visible.
Rarely does a spayed cat display symptoms of pregnancy.
If she does, it could be because she was expectant during spaying.
Either way, you need to take the pet to the vet.
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.