Caring for my unfixed cats

gemmamiso

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
Messages
96
Purraise
75
I rescued a 12 year old male cat from the street in June, and a 1 month old female cat from the street in September. She is around 3 months old now. Both of them are unfixed, and I have a spay appt. for the kitten in 3 months (it’s the earliest one I could get, as spaying at our vet would cost $600, and I’m a college student who is low income). I realize it may have been irresponsible for me to take in two cats, especially since they are opposite sex/unfixed, but both were going to die if I didn’t take them in (they were both very sick) and they are much happier living inside my apartment. The female cat hasn’t reached sexual maturity yet, I don’t think, but I am scared about what will happen in the next three months before she is spayed. Will she go into heat, since it’s winter? Should I keep them separate for now, even though she hasn’t reached maturity? I know it happens around the 4 month mark… I have never dealt with a cat in heat before, so any advice would be very appreciated. My apartment has two bedrooms, so keeping them separate is possible. Should I just spend the $600 and get her spayed now? Financially, that would be very hard, but I could make it work if I budget very well. The vet who is three months away only costs $126, but I am willing to spend more if this is going to cause a lot of trouble.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #2

gemmamiso

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
Messages
96
Purraise
75
P.S. I don’t want to neuter the male cat b/c he doesn’t display any behavioral issues as a result of not being neutered, and I don’t want to put him through the stress of a major surgery at his age. He is already in kind of rough shape after living on the street for 12 years, so I fear that neutering him might push his body too far.
 

tiggerwillow

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Sep 6, 2022
Messages
252
Purraise
497
Not sure if you're in the UK, some of the rescue charities here will offer low cost and sometimes even free, spaying and neutering - Cats Protection for example

Can you look into whether any charities near you will offer low cost or free spaying/neutering?
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4

gemmamiso

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
Messages
96
Purraise
75
Not sure if you're in the UK, some of the rescue charities here will offer low cost and sometimes even free, spaying and neutering - Cats Protection for example

Can you look into whether any charities near you will offer low cost or free spaying/neutering?
I’m in the US. Unfortunately, thanks to COVID, the Humane Society is still backed up and isn’t taking any new appointments for 6 months, so this was the best alternative I could find :(
 

catapault

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Oct 5, 2010
Messages
3,070
Purraise
7,242
Even if your male cat is well mannered right now, that is likely to change when your little female goes into heat. Which can occur at 4 or 5 months. Spay surgery for a female cat is major abdominal surgery. Neutering a male cat is not major surgery. It is why neutering a male cat costs less than spaying a female.

He will be be given an anaesthetic (my vet uses a reversible injection) then scrotum is shaved, small slit, remove testes. Repeat on other side. Incision is so small it doesn't even need stitches. Inject reversal agent and he'll wake right up.
 

tiggerwillow

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Sep 6, 2022
Messages
252
Purraise
497
Can you keep both cats completely seperate, when the female is in heat? If so, then the 3 month away vet could work (particularly as it sounds that the £600 vet would leave you short - particularly as the male cat is 12 and could have health problems from his rough time before you rescued him

i had a cat who was estimated 7 years old who had a rough start and rescue took her in at the age of 2, vet didn't think she would make it beyond the age of 4, her health problems was that bad, she made it to the age of 7 (some of that time being in the rescue, just over 4 years with me), i still miss her years later, she got a cancer in the end, reason I'm bringing her up in this conversation is cause you don't know what the male was exposed to, so if you got the female spayed at the £600 vet, what would you do if the male got sick from anything he got exposed to when he was living on the streets? How would you manage financially?
 

JamesCalifornia

Mr.Mom to a house of cats 😇😼
Top Cat
Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
3,619
Purraise
6,860
Location
Los Angeles
The female cat hasn’t reached sexual maturity yet, I don’t think, but I am scared about what will happen in the next three months before she is spayed.
~ Try not to worry so much. Even if something does "happen" girl kitty will soon be sterilized and any fetus aborted. Several years ago when I was in the cat rescue/adoption learning curve this happened to me.
DO NOT pay $600. !! Lucky that you have the low-cost clinic.
You did the humane thing to bring those cats into your care. They will soon be part of your family. :hellocomputer::winkcat:💕
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8

gemmamiso

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
Messages
96
Purraise
75
Even if your male cat is well mannered right now, that is likely to change when your little female goes into heat. Which can occur at 4 or 5 months. Spay surgery for a female cat is major abdominal surgery. Neutering a male cat is not major surgery. It is why neutering a male cat costs less than spaying a female.

He will be be given an anaesthetic (my vet uses a reversible injection) then scrotum is shaved, small slit, remove testes. Repeat on other side. Incision is so small it doesn't even need stitches. Inject reversal agent and he'll wake right up.
I know the spay is a major surgery compared to the neuter, but since he had such a rough past that we know nothing about, I don’t want to put him through surgery. He is very particular about being touched, too, so I don’t know how we will care for him if anything goes wrong with the incision. If the female is spayed, I think he will be fine to remain unneutered. And I will keep them totally separate until then. Thank you for your advice— I hope I’m making an ok decision.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

gemmamiso

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
Messages
96
Purraise
75
Can you keep both cats completely seperate, when the female is in heat? If so, then the 3 month away vet could work (particularly as it sounds that the £600 vet would leave you short - particularly as the male cat is 12 and could have health problems from his rough time before you rescued him

i had a cat who was estimated 7 years old who had a rough start and rescue took her in at the age of 2, vet didn't think she would make it beyond the age of 4, her health problems was that bad, she made it to the age of 7 (some of that time being in the rescue, just over 4 years with me), i still miss her years later, she got a cancer in the end, reason I'm bringing her up in this conversation is cause you don't know what the male was exposed to, so if you got the female spayed at the £600 vet, what would you do if the male got sick from anything he got exposed to when he was living on the streets? How would you manage financially?
4 years with you is amazing. Thank you so much for telling me about this— I am sure now that I should wait the three months.
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
10,277
Purraise
58,169
Location
United States
I understand the dilemma. You are doing very well with everything! I had so many in a colony to deal with, it was often just finding any help or resource that I could find in the earliest days. That’s how I eventually found this site and it has been a great way to get and share information as well as support!
I would offer this tip. Get on any waiting list possible. Sometimes there are cancellations and you can move things up. You can always cancel later if you don’t need the appointment. Alley Cat Allies and Bestfriends.org are also places to look for information and you can do a Google search for stray cat spay that might turn something up but it sounds like you have what you need for her in place.The Humane Society may offer immunizations along with spay or neuter (if you decide to neuter) I started with the females myself to stop an increase in population but because there were well over a hundred and counting, I had to start with one. I had males and females inside so I separated them. I found large cages and carriers anywhere I could to help temporarily if someone came into heat. Yard sales, friends, estate sales etc. often had crates or carriers for bargain prices. It helped. It bought me some time. It took years for me to vet the hundred plus but it finally happened. Almost all were feral so it also meant socializing as many as I could for adoption since none could be released into the previous location. The male you have may very well become more social and less wary of being touched. This may be a gradual process but many here became completely trusting and most even learned to enjoy other human contact. I learned early that using a carrier or cage as a nice little napping place or sanctuary for these cats made my life easier later. Lol These days when a vet visit is needed, the cats hide in a carrier and all I have to do it to close the door and go. (Wish I had done that from the start! Lol) After a vet exam, they instantly go right back into the carrier. I still offer catnip, treats or food in carriers to make sure the kitties still love their “bedrooms”. For your male, this may become very helpful. They feel safe and secure if their little sanctuary travels with them. I do not think that saving lives is irresponsible. Not only did you save these two but preventing more births from either reproducing adult means many dozens more have been saved. You start by taking this one step at a time and by being committed to the best care you can give to their lifetime. I think you will find them to be the most grateful and devoted of companions to you. If only everyone would make the commitment to help one or two, the numbers of ferals and strays would be ended. Bravo!
 

JamesCalifornia

Mr.Mom to a house of cats 😇😼
Top Cat
Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
3,619
Purraise
6,860
Location
Los Angeles
I had so many in a colony to deal with, it was often just finding any help or resource that I could find in the earliest days. That’s how I eventually found this site and it has been a great way to get and share information as well as support!
~ I hear that ! The learning curve is a tough time for us "Cat People" ... :sigh: :redcat:
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

gemmamiso

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
Messages
96
Purraise
75
I understand the dilemma. You are doing very well with everything! I had so many in a colony to deal with, it was often just finding any help or resource that I could find in the earliest days. That’s how I eventually found this site and it has been a great way to get and share information as well as support!
I would offer this tip. Get on any waiting list possible. Sometimes there are cancellations and you can move things up. You can always cancel later if you don’t need the appointment. Alley Cat Allies and Bestfriends.org are also places to look for information and you can do a Google search for stray cat spay that might turn something up but it sounds like you have what you need for her in place.The Humane Society may offer immunizations along with spay or neuter (if you decide to neuter) I started with the females myself to stop an increase in population but because there were well over a hundred and counting, I had to start with one. I had males and females inside so I separated them. I found large cages and carriers anywhere I could to help temporarily if someone came into heat. Yard sales, friends, estate sales etc. often had crates or carriers for bargain prices. It helped. It bought me some time. It took years for me to vet the hundred plus but it finally happened. Almost all were feral so it also meant socializing as many as I could for adoption since none could be released into the previous location. The male you have may very well become more social and less wary of being touched. This may be a gradual process but many here became completely trusting and most even learned to enjoy other human contact. I learned early that using a carrier or cage as a nice little napping place or sanctuary for these cats made my life easier later. Lol These days when a vet visit is needed, the cats hide in a carrier and all I have to do it to close the door and go. (Wish I had done that from the start! Lol) After a vet exam, they instantly go right back into the carrier. I still offer catnip, treats or food in carriers to make sure the kitties still love their “bedrooms”. For your male, this may become very helpful. They feel safe and secure if their little sanctuary travels with them. I do not think that saving lives is irresponsible. Not only did you save these two but preventing more births from either reproducing adult means many dozens more have been saved. You start by taking this one step at a time and by being committed to the best care you can give to their lifetime. I think you will find them to be the most grateful and devoted of companions to you. If only everyone would make the commitment to help one or two, the numbers of ferals and strays would be ended. Bravo!
one hundred!! I can’t believe you saved, fixed, and socialized that many cats. That is incredible. I feel so much more confident now— keeping these two separate for three months is totally possible. I called the Humane Society today and will hopefully get on their waitlist, too. Your sanctuaries sound so helpful! I am definetly going to start doing feedings in both of their carriers. Thank you so much! You have done so much for those cats, so much hard work and so much care!
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
10,277
Purraise
58,169
Location
United States
You want to hear something funny? I look back and can’t understand how it all worked out either. Lol These cats must have had some kind of guardian angel or something because I had no idea how I would ever manage. It was much as you described with the two you have there. They were going to die if I did not try. I have had cats before that had kittens and finding homes for those adorable social babies was often a challenge and they did not get adopted! I have done a variety of animal rescues in my life but never, ever imagined a whole colony! I learned many things and as JamesCalifornia JamesCalifornia stated, the learning curve can be tough for us cat people. I made my share of blunders. I was never one to use a trap and the cats were so traumatized that they would not be trapped even when I did try. The night that the last colony cat came in, he just followed me home and late that night he came inside and I shut the door. It was only after I shut myself in with him that I realized I had just shut myself in with a very frightened feral Tom cat. :oops::thud: It all turned out okay except for him spraying me! I can laugh now. He became my great friend and even did a search and rescue for a missing cat later on. Just as we see dogs doing search and rescues! I still learn something new every day from the cats that remain with me. When COVID hit, adoptions and shelters just were not an option anymore here. So…. I will keep the remaining cats for life. Mine or theirs.I consider myself one very fortunate human. I may have had some rough bumps along the way but I would do it all over again if I went back and was given the choice. Sometimes it feels like two steps forward and three back but with the support I got here it made the bumps easier. You will work out the details as you go, plan as best you can. I am so glad you are feeling less anxious. Calm will be something the cats sense and respond to. Patience is a big plus. Just enjoy them for their individual personalities, love them and give the best care you can. You are headed in the right direction.
 

JamesCalifornia

Mr.Mom to a house of cats 😇😼
Top Cat
Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
3,619
Purraise
6,860
Location
Los Angeles
Patience is a big plus. Just enjoy them for their individual personalities, love them and give the best care you can. You are headed in the right direction.
~ Yes , I too find that every cat has their own individual personality .
He became my great friend and even did a search and rescue for a missing cat later on. Just as we see dogs doing search and rescues! I still learn something new every day from the cats that remain with me.
~ I have a cat — Andy — like a shepherd. Each night he insists to go outside checking that none of the "family" is left outdoors. If one is missing at bedtime Andy goes outside and soon comes back with the other. Amazing ...
:petcat:I now depend on him.
 
Top