|Special Veterinary Considerations for Feral Cats
Special conditions apply to the neutering of feral cats, because of the difficulty of re-trapping them if they need to be seen again. Everything needs to be done at the same time: surgery, ear-tipping and anthelmintic treatment, as well as dentistry and treatment of wounds in some cases, and perhaps vaccination as well. The vet must also be prepared to carry out euthanasia in some cases.
For guidance on surgical techniques appropriate for feral cats, and advice on sedatives, anaesthetics, analgesics, suture materials etc. see the "Feral Cat Manual" in English, Spanish or Italian, obtainable from the Feline Advisory Bureau: www.fabcats.org.
For guidance to British vets thinking of volunteering to work on neutering programmes overseas, see Notes for Vets. This is also available on the BVA Overseas website.
|Pregnant cats and Kittens|
|How late in pregnancy is it safe to spay a cat? Cats survive the operation very well, but a cat in late pregnancy will need intravenous fluids during surgery and extra care after surgery. She will need to be kept in for several days after surgery and so she should be put into a larger cage, with food, water and a litter tray.|
|If you do not catch her in time, and the kittens are born, try to catch the kittens and the mother as soon as possible. The mother can be spayed immediately. It may be possible to hand-rear the kittens. Spaying does not stop lactation, so it is a good idea to put back one kitten with her, to reduce the risk of mastitis. If you cannot catch very young kittens, spaying the mother must be timed carefully so that the kittens do not starve in her absence.|
|It becomes more difficult to socialise kittens after the first six weeks of their life. If there is a problem about re-homing them, consider early-age neutering, and putting them back on site.|
|Cats must be neutered before they are homed to make sure that no more kittens are produced by accident. (“This cat is only six months old – she cannot possibly produce kittens yet, can she?”. Yes, she can!) That often means that kittens need to be neutered when they are still young. Some veterinarians neuter cats as young as seven weeks. This is successful if care is taken over the delicacy of the tissues, the sensitivity to anaesthetics and the risks of hypoglycaemia and hypothermia.
Cats which have been neutered this early appear to develop normally and suffer no ill effects.
|For advice, see: www.fabcats.org/cat_group/index.html|