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Reproductive disorders of cats

reproductive disorders of female and male cats

Most cats are neutered at about 4 months of age, so are unlikely to develop disorders of the reproductive system. However, “intact” toms (males) and queens (females) may develop problems with their reproductive organs.
Reproductive disorders of cats
Reproductive disorders of cats

Signs of a problem:

* Distended abdomen (queen).
* Thick, bloody, or foul-smelling discharge from vulva.
* Inflamed mammary glands.
* Lumps in mammary glands.
* Retained testes.

Maturity and mating:

Kittens usually reach puberty at around 6 months of age, although females can show signs of being in season, or on heat, as young as 4 months. Queens naturally start coming into season with increasing day length in spring, but indoor cats may have seasons all year round. Seasons may occur every 3 weeks, but queens do not ovulate (release eggs from their ovaries) until they mate. However, this means that matings usually result in pregnancy. If a queen mates with several toms, the kittens in her litter may have more than one father. Queens can naturally produce up to three litters per year.

Female problems:

Infertility in queens can occur if problems during mating prevent ovulation from occurring. It may also be due to a hormone imbalance, or an infectious organism such as Toxoplasma or possibly Chlamydophila felis. A vet may perform blood and urine tests and scans to identify the underlying cause. Stress or infection may cause a pregnant mother to abort her fetuses or reabsorb them into her body. Giving birth may cause the uterus to be pushed outside the body. This is dangerous and needs immediate veterinary attention. Another serious problem is infection of the uterus, causing a buildup of pus. This may develop a few days after giving birth or in the nonpregnant queen after a succession of seasons. Signs include fever, loss of appetite, and a bloody or pus-filled vaginal discharge. Nursing mothers may develop inflamed teats (mastitis) due to overfilling or infection. Older queens may develop cysts on the ovaries or tumors of the ovaries, uterus, or mammary glands. A vet may use ultrasound scans and take biopsies to identify these problems, and perform surgery to remove the growths.

Male problems:

The problem of male infertility is rare, but one possible cause is retained testicles (cryptorchidism). In a male fetus the testes develop in the abdomen, and by the time the kitten is born they usually descend and hang under the tail in the scrotum. If both are retained in the abdomen beyond 6 months of age, the tom will be sterile because his body temperature will be too high to allow sperm production. Injury, infections, or testicular cancer can also reduce male fertility.

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