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Can You Spay a Pregnant Cat? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Recommendations

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

pregnant cat

Can You Spay a Pregnant Cat? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Recommendations


Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet) Photo


Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re in a situation where you are asking this question, odds are you either have a rescue on your hands or, somehow, didn’t realize your pet wasn’t spayed—which can happen.

When it comes to safety and spaying a pregnant cat, in regard to the mother, yes, generally speaking, it is reasonably safe to spay a pregnant cat. Of course, the pregnant cat isn’t the only consideration, and this is where some people find that things can get more complicated.

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Does Spaying a Cat Terminate the Pregnancy?

While spaying the mother cat while she is pregnant is generally safe for her, the fact is that it will abort the fetus. We realize that this is a really disturbing thought for many people and that this is a red line they won’t be willing to cross. To that end, we’re going to lay out the facts objectively and respectably and let readers come to their own decisions.

What Are the Consequences of Not Spaying a Cat?

Finding homes for an entire litter of cats is a huge challenge, and quite often, the supply far exceeds the demand. While it would be amazing, in a perfect world, if we could guarantee good homes and lives for those kittens, in the real world, they often end up either on the streets or in shelters—neither of which is a good existence for a domesticated animal.

Sadly, very often, the humane thing to do is to abort the litter and spare several sentient beings a life of suffering. Some will find this decision easier than others, and personal beliefs do have their role to play, so we’ll leave it at this. If you can guarantee responsible care for the entire litter, then what’s to stop you from holding off?

With that said, there is a common myth that it is better for the mother to wait until she has birthed a litter to be spayed. This misconception has been dispelled. Breeding is hard on the body, so it is best to have the operation done before the cat has reached the age of sexual maturity. Of course, this kind of foresight isn’t always possible:

grey mother cat nursing kittens
Image Credit: Rashid Valitov, Shutterstock

Can I Spay My Cat When She’s in Heat?

The short answer is yes. However, it isn’t ideal for the vet as the cervix and uterus of the cat become swollen and engorged. This makes the procedure more demanding, however, most vets will have no problem carrying it out. Spaying a cat in heat is a better option than spaying a cat who has a full litter on the way, so it is beneficial, albeit not the greatest circumstance.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From Spaying?

A healthy and young cat takes about 14 days to heal. That’s based on the length of time that it takes the incision to close. Most cats are back to their normal selves a few days after surgery. However, if your cat is pregnant, older, in heat, or has had complications, then they may take a little longer to bounce back.

It’s vitally important to restrict their movements, and to this end, using a kennel can be helpful. They also must wear a cone for the entire time that they are healing. This is because if they get at their sutures, it can cause infections, they can reopen the incision, and you’ll be heading back to the vet. It’s not a good time, so have some patience, don’t give in to their demands (yet!), and soon enough, your little one will be healed up and back to her normal self.

Cat spayed
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

divider-catclaw1 Final Thoughts

Depending on your particular circumstances, the answer to whether to spay can go either way. If you’ve found yourself posed with the difficult question of whether to spay a pregnant cat, we hope this helps you to reach the rightmost responsible decision for you and your cat. Best of luck!

Featured Image Credit: fabiansaragoza, Pixabay

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