Can You Spay a Pregnant Cat? Is It Safe? (2023)

I am sure you have heard about spaying cats to prevent an unwanted population of kittens.

There are already numerous orphan kittens who long for shelter, so spaying a cat before they reach their mating age is the best way to avoid this situation.

However, if your cat gets pregnant, what then?

You must be thinking if fixing her while she is carrying babies would be the correct thing or not. Or would the procedure be safe for your cat in that situation?

To clear your doubts, why not read this article?

Can You Spay a Pregnant Cat? Is It Safe? (1)

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Can You Spay A Cat That Just Got Pregnant?

Yes, you can spay a cat that just got pregnant. However, it’ll cause an emotional influx in the mother cat after having her embryos removed.

Most pet owners do not get the hint of their cat’s pregnancy when they take them to get spayed.

Euthanasia of the embryos is a part of spaying a pregnant cat, an idea that could elicit strong feelings.

Although some may consider the euthanasia of embryos to be more ethical than having to put healthy adult animals to sleep because of a lack of space and resources, shelters must carefully allocate their resources.

Is It Safe To Spay A Pregnant Cat?

Can You Spay a Pregnant Cat? Is It Safe? (2)

Yes, it is very safe to perform a spay while pregnant.

Females who are pregnant and have an abortion are frequently given extra attention and liquid after the procedure. The trap requires a typical 48 hours for recovery.

To know in detail the necessity of spaying, let’s take a look at its pros and cons:


  • A pregnant cat that has been rescued and spayed will aid in reducing the overpopulation issue.
  • Spaying very young or very old pregnant cats can improve their chances of adoption and excellent health, as well as lower the risk of orphaned babies, who have a low chance of survival and demand a lot of care.
  • For the enormous number of homeless cats, there aren’t enough homes.
  • A pregnant cat that has been rescued will spend significantly less time at the shelter if she is spayed and will be available for adoption much sooner.
  • Shelters must make difficult decisions regarding which animals to save and which to put down when room and resources are limited. Euthanasia is avoided by spaying.


  • Some could claim that because kittens are so adoptable and popular, they will always find homes.
  • Some animal rights activists believe that because it is a natural action that is essential to their lifecycles, letting a pregnant animal give birth and caring for her young is more ethical.
  • As a result of their large foster networks, many are able to place pregnant cats in foster homes until their kittens are weaned, preventing them from consuming vital shelter space and resources.

As you can see for yourself, the pros of spaying outweigh the cons, so it is desirable to get your cat spayed.

Do Vets Check For Pregnancy Before Spaying?

Yes. If the pet’s caregiver has a doubt regarding this, the vet will check for pregnancy before spaying.

After verifying whether or not the cat is pregnant, a veterinarian will examine her to see if sterilization is safe.

Early in the pregnancy—as early as day 15—an ultrasound can be utilized to diagnose a cat pregnancy. The vet may also be able to tell you how many babies your cat is expecting if she is pregnant by day 40.

This operation is carried out by numerous vets on pregnant cats. The mother’s uterus and ovaries will be entirely removed during this treatment, preventing the kittens from growing.

How Far Along Can You Spay A Pregnant Cat?

Can You Spay a Pregnant Cat? Is It Safe? (3)
(Video) Should We Spay Pregnant Cats?

The gestation period for cats is 65 days.

The decision to spay pregnant cats will probably be left up to the veterinarian.

When a mother cat’s kittens are regularly consuming canned food, usually between the ages of 5 and 6 weeks, the mother can undergo spaying surgery. After 24 to 30 hours following a spay procedure, a mother can be brought back to her kittens to nurse them.

Claws should be cut if you have the kittens indoors and are able to do so to stop them from clawing Mom’s fresh sutures.

This means that in kill shelters, they will be killed after having some experience with life, which may seem more brutal than having an abortion earlier.

Does Spaying A Pregnant Cat Kill The Kittens?

The spaying process is more difficult if the cat is already pregnant because it also includes removing and killing the kittens.

However, some veterinarians will attempt to save the kittens if the pregnancy is advanced.

The proponents of animal rights view this practice as unethical.

If you look at it positively, stopping an accidental litter could also help reduce the death of alive cats and kittens.

Even when a pregnant female cat is adopted by the finder and her babies have loving homes waiting for them, some individuals still believe that each of those kittens contributed to the death of a domestic cat.

Can A Pregnant Cat Be Spayed And Still Have Kittens?

What if it’s a yes?

Rarely, your cat may have had spaying, but only one of the tubes was tied properly.

Although this might make a cat’s pregnancy more difficult, it’s still possible that your cat will give birth to a healthy litter of kittens if she’s expecting.

But the most common cases prove that spayed cats cannot get pregnant.
Fixed cats have their ovaries and uterus removed. This makes them infertile and so they can’t bear children anymore.

Also, because your queen does not have her reproductive organs anymore, the hormone estrogen is not produced and she will not go into heat either.

Find out more details: Can A Spayed/Fixed Cat Get Pregnant?

What Happens If You Spay A Pregnant Cat?

Can You Spay a Pregnant Cat? Is It Safe? (4)

Aborting the growing kittens is a part of spaying a pregnant cat.

By terminating a cat’s pregnancy, more kittens won’t end up in overcrowded foster homes, shelters, and adoption facilities.

By doing this, cats who are already in the system are given more time to find their forever homes rather than being put to death.

Spaying a pregnant cat, meanwhile, can be traumatic to some individuals. They think it’s fine to let the pregnancy progress to term and to neuter the female cat once the kittens have been delivered.

Things to consider if you don’t want to spay your cat:

1. Cat’s Age

One of the main health issues with pregnancy is your cat’s age.

You run the risk of jeopardizing both the lives of the mother cat and the unborn kittens if your cat isn’t healthy enough to carry them to term. The safest course of action for pregnant cats who are too young or old to give birth is to abort the baby.

2. Number Of Days The Cat Is Pregnant

It’s crucial to take her stage of pregnancy into account if you manage to discover the pregnancy early enough.

There is, in the opinion of many, a threshold beyond which spaying a pregnant cat should be avoided. People are less likely to support the idea of aborting unborn kittens the closer the cat comes to full term.

(Video) FAQ: Can you spay a pregnant cat?

If a cat is pregnant and her due date is approaching, many shelters and rescues will occasionally allow her to give birth.

3. Availability Of Foster Homes

You can determine whether it’s a good idea to let your cat’s pregnancy continue if there is adequate curiosity.

The young kittens will be able to escape long stays in shelters or being abandoned on the streets if they can find safe, loving homes.

4. Accountability

Four to six kittens can be born in a litter of cats. As a result, small or low-income households can have difficulty managing them.

Even if you may have found homes for your kittens, you shouldn’t take them away from their mother too soon. This indicates that you are in charge of the first 8 weeks of care.

If you choose to have the kittens spayed or neutered before letting them go to their new homes, you should also take into account the expense of that procedure.

You must also consider the welfare of the mother cat. You’ll have to attend to all of her requirements when she’s pregnant and assist her in caring for her newborn kittens.

Interesting Read: Can A Spayed Cat Nurse Kittens?

What Are The Side Effects Of Spaying A Pregnant Cat?

  • Any cat may experience an unanticipated adverse response after receiving any medication or anesthesia.
  • If a blood vessel ligature breaks or comes loose after the abdomen has been closed, internal bleeding may result.
  • The most frequent causes of post-operative infection in cats are excessive licking or being in a wet environment.
  • On rare occasions, the body will respond to particular surgical suture materials. This leads to a draining wound or tract, which can develop weeks or even months after the surgery.
  • A seroma is an incision-related, somewhat painless pocket of transparent fluid. It has serum within that has seeped beneath the skin.

How Does A Spayed Pregnant Cat Recover?

Depending on the specifics of their situation, queens need anywhere from 48 to 72 hours to recover.

After 24 hours of recovery from surgery, you can take nursing mothers back home so they can tend to their kittens again.

However, if the cat is pregnant, it is advised to give her a full 72 hours to recover.

How Much Does It Cost To Spay A Pregnant Cat?

  • A feline’s treatment at low-cost clinics often costs less than $100.
  • Even local animal shelters might offer the services in exchange for a contribution or at a greatly reduced cost.
  • For individuals who qualify, many charitable organizations do provide subsidized or free spay/neuter services.
  • In addition to their own free services for the resident animals, some animal shelters even provide help for spay/neuter costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it wrong to spay pregnant cats?

Spaying cats, while they are pregnant, is acceptable, but the procedure’s risks for the queen are greatly increased.

The risk of death during or immediately following surgery increases with the cat’s stage of pregnancy, largely because removing so much blood and body tissue can cause shock.

Additionally, it greatly increases the cat’s risk of developing an infection in its uterine stump. The increased danger is minimal if the cat is only one to two weeks pregnant.

Can a cat in heat be spayed?

It’s best if a cat is fixed before she gets pregnant. So it is absolutely okay to get your cat spayed when she is in heat. Once operated, you won’t have to face the problem of her getting into the heat.

Final Words

I guess this pretty much sums up your doubts.

Tell you in the comment section when you got your cat spayed- before she was pregnant or after?

Did you face any complications with her?

Further Read: When Can I Get My Cat Spayed After Having Kittens?


Need assistance? Ask a Veterinarian Now

Can You Spay a Pregnant Cat? Is It Safe? (8)

Dr. John Davis

(Video) What to Expect When You Spay or Neuter Your Cat | The Cat Butler

John Davis is a passionate cat owner and a seasoned expert in cat health. He has spent over a decade studying and caring for cats and has been a proud cat parent for as long as he can remember.


Is it safe to spay a pregnant cat? ›

Yes, spay surgery can be done on both pregnant and in-heat cats. Pregnant females whose kittens are aborted often receive extra care and fluids following surgery.

When can a mother cat be spayed? ›

One can spay a mother as soon as the kittens or pups are weaned, (5 to 6 weeks for kittens and 4 to 5 weeks for puppies) and because of the risk of pregnancy this should be done.

Do they check if a cat is pregnant before spaying? ›

In other words: Is it standard procedure for veterinarians to check if a cat is pregnant before spaying her? Generally. If you are spaying a cat, the kittens if any would be unwanted anyway...

What should a pregnant cat not do? ›

During her pregnancy, you will want to keep your cat relatively active in order to ensure she is fit for giving birth. Avoid any excessively rowdy activity towards the end of your cat's pregnancy, however. You will need to help her stay calm as she nears her due date, as anything too active could cause her stress.

Can cats be spayed while in heat? ›

According to experts, while it's not ideal, a cat who is in heat can be spayed during her heat cycle. The reason that vets are slightly hesitant to perform this procedure while a cat is in heat is because blood vessels and tissues can become engorged during heat and this can raise the risk of bleeding during surgery.

What does a pregnant cat look like at 6 weeks? ›

Between weeks 4 and 6 of a cat's pregnancy, the foetuses of the future kittens will start to grow rapidly. This brings about significant physical changes for the mother to be: her back hollows out, her pelvis becomes wider and her abdomen swells.

Can I spay my cat if she is nursing? ›

Can a female cat be spayed while lactating? Yes. Mother cats continue to produce milk even after being spayed. The typical recovery time for spay surgery is between 12 and 24 hours.

Does a cat have to be out of heat to be spayed? ›

Cats can be spayed during their heat, however, there is a greater risk of complications. Therefore, it's safer to spay them a week or two after their heat, if possible.

Should I let my cat have kittens before I spay her? ›

A: It's a myth that animals should have a litter or a heat before they are spayed. There are no health benefits to that at all, and it's a much easier medical procedure if you spay before the first heat.

How much is a cat pregnancy test? ›

Vahrenwald says the relaxin test will cost owners about $200–$250. "They're not typically reasonable or feasible for owners to do," she says. She says it costs less if you determine pregnancy by watching for weight gain or behavior changes, though she recommends spaying your cat to prevent pregnancy altogether.

Do they take a cat uterus when spaying? ›

Spaying is the common term used to describe the surgical procedure known as an ovariohysterectomy. In this procedure, the ovaries and uterus are removed completely in order to sterilize a female cat.

Where do you put a cat after spaying? ›

Best Places to Put a Cat After Surgery

“airplane-style” dog crate for their cat's post-op recovery space. These crates often have more than enough room for a bed where a cat can lounge and relax, but not get into too much trouble. A large enough crate should provide space for their litter box and food/water.

What does a pregnant cat need? ›

Kitten food is usually a good choice. Plan on increasing the amount of food provided as your pregnant cat nears her term. Shortly before her due date, provide your cat with a box or similar shelter where she can give birth to and care for her kittens. Line the box with soft blankets or towels.

Can you touch a newborn kitten? ›

Vets recommend not touching kittens unless you have to while their eyes are still closed. You can check on them to make sure they're healthy and gaining weight, but try to limit direct physical contact. The kitten's mother will also let you know how comfortable she is with you handling her babies.

How can I prevent my cat from getting toxoplasmosis? ›

You should follow these helpful tips to reduce your risk of environmental exposure to Toxoplasma:
  1. Avoid changing cat litter if possible. ...
  2. Ensure that the cat litter box is changed daily. ...
  3. Feed your cat commercial dry or canned food, not raw or undercooked meats.
  4. Keep cats indoors.
  5. Avoid stray cats, especially kittens.

What happens if you spay while in heat? ›

- Spaying a dog in heat typically requires up to 30 minutes of additional surgery time, and could require the use of the surgical laser, both of which will increase the cost of the surgery. Taking all of these things into account, if you would like us to spay your dog while it is heat we are glad to do so.

Is it too late to spay my cat? ›

However, if your cat is healthy, these procedures can be done at any point in their life. Therefore, it is never too late to spay or neuter your cat; even healthy cats who are in their teens can undergo this procedure without risk.

How long does an unspayed cat stay in heat? ›

If you don't get your female cat spayed, they're going to go into heat. And if you're experiencing a cat in heat for the first time, you're probably wondering: how long does a cat stay in heat? Typically, a cat will stay in heat for around 3 to 7 days, but this cycle can last as long as 20 days for certain cats.

How many kittens can you have in a first litter? ›

The average litter size for cats is 4 to 6 kittens; however, adolescents, seniors, and first-timers typically have smaller-than-average litters. First-time moms usually only have 2 or 3 kittens.

Does my cat know I'm 4 weeks pregnant? ›

These changes have an effect on your natural scent. While in the beginning, these changes may be negligible, your cat can definitely notice the difference. Therefore, they can be keenly aware of a monumental change — such as pregnancy — even before you find out.

How long does it take for a mother cat to forget her kittens? ›

It usually takes around 10 to 12 weeks from giving birth for a mother cat to forget her kittens. But this does not entirely mean that a mother will have no recollection of her young. This particular period is when the kittens have completed their weaning stage and are old enough to be independent.

How many times can a cat get pregnant in a year? ›

How many times can a cat get pregnant in a year? Technically, cats can get pregnant up to five times a year since their gestation period lasts only for about two months.

What do you feed a mother cat after birth? ›

Nursing mother cats need to eat a high quality kitten formula food. If she is a picky eater, do not hesitate to try feeding her canned tuna, chicken or salmon. Do not give cow's milk to cats, despite popular belief, it is impossible for cat's to digest and often causes serious stomach upset.

Why is my spayed female cat yowling? ›

This can happen at any time after spay surgery, with a delay of months to years. In cats, the signs of heat are primarily behavioral. Signs of heat in cats include increased vocalization (to attract males), restlessness, increased efforts to get outside or escape the home, and increased affection with owners.

What happens if you don't spay an indoor cat? ›

#2 Do It For Their Health

Spaying and neutering will improve your cat's health, reduce the risk of health problems, and should be done as early as possible. Spaying/Neutering early will: Decrease the​ ​risk​ ​of​ ​mammary​ ​carcinoma. Prevent ​diseases​ ​of​ ​the​ ​uterus,​ ​ovaries​ ​and​ ​testes.

What happens if you spay a kitten too early? ›

The main reasons that vets are reluctant to advise early neutering is that they feel there is a higher risk of surgical and anaesthetic problems (Murray et al, 2008), as well as an increased risk of urinary tract problems, growth plate fractures, obesity and behavioural issues (Spain et al, 2004).

Should I keep my kitten in a cage after spay? ›

Recovery Immediately After the Procedure

The impact of the anesthesia may cause your cat to act aggressive or agitated, so keep your distance and don't handle him unless necessary. Keep your cat in a crate or small room to sleep, and make sure he is comfortable and secure.

How do cats nipples look when pregnant? ›

“Pinking up” of the nipples

Prior to pregnancy, cat's nipples are virtually invisible- they are flat, quite light in colour and almost always hidden by their fur. However, a pregnant cat's nipples will appear pinker, showing a visible contrast to how they were before.

What are complications after spaying a cat? ›

However, despite being a routine surgery, minor to major complications can occur and it is important that you are aware of them.
  • Slippage of ligatures and bleeding. ...
  • Haematoma, abscess or seroma. ...
  • Infection and wound breakdown. ...
  • Anaesethetic risk. ...
  • Mild gastro-intestinal upset post surgery that is usually self-limiting.

Do cats know they have been spayed? ›

While they may be groggy from the anesthesia post-op, spayed or neutered pets won't know they've lost the ability to reproduce.

How do you prepare a cat for spaying? ›

You must have an appointment.

Making your appointment online is the fastest and best way. Cats should receive no food after 9 p.m. the night before surgery. Water all night is OK. Keep pets inside the night before their appointment so we can be certain they will not find anything to eat.

Does a cat have to wear a cone after being spayed? ›

Monitoring the Cat Spay Incision

Because of that incision, you shouldn't bathe your cat for 10 days after the surgery, Bierbrier says. And your cat licking the incision can cause infections, so you may need an Elizabethan collar—otherwise known as the dreaded "cone of shame"—to keep her away from it.

Why is my cat laying in the litter box after being spayed? ›

Pain and discomfort are two main reasons that cats hide in their litter box after surgery. Call your veterinarian to discuss the pain medications and any changes needed to the pain-management plan to ensure that your cat is not in pain. Make sure you are following all instructions to restrict your cat's activity.

How long does my cat need to wear a cone after spay? ›

The cone should stay on until the site is fully healed, and/or the sutures are removed. Most sutures and staples are left in for 10-14 days. Other lesions may take less or more time than that to heal completely.

Do cats like to be held when pregnant? ›

Handling and cuddling

From early on in her pregnancy a soon-to-be-mum cat will become more maternal and affectionate due to her hormones; she'll show more love and look to you for comfort. Cuddles and affection are an important part of taking care of your pregnant cat and making her feel safe.

What should I do before my cat gives birth? ›

Preparing for Your Cat to Give Birth

Keep the nest in a warm place and line it with soft blankets or towels (that you won't mind throwing away). Try to find a familiar location to put the box that is quiet and out of the way, and show your cat where the box is situated.

Is tuna good for pregnant cats? ›

Tuna Is High in Mercury

Symptoms of mercury poisoning include dizziness and loss of coordination and balance. Pet parents should keep albacore tuna, in particular, away from cats because it "is from a larger species of tuna with mercury levels almost three times higher (than chunk-light)," says Heinze.

Do mother cats reject their kittens if humans touch them? ›

It is a common misconception that a mother cat will not care for her kittens if they are touched, but don't worry she doesn't mind. However, don't be surprised if they're moved the next time you check on them! If you find neonatal kittens the best thing to do is leave them alone! Mom will most likely come back.

Can I kiss a newborn kitten? ›

Doctors Rudely Warn Public Not to Snuggle Kittens

People get the disease from kitty scratches and bites, yes, but the bacteria can build up in cats' fur and make its way into your body via your nose, eyes, or mouth, if, say, you bury your face in their fluff or touch your face after playing.

How soon can you pick up newborn kittens? ›

Whether or not you intend to put your kittens up for adoption or keep them, you want to socialize the newborns. The Nest suggests gently handling your kittens one at a time starting once they've reached their first week of age, letting mama kitty sniff you first if she's present.

Do you have to touch cat poop to get toxoplasmosis? ›

Cat feces with the parasite.

Cats that hunt or who are fed raw meat are more likely to carry toxoplasma parasites. You may get infected if you touch your mouth after touching anything that has been in contact with cat feces. This may be gardening or cleaning a litter box.

Do most cat owners have toxoplasmosis? ›

Owning a cat does not mean you will be infected with the parasite. It is unlikely that you would be exposed to the parasite by touching an infected cat because cats usually do not carry the parasite on their fur.

What percentage of house cats have toxoplasmosis? ›

The prevalence of oocyst shedding in cats is very low (0-1%), even though at least 15-40% of cats have been infected with Toxoplasma at some point. This means very few cats at any one time are actually able to pass their infection on to people.

How soon after giving birth can a cat go into heat? ›

She will generally come back in to season approximately 8 weeks after the birth of the kittens (with a range of 1-21 weeks)[1]. This usually coincides with the time the kittens are weaned.

Can a cat get pregnant 2 weeks after giving birth? ›

And, a cat can get pregnant again very quickly after giving birth! Nursing her kittens won't prevent pregnancy, and your kitty's next heat may occur just a few weeks after her kittens are born. To prevent another pregnancy, ensure your kitty isn't around any male cats, and talk to your vet about spaying your cat.

How long does it take for a cats milk to dry up? ›

The milk should be completely dried up after a couple of weeks but this is a gradual process. The teats will still be swollen initially and produce milk. Then the milk will stop coming, the swelling will decrease, and after one to two weeks, the mammary glands should no longer be swollen under the teats.

When should I neuter my brother and sister kitten? ›

Cats Protection generally recommends that kittens are neutered at around four months of age or younger – although your cat can be neutered at any age. Neutering is the best way to deal with the problems of unwanted pregnancies, by preventing the problem in the first place.

What do cats do immediately after giving birth? ›

After your momma cat gives birth, you'll want to keep the space clean, quiet, and free of any other animals. Weigh the kittens as soon as mom will allow and continue weighing them daily. Do not take the kittens away from mom while weighing. Instead, bring your grams scale right next to the nest and weigh them there.

How many times do cats mate to get pregnant? ›

Cats are induced ovulators, which means that the act of breeding stimulates the release of eggs from the ovaries. Most females require three to four matings within a 24-hour period for ovulation to occur.

Do cats get pregnant every time they mate? ›

A female may allow up to 30 matings, and studies have shown that if only one single mating is allowed only 50 percent of the queens will get pregnant. Queens are not too particular.

Do cats know when a baby is coming? ›

Yes, it's possible that cats can sense pregnancy even before you have early pregnancy signs. This is due to their excellent and refined sense of smell.

Can kittens stay with their mother forever? ›

It is a common misconception that kittens can be separated from their mothers as early as 8 weeks old. However, kittens separated at this time are still at risk for developmental, social, and health issues. Instead, kittens should remain with their mothers until they are 12-14 weeks old.

What to do with a mother cat that lost her kittens? ›

How can I help my cat cope with grief?
  1. Spend extra time with your cat. ...
  2. Be more affectionate. ...
  3. If your cat enjoys company, invite friends over who will interact with her. ...
  4. Provide entertainment while you are gone. ...
  5. Reinforce good behavior and ignore inappropriate behavior. ...
  6. Consider medical therapy.

What do pregnant cats nipples look like? ›

Prior to pregnancy, cat's nipples are virtually invisible- they are flat, quite light in colour and almost always hidden by their fur. However, a pregnant cat's nipples will appear pinker, showing a visible contrast to how they were before.

Is it better to have 2 sibling kittens? ›

The reason siblings are sometimes encouraged to be adopted together is because that way owners can be fairly confident that the kittens know and trust each other from day one and can skip the (sometimes long and difficult) process of introducing cats to one another or a cat to a kitten.

At what age are kittens safe from Tomcats? ›

Cats aged between two months and four months old, and beyond, should then be fully ready to be integrated into the animal kingdom. Are male cats dangerous for kittens to be around?


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