Cat in heat - can't be spayed. What to do?

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Cat in heat - can't be spayed. What to do?

Post by mandypops »

Hi everyone - first time posting! I have a bit of an usual situation on my hands.

Almost 3 years ago my husband and I rescued a little black cat from a local rescue, called Lady Serena (we call her Lady for short). The rescue didn't know much about her except she is roughly 10+ years old, she has IBS and a heart murmur (they tried to spay her when she came into the rescue but the anesthetic didn't work too well with her heart murmur so they had to stop the operation). As such she is an indoor cat because she can't be spayed.

For the first 18 months / 2 years, Lady would go back to the rescue every 6 months for a hormone injection which kept her hormones under control and stopped her having seasons. A new vet at the rescue one day said she had concerns keeping Lady on the injection long term because it can cause side effects. We were happy with the recommendation and agreed to leave her natural and see what happened.

Back in August she experienced her first heat cycle with us, it is now mid-October and she is experiencing her 4th (maybe 5th?) heat cycle now. The cycles will last a couple of weeks, then she'll appear her normal self for a week or so and the cycle will resume.

Has anyone else had experience of cats in heat who can't be spayed? Will the season likely end soon until next year? Are the cycles happening so frequently because they were effectively suppressed for so long by her hormone injections? Has anyone experienced any alternatives to a hormone injection that may work?

She isn't a real bother being in heat... she yowls a lot and presents herself to my husband constantly haha. We're more worried about any physical or psychological effects it may have on her, by having constant heat cycles and no pregnancy? We wanted to steer clear of the injection ideally because of the health risks, but equally don't want to cause more damage by having her go through constant cycles. Whatever is best for her is what we'll look into. I would love some advice please if anyone has any similar experience?
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Re: Cat in heat - can't be spayed. What to do?

Post by fjm »

A week or two of heat every few weeks is pretty normal, but cats tend to cycle more and more frequently if they don't mate, until the heat becomes nigh on continuous. You may get a break over the winter, but I would not bank on it. You zre fortunate that she is not trying to escape - I have known cats so desperate to mate they would squeeze through a space you would have thought too small for a mouse...
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Re: Cat in heat - can't be spayed. What to do?

Post by Kay »

has she been seen by a vet with particular experience of heart problems in cats? as I understand it, there can be more than one cause of a heart murmur, and some are more serious than others - only an ultrasound can tell which it is

and I would have thought being on heat so much can't be good for her, so that needs to be considered too - if you can afford it, or persuade the original rescue to pay, I really would go for an expert second opinion - heart murmurs are not uncommon in cats, and I suspect many with them are spayed, but a vet with particular experience would be advisable
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Re: Cat in heat - can't be spayed. What to do?

Post by Mollycat »

Isn't pyometra a serious risk in unspayed and unmated cats? I would agree a second opinion would be helpful. I mean, at what stage does the danger of not operating outweigh the anaesthesia risk? Would she be able to have painful teeth removed if needed?

Our kitten, when I was little, we planned to have her done after one litter as most people did back then. Poor love couldn't find a tomcat anywhere and so her heats got closer and closer together until she was more or less constantly calling. We had to have her spayed but it was a dangerous spay because everything was so inflamed from being in heat like that.

Maybe there's more to your cat's background or maybe she was hyperstressed in rescue? They may not have had the budget to give her the extra care that might be needed for her operative pre and post care, that you could afford and give her now?
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Re: Cat in heat - can't be spayed. What to do?

Post by Sniper1 »

We have had several cats with heart murmers spayed and never lost one and one who was not due to being very feral and very small she was far too stressed to handle but lived indoors and sadly succomed to pyometra at nine years old which she kept hidden until treatment came too late its a very big risk not spaying even with hormone injections I would get a second opinion from an experienced Vet
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