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Managing Fertility Of Your Queen

Very few people who jumped into breeding their pets has any thought of managing fertility of their beloved brood queen.

If you have a girl and decided that she’s not ready to carry kittens yet, (maybe she’s still a kitten herself!) what will you do if she starts calling? Will you simply lock her up and let it subsides till the next round comes?

Well that’s okay for the first 3 calls. But never ever let her call more than 3 times without mating her. Cats are induced ovulators. It means they ovulate when successful mating occurs. It means they only release their mature female eggs until after they are mated.

Therefore if you let your queen to call more than 3 times without mating, you will increase the chances of cysts forming in her ovaries. And a potential hormone problems later on. When the queen is not mated for too many estrous cycles, the eggs will accumulate until the next estrus. That is why managing fertility is very important.

mating catsThen if you finally mated her with an entire male, you risk her carrying too large a litter. There’s this one cat that even tries to carry 15 kittens in her womb all at once! But none of the kittens survives. You don’t want that to happen to your queen do you?

Another possible scenario is the result of ‘old’ eggs. Older eggs from previous cycle can be fertilized in the next, resulting a congenitally defect kittens such as

• Lack of skulls
• Born premature
• Gross hernias
• Spina bifida
• Stillborns

Some girls are a frequent caller. You can estimate your queens’ natural call frequency by allowing her to call the first call out, but make sure she is secured (no male contact) until the second call comes.

This is very helpful for you to plan for her future breeding. If she calls more frequently than every 4 weeks, then you should do something about it. Managing fertility can be done mainly in three ways:

1. Hormone use
2. Mechanical stimulation
3. The service of the vasectomised male

Managing Fertility Through Hormone Use

You can ask your vet about a hormone treatment. It’s a chemical progesterone-like hormones or estrogen derivative that can be administered orally or by injection. It tampers with the estrous cycle by stepping it back to pre-estrus stage.

Some treatments can last for up to two months, some may be longer. I think it depends on your queens’ natural call frequency.

This method is only recommended for occasional use. As the treatment can reverse the estrus temporarily, I’m afraid it might have some side effects if used one too many times.

However, it might be useful if you have a nursing queen of say, a 2 days or 3 weeks old kittens that unexpectedly come into heat (so soon! I know, but it happens). Her milk supply might drop a little, but it is far better than her abandoning her kittens altogether demanding to be let out.

If you want to mate your girl after several uses of hormones, you’d better let her shed her old eggs first before attempting a real mating. It can be done by a mechanical mating or by a vasectomised male.

Regular use of hormone treatment can cause some side effects such as diabetes. I would recommend managing fertility through mechanical mating rather than hormone treatment. But it is best for your girl if there’s a vasectomised boy for her.

Mechanical Stimulation

Managing fertility this way should be done with caution. You or your cat might get hurt in the process. The mechanical stimulation can be done by either a glass rod, or a cotton bud used to stimulate the vagina to mimic mating. It is preferably to let your vet do this for you.

To make sure she ovulates, it has to be done at least 5 times as this is the average number of mating to ensure ovulations. I would suggest you let the vet do this for you. Your queen can be left at the vet for a few days.

Vasectomised Male

To me, this is the best way to manage your queens fertility. The only difference between a vasectomised male and whole male is that they will not ejaculate sperms. The connection between the testicle (which produce sperms) and penis is severed so that new sperm cannot pass through.

After vasectomy is performed, allow the boy go without ladies for a period of six weeks. Just to be sure the sperms past the severed section will not survive long enough to impregnate any of his harem.

Successful mating with a vasectomised male will cause ovulation but without the burden of unplanned litter. Although, your queen might show some hormonal changes that mimic pregnancy, she’s not. But she won’t call again until the next 5-8 weeks. It depends on individual queen.

Having your own vasectomised male is a real treasure. Queens are pleasant to live with, (no more yowling) they are calm, coats are lustrous, they look ready for show anytime, and most important of all, they are happy. :)

Reference : BREEDING CATS: A Practical Guide, revised edition by Truda M Straede. Dr. Truda is the breed founder of Australian Mist- the first breed developed entirely in Australia.

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