If you didn't intend to breed your cat, finding out she's pregnant can be a shock you don't want to repeat again. The best way to prevent pregnancies is to have your kitty spayed and explore pet desexing options. But if she's already pregnant, how long do you have to wait until you can have her spayed? It's possible to spay during pregnancy, during nursing, and after nursing—here's all you need to know about each option.
Spaying a Cat When She's Pregnant
Contrary to popular belief, it's possible to spay a cat when she's pregnant. However, the is one very important thing you need to keep in mind—spaying will terminate the pregnancy. This is because spaying involves removing the ovaries and uterus, leaving no place for the kittens to grow. If you don't want to keep your cat's accidental litter, you can choose to have her spayed before the birth. However, it's best to do this as early as possible, as the swelling that occurs during pregnancy can increase the risk of blood loss. Your vet will take your cat's health and pregnancy stage into account when determining whether the procedure is a good idea.
Spaying Your Cat When She's Nursing
If you want to keep your cat's accidental litter, you'll want to have her spayed after the pregnancy. Technically, it's possible to book her in for the procedure soon after the birth when she's still nursing the kittens. However, this is not recommended for a number of reasons. First, there'll be a risk of excess bleeding during surgery. This is due to the increased blood supply when a cat is nursing. This can complicate the procedure, and a lot of blood loss can have serious effects on your cat's health.
Another issue is that some cats may produce less milk after their spay procedure, which can lead to the kittens becoming malnourished. Finally, there's the pain problem. The first few days after being spayed, your cat is likely to experience pain—particularly during nursing. As a result, many cats refuse to nurse their kittens after being spayed, and taking care of rejected kittens can be very difficult. All in all, it's best to avoid spaying your cat while she's still lactating.
Spaying Your Cat When She's Done Nursing
If you're happy to allow your cat's pregnancy to go ahead, the best time to spay her is once she's completely done nursing. This typically happens when the kittens around 6 to 7 weeks old. You can have your cat spayed when the kittens are around 5 weeks old and already eating solid food, but note that you'll need to give your cat a day or so to recover before returning her to the kittens to nurse them.