Coping with a female cat in heat

vyger

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There have been a lot of extra kittens now due to the interruption of the virus. I am included in that number and did indeed wonder about the kittens getting along.

1596068154739.jpeg


Above is a picture of litter # 1, born late last fall, there are six of them.
They were supposed to be fixed this spring along with the feral mom. Mom had other ideas, hence picture # 2

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In the picture above Mom is at the very top of the picture. There are 4 from litter one and the 5 from the new litter from this late spring. They actually all got along fine, never had any fights or anything. It looks like kitty chaos but none of them ever got squashed.

They started doing the clinics again 2 months ago and I had appointments for 8 , the mom, 2 boys from litter one and all five of litter 2. That was about 2 months ago. Unfortunately I only manage to get one of the boys and 4 from the second litter because I got to confident in myself and thought I would have no trouble getting them into carriers. Mom totally freaked on me as she is feral and one of the little stinkers from group 2 bit me and made his escape. I had not planned on the 4 girls from group one getting done because they were in the process of having kittens.

Hence picture 3
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So, I have 20 new 8 (mostly 8 weeks, some older some younger) week old kittens. They have in effect now formed a super litter where they are now all combined together because once they started moving around on their own there was no stopping them.
None of them fight with each other, I am amazed by that. They are all very peaceful. I am really hoping and planning that next month I will get the 4 moms taken care of and maybe the kittens also if they are big enough. I really didn't plan on my own colony.
So anyway, likely the kittens will all get along. And also likely you will get totally overwhelmed if you can't keep up with them.
I don't have a picture of the super litter yet.
 
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Sarthur2

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Oh, my goodness! This is how easily things can get out of control when cats and kittens are not separated, nor spayed and neutered in time. You do NOT want this to happen, even if they all “get along.” Litters must be separated and cats and kittens neutered and spayed as soon as possible. No matter how adorable, this is a worst case scenario. There are not enough homes for all the available kittens as it is. Please take precautions with your cat and kittens to avoid duplicating this situation!
 
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vyger

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Oh, my goodness! This is how easily things can get out of control when cats and kittens are not separated, nor spayed and neutered in time. You do NOT want this to happen, even if they all “get along.” Litters must be separated and cats and kittens neutered and spayed as soon as possible. No matter how adorable, this is a worst case scenario. Covid-19 is not an acceptable excuse. There are not enough homes for all the available kittens as it is. Please take precautions with your cat and kittens to avoid duplicating this situation!
I did put this up for its teaching example so I don't want to sound too defensive here BUT in my situation there weren't really any options available short of euthanizing them. The governor closed the state of Montana, closed all but essential businesses, issued a stay at home order and the Indian reservation I live on enacted a curfew. The reason we do clinics here is because there are no veterinary services within 60 miles and those were closed also anyway. The vet techs for the spay and neuter clinics sometimes travel from 300 to 800 miles to come here. For many of them their counties and states closed also so they couldn't have traveled here either. There is a reason we are referred to as being in the middle of nowhere. The nearest Walmart is 95 miles away which is actually not to bad considering the nearest Sam's Club and Costco are 320 miles away.
Sometimes things happen that you have no control of. That is life and some of us have learned to accept that we don't control life but instead surf it's waves. Right now for these cats and kittens I am the closest thing to a shelter that they have. I plan on having them all fixed and vaccinated over the next 2 or 3 months before I find homes for them. I really can't keep them all. I don't want to just give them away, as they are, to anybody and risk the chance of contributing to the population or the abuse of the animals. So that is the plan, in the meantime I order BIG bags of food from Walmart, which gets delivered for free since I live so far from the store, and I ask around looking for future homes for really good kittens. I have some good prospects already so there will be good homes for the little squirts when the time comes. I really really hope we don't have any more clinics canceled, that would really be a big problem.
Thinking about it, the people who are doing all this here are always looking for sponsors so here is their Facebook page if you want to help out. Just think, you could claim that you helped cats and dogs out who were stuck out in the middle of nowhere.
Before these guys got started, the City's solution to too many stray dogs was to take them out to the landfill and shoot them.
They also have a regular web page, Pound Puppies, not the city, although the city has one also.
Yep, this is definitely not Florida. Actually more like a poor cousin to Canada. They used to let us go there and visit but now we can't do that either. We heard rumors they were going to build a wall.
I have to go feed the cats now, again.
 

jefferd18

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Oh, my goodness! This is how easily things can get out of control when cats and kittens are not separated, nor spayed and neutered in time. You do NOT want this to happen, even if they all “get along.” Litters must be separated and cats and kittens neutered and spayed as soon as possible. No matter how adorable, this is a worst case scenario. There are not enough homes for all the available kittens as it is. Please take precautions with your cat and kittens to avoid duplicating this situation!

She just explained the situation - COVID has pretty much shut down the whole damn world. This person is not irresponsible, be glad she cares enough for these cats to be feeding them. I have been trying for months to trap this bunch of feral cats over at a lumber store and the female has been harder than hell to catch- resulting in more and more litters of kittens. I WISH at times I could be one of those people who look at a scenario like that and not care, but that just isn't me.
 
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The Goodbye Bird

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I am included in that number and did indeed wonder about the very same thing in terms of the kittens getting along.
Doesn't look like they had any problems. The little ones simply become pillows for their senpai cats. Such is the natural order in the Cat Kingdom. Kittens are the softest thing in the universe, thus it seems, to comfort their existing kittens, queens often line the nest with extra kittens.

I don't have a picture of the super litter yet.
Well we need them! (Also I would like to see a better picture of the little brown ones that were born alongside what look to be colourpoints in Picture #3. On the off-chance the non-colourpoints' eyes stay blue I want 'em.)

Also it's cool how you got so many green eyes from a yellow eyes. My breed of choice is supposed to have only green, but I see a lot of yellow so I concluded that it's harder keeping them green than it would be keeping them yellow. You got lucky with all those greens coming up randomly.
 
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purrfect mom

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Doesn't look like they had any problems. The little ones simply become pillows for their senpai cats. Such is the natural order in the Cat Kingdom. Kittens are the softest thing in the universe, thus it seems, to comfort their existing kittens, queens often line the nest with extra kittens.



Well we need them! (Also I would like to see a better picture of the little brown ones that were born alongside what look to be colourpoints in Picture #3. On the off-chance the non-colourpoints' eyes stay blue I want 'em.)

Also it's cool how you got so many green eyes from a yellow eyes. My breed of choice is supposed to have only green, but I see a lot of yellow so I concluded that it's harder keeping them green than it would be keeping them yellow. You got lucky with all those greens coming up randomly.
yes, I was admiring those green eyes also. my mom cat has green eyes and none of the kittens got them.
 

The Goodbye Bird

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yes, I was admiring those green eyes also. my mom cat has green eyes and none of the kittens got them.
Seems this is the more common way. Makes me want to don a safari uniform and go out to the vast, walmartless wilds around Vyger's house and capture the dad that's siring all those kittens. I'm picturing him as a Siamese cat with three heads, blue eyes, pink eyes, green eyes, and the golden fleece of legend, guarding a jewel-encrusted chalice (*takes the cat, leaves the chalice*). Though this is probably just because my already overactive imagination has been fueled by the fact that the last time I went out to trim my yard I found Dr. Livingston. (Note: Letting it grow doesn't cover the thin patches.)
 

The Goodbye Bird

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Well problem is if you wanted her to have kittens you'd just have to let her outside which has its risks as she might not come back.
I might not be as on-board with lambasting people for not spaying (though it's just the best option in most cases; the least suffering all round) but this I have to agree with 110%. When I was really little my parents decided to let our pet cats be outside kitties. We went through SIX of them that I remember, one after the other. We lived on kind of a busy street, you see.

As far as I'm concerned, outside kitty is not an option, especially to get her pregnant. This is because a cat in heat will go as far as it needs to go to find a mate, going outside its usual territory if it needs to. It will cross busy highways, dart in front of cars, and go places its not intimately familiar with the terrain and the safe, hidey spaces.

You also have a catch 22 with letting outside because the less cars, in general, the more predators.

If I was in that situation and for whatever reason I decided to breed her and not spay, I'd be out there in camo with a personal rabies vaccine, a can of tuna, a cat carrier, and a lasso, rather than risk my cat. (Note that it's still a risk because she could still get feline leukemia, which they can vaccinate for, but my understanding is that the vaccine is not 100% safe either. In this situation I guess I'd bag the male and have him tested.)

Also there's this:

How to Calm a Female Cat During Her Estrous (Heat) Cycles

TL;DR version:

 

lutece

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The q-tip and "acupressure" solutions are not good ones. Inducing ovulation increases a cat's risk of pyometra.
 

The Goodbye Bird

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The q-tip and "acupressure" solutions are not good ones. Inducing ovulation increases a cat's risk of pyometra.
If she's eventually going to get spayed anyway it doesn't matter that much. If it thickens a little bit so what? It's going to be removed anyway.
 

lutece

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If she's eventually going to get spayed anyway it doesn't matter that much. If it thickens a little bit so what? It's going to be removed anyway.
The owner is having trouble getting quick access to veterinary care. Do you think it's a good idea to increase the cat's risk of a potentially life threatening condition requiring emergency surgery? Pyometra is serious and requires quick action, it's not just "thickening."
 

The Goodbye Bird

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The owner is having trouble getting quick access to veterinary care. Do you think it's a good idea to increase the cat's risk of a potentially life threatening condition requiring emergency surgery?
Ultimately it's about exploring all the options. I don't think it's a massive risk for a random-bred cat, and it can certainly appear that a cat in heat is in distress. Some are bad, crying out, screaming as if in pain, some just raise their butts up and get affectionate. I also think she's going to get the cat spayed in the 2.5 months and I seriously doubt one time with the cutip is going to give her an infection she wouldn't have got otherwise, so I think it's a very slight risk that has to be balanced against 6 more potentially unwanted lives.

And I know you always say I see a hint of a pure breed when it's not there and you're probably right about that Maine Coon one but I really think the mothership cat of Vyger's horde has an Asian Leopard Cat look about her face. (Picture #2, she's top left.) That picture happens to be super illustrative of what we were just talking about because it has the coolest-coloured tabby smack dab in the middle and the warmest one right above it. Those cats are the same colour, but the middle one has almost no warm tones at all.
 

lutece

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The Q-tip itself isn't what gives the cat an infection (although it can). Pyometra is more likely to happen after spontaneous ovulation or a missed mating (when cats are bred, ovulate, but do not become pregnant), because of the hormonal changes that happen after ovulation. I have dealt with pyometra multiple times and it was terrifying every time. In every case the cats were also extremely sick and miserable. I would not wish this on anyone.
 

The Goodbye Bird

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Pyometra is more likely to happen after spontaneous ovulation or a missed mating (when cats are bred, ovulate, but do not become pregnant), because of the hormonal changes that happen after ovulation.
Right, the uterus lining thickens to prepare for pregnancy. Then, no pregnancy. And since cats don't menstruate (shed the lining) it just keeps getting thicker and thicker until bacteria start breeding in it. The solution is generally to get the cat spayed, which is devastating on top of terrifying if that was your prized queen.

It was my understanding that every time a mating is missed it thickens a little bit regardless, even if you don't force the eggs to drop.

I've been doing a lot of research lately and ultimately I concluded that the reason I never had an issue with pyometra with a few unspayed females who were never bred was because they weren't purebreed cats. Mutts are just healthier, because the wild and the streets aren't very forgiving. I had one I cutipped a few times due to her being in heat for weeks on end. I'm glad you explained the risks but it absolutely does bring them out of heat even if it takes a few times.
 
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Willowy

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the reason I never had an issue with pyometra with a few unspayed females who were never bred was because they weren't purebreed cats. Mutts are just healthier,
Idk. I know someone whose random-bred cat got "pyo" (the vet called it uterine hyperplasia, but it's the infection that settles in the hyperplasia that makes them sick, right? Anyway she was definitely sick) at only 10 months old. I don't know if there are any stats on purebred vs random-bred though.
 

lutece

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Pyometra is not caused by the cat "not menstruating." Hormonal changes after ovulation have many effects on the uterus which raise the risk of infection, including suppressing the activity of white blood cells in the uterine environment. Pyometra typically occurs after a heat cycle, and is more likely to occur after a heat cycle in which ovulation occurred.
The solution is generally to get the cat spayed, which is devastating on top of terrifying if that was your prized queen.
What is terrifying in that situation is to have an extremely sick and miserable cat with a potentially life threatening condition that needs immediate emergency surgery. It has nothing to do with "spaying a prized queen." When a cat is as sick as that, you aren't thinking about her reproductive future, you are thinking about how to save her life and how to reduce her suffering.
 

The Goodbye Bird

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Pyometra is not caused by the cat "not menstruating."
One of the leading hypotheses for why some mammals shed the lining of their uteri is that it avoids the infection.
https://www.jstor.org/stable/2831191?seq=1

What is terrifying in that situation is to have an extremely sick and miserable cat with a potentially life threatening condition that needs immediate emergency surgery. It has nothing to do with "spaying a prized queen." When a cat is as sick as that, you aren't thinking about her reproductive future, you are thinking about how to save her life and how to reduce her suffering.
Believe me I'm not belittling that. I would be focusing on that too, at least as long as she was sick.

I imagine you think about it after, once she's safe, especially if she was otherwise healthy and had yet to make her greatest contributions to the health and genetic diversity of the breed. I see all the consequences at once even if some are unimportant because I'm a self-blamer and when I have an animal that's sick or dead, I seem to like to pile on the guilt and I go outside the immediate of what matters to do it. If that happened to me I'd be thinking to myself, "And if this breed dies, it's your fault," whether it was true or not.
 
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vyger

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Ultimately it's about exploring all the options. I don't think it's a massive risk for a random-bred cat, and it can certainly appear that a cat in heat is in distress. Some are bad, crying out, screaming as if in pain, some just raise their butts up and get affectionate. I also think she's going to get the cat spayed in the 2.5 months and I seriously doubt one time with the cutip is going to give her an infection she wouldn't have got otherwise, so I think it's a very slight risk that has to be balanced against 6 more potentially unwanted lives.

And I know you always say I see a hint of a pure breed when it's not there and you're probably right about that Maine Coon one but I really think the mothership cat of Vyger's horde has an Asian Leopard Cat look about her face. (Picture #2, she's top left.) That picture happens to be super illustrative of what we were just talking about because it has the coolest-coloured tabby smack dab in the middle and the warmest one right above it. Those cats are the same colour, but the middle one has almost no warm tones at all.
Don’t know if it makes a difference about anything but her first litter all ended up with green eyes and unusually long tails. Their tales are about 2 inches longer than normal and they hook the ends over like a sheapards hook when they walk. I tried to look that trait up but found nothing on it.
 

jefferd18

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The q-tip and "acupressure" solutions are not good ones. Inducing ovulation increases a cat's risk of pyometra.

I am afraid Dr. Fox who has a nation wide newspaper column would have to disagree with you on that one.
 

Willowy

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I am afraid Dr. Fox who has a nation wide newspaper column would have to disagree with you on that one.
All I can find from him on the subject is: "Feline behavioral researchers have documented that genital stimulation with a cotton swab has been shown to bring cats out of heat and bring on a quiescent phase of false pregnancy."

Which is true, but lutece is pointing out that it's not a good thing to do as it increases chances of pyo.

Plus, the column I found with that advice was talking about a cat with ovarian remnant syndrome, who didn't have a uterus that could get infected. . .and he still recommended getting her surgery.
 
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