Information to help you to make the best decision for your cat’s breeding options.
In the male cat, puberty is normally reached by the age of six months. There is no “male pill” in the cat and so the only options are neutering or castration or leaving him entire. Entire males tend to eventually develop antisocial habits such as fighting, vagrancy, failure to groom and a very unpleasant odour! For this reason, most owners elect for neutering and usually have this performed at six months of age, although this can also be done at any later date.
Female cats usually become sexually mature and active at some stage after six months of age. Cats are sexually promiscuous and will seek out and mate with tom cats, usually with a very high breeding success rate. The gestation period for cats is 57 – 63 days and they can get pregnant within six weeks of giving birth. Some queens will have 2 – 3 litters per year with an average of 6 kittens at a time. Before allowing your female cat to breed, one should take into account the risks of pregnancy and of sexually transmitted diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (cat AIDS) and Feline Leukaemia Virus. We would advise that you discuss these points at an appointment with your veterinary surgeon prior to allowing your cat to get pregnant.
There are two forms of medical contraception in cats; tablets and injections. Both are prescription medicines and their use should be discussed with your veterinary surgeon at a consultation which should be undertaken before six months of age. No cat contraceptive is 100% effective and should be seen as a short-term action, not a long term solution.
Speying (ovariohysterectomy) is normally performed at 5 – 6 months of age. A good guide is to have the operation performed at the time when the permanent canines have first started to erupt. The operation removes both the ovaries and the womb. Most owners elect for speying of their female cats once they are sure that they do not wish them to have kittens.
Many vets recommend that both male and female cats have an adolescent health examination and a blood profile prior to neutering and speying to ensure that they are in good health prior to any surgical procedure.