Female cats usually become sexually mature and active at some stage after six months of age. Cats are sexually promiscuous and will seek out and mate with tom cats, usually with a very high breeding success rate. The gestation period for cats is 57 – 63 days and they can get pregnant within six weeks of giving birth. Some will have two to three litters per year with an average of six kittens at a time.
It is not uncommon, but some cats can simply not be spayed or neutered. Reasons include allergic reaction to the anesthesia, being too small for the surgery or an underlying disease that requires recovery before a cat faces a surgical procedure.If spaying or neutering your cat isn't possible, then there are other measures you can take to stop you cat having an unplanned pregnancy, such as the pill.
The pill is a great option not just for cats that can't be spayed but also for people who want to leave the breeding option for later.
Progestin pills such as megestrol acetate, medroxyprogesterone acetate and proligestone will stop the heat cycle for your cat, but the key is to give her the pills at a certain time during the cycle. The dose of the medication varies on when it is given related to the heat cycle. These medications usually do not affect future heat cycles and the ability to become pregnant.
Androgen drugs are available, too, and must be started 30 days before the heat cycle. Your vet can prescribe the pills and help you determine when to start giving them to your cat. These are to be used on a more short-term basis though.
It should be noted that no cat contraceptive is 100% effective and should be seen as a short-term action, as opposed to a long-term solution.
As with most medication, the pill doesn't come without its possible side effects. As mentioned, the pill is more of a short-term action, not a permanent solution. This means that the longer your cat stays on the pill, the higher the chances of your cat having side effects are. Long term usage has the following side effects:
Unspayed female cats that do not mate have a high risk of developing pyometra, a dangerous infection of the uterus.
Before resorting to this option, it is worth having an in depth discussion with your veterinarian to further understand the potential risks and benefits.