Young Marley heavily pregnant

It goes without saying, desexing prevents the devastating destruction of unwanted kittens and puppies that end up in shelters and rescue facilities, but there are also important medical and behavioural benefits to consider. Given that it is kitten season, we will focus on cats today.

Marley, pictured, is a female Burmese cross that was rescued from a pound in Mildura. When rescued she was already heavily pregnant and only 10 months old. Marley was fostered until she gave birth to seven kittens. As Marley was so young and had such a large litter she needed extra nutritional support to keep her healthy so she could provide milk for her kittens. Once the kittens were weaned Marley was then speyed and all her kittens once old enough were desexed. Marley and all her kittens have now been placed in fantastic permanent homes.

Entire female cats (queens) come into oestrus otherwise referred to as ‘heat' or ‘call' many times a season. Each oestrus lasts approximately one week and if a female cat is not mated she will usually return to oestrus from 1 day to 2 weeks later. This cycle continues for several cycles or until a cat is mated. Exactly when a cat comes into oestrus is controlled by the season of the year (day length), the cat's breed and body weight. The signs of oestrus in a cat are mainly behavioural. They become very affectionate and vocal, demand attention and roll frequently. When stroked they raise their rear quarters and tread the ground with their back legs.

Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not always best for female cats to have one litter before being spayed.

Some of the important benefits of desexing:

  • Reduces a tomcats tendency to roam.
  • Reduces a tomcats tendency to spray and mark.
  • Desexed male cats are less likely to fight which reduces the likelihood of cat bite infections such as cat abscesses and the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
  • Mammary tumours and womb infections are far more common in cats that have had kittens.
  • An important role in controlling feline overpopulation. Sadly, there are simply not enough homes for all cats awaiting adoption, and each year, millions of unwanted kittens and cats are put to sleep.