Table of contents:
- Causes That Can Cause Feline Infertility Is your cat infertile?
- In addition to pathological factors such as viral diseases, the sterility of the cat can be caused by errors in the content
Video: Infertility In Cats
While very many veterinarians have to deal with the problem of the birth of many unwanted kittens, there is another problem that has become more and more urgent lately - infertility in cats. Often the cause of this is heredity, infectious or parasitic diseases; environmental factors can also cause infertility.
We will not consider the cases of pathological pregnancy in cats associated with abortion and stillbirth here - this is a topic for another article.
Before understanding the causes of infertility in cats, it is necessary to have an understanding of how the reproductive system functions in a normal cat.
The age at puberty is highly variable. Some cats reach puberty at four months of age, most often in common yard or oriental cats. Others become sexually mature much later: at 12-18 months and even at two, or even three years (as an exception) - Persian cats and their relatives. The onset of puberty depends on the animal's birth season: a cat born in August will become sexually mature early - at the age of 8-10 months, while a cat born in March will mature at the age of one year or older.
In cats, with the exception of those constantly living in the house, the appearance of estrus is associated with the duration of daylight hours: most of the cycles occur in the period from February to June; these cats are seasonal polyester cats. In cats that live in an apartment, under regular lighting conditions, estrus (estrus) occurs throughout the year, regardless of the season (length of daylight hours). In most cases, ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary into the body cavity) is triggered by mating; without coitus, ovulation does not occur, as a result of which the follicles (vesicular formations containing the egg) regress and a new cycle begins. However, about a quarter of all cats are able to ovulate without vaginal stimulation, which explains cases of pseudo-sterility.
The flow begins with the proestrus phase, which lasts two days. At this time, the cat develops behavioral signs of estrus, but she does not allow mating, then the estrus phase follows, during which the cat looks for a cat, and if it does not find one, estrus lasts for about a week or more. If a cat is present on the 3-4th day of estrus, mating occurs, and the period of meowing and cat songs is usually shortened.
When mating does not occur, the interval between estrus changes (from a few days to several weeks). If for some reason there was no fertilization during coitus, then the cat will have a false pregnancy, and the appearance of estrus is postponed for 6-8 weeks.
The genital activity of the female is determined by neuro-hormonal factors. The estrogens secreted by the ovarian follicle affect a cat's behavior during estrus. The corpus luteum of the ovary and the placenta secrete progesterone, which ensures the maintenance of pregnancy. Progesterone is produced by the action of gonadotropic hormones secreted by the pituitary gland (a small gland at the base of the brain). The hypothalamus, a region of the brain that is sensitive to the hormonal state of the animal and to external influences: light, pheromones, social contacts, coitus, also participates in hormonal activity. When this mechanism fails, the cat cannot get pregnant. There are other pathological conditions that lead to sterility, most often they appear as a result of improper growing and maintenance of a cat.
The role of heredity is also important in infertility. Developmental disorders (hermaphroditism, genital anomalies) or chromosomal abnormalities are another cause.
Quite often, infertility is caused by infectious and parasitic factors. All diseases accompanied by fever or weakness affect reproductive function. Clinical questionnaires, in order of importance, mark the following diseases: respiratory pathologies, usually accompanied by the penetration of chlamydia into the reproductive system, urolithiasis, enteritis, coccidiosis, toxoplasmosis, anemia, panleukopenia, FIP, leukemia. Viral diseases are especially dangerous, as well as pathologies of the urinary system.
Diseases of the reproductive system can also lead to sterility: refusal to mate due to inflammation or infection of the genital tract, inability to implant an egg after fertilization due to endometritis (an infectious disease of the uterus).
A breeder cat needs to be well fed: lack of nutrients leads to exhaustion, but this condition is less dangerous in terms of fertility than overfeeding, leading to obesity. In an overweight cat, sexual activity is reduced. But malnutrition also has a negative effect: a cat needs certain nutrients, in particular, it needs taurine, vitamin A and essential fatty acids.
Your cat may not make enough hormones to be sexually active. It is usually difficult to pinpoint exactly which hormones are deficient and why.
Hyposexuality is a cat's lack of sexual activity or lack of sexual activity. The reasons usually lie in physiology, primarily in seasonal anestrus (absence of estrus). If your cat hasn't been in heat in mid-June, then don't expect to have kittens three months before the New Year!
Genital infantilism is also one of the causes of infertility: if a cat has not been in heat by the age of one, then it is necessary to be patient: it is still too early for her to have offspring. It is more dangerous when the sexual break occurs because of another cat, for example, if several cats live together, and among them there is a spayed cat that mates with cats. Mating, although not complete, can trigger a neuro-hormonal response - ovulation is triggered, and cats will not be in heat within two months.
For some unknown reason, it sometimes happens that the pituitary gland does not function well, which leads to hyposexuality. And finally, this condition can be a consequence of the use of drugs that prevent the occurrence of heat.
Hyperthyroidism (analysis in this case will show an increased content of thyroid hormones) also leads to abnormal ovulation. There is also such a concept as latent estrus - in a cat that occupies low steps on the social hierarchical ladder. In this case, vaginal cytology and determination of the level of estrogen in the blood will give objective information about the presence of estrus. Hyperthyroidism in a cat leads to a decrease in the animal's energy and libido in particular, accompanied by hyperspermia; in cats, it is detected extremely rarely during anestrus (without obvious clinical manifestations, but it is diagnosed after determining the level of the hormone in the blood).
Ovarian follicular cysts are associated with hyperestrogenism. They also lead to cystic hyperplasia of the endometrium, which prevents the implantation of the embryonic egg. The cat may have persistent or prolonged estrus. The pussy becomes irritable, pugnacious and does not allow cats to approach, and sometimes, on the contrary, mates all the time (nymphomania), but does not become pregnant.
It is important to force a cat to mate, and more than once, because this is what will lead her to ovulation. Mating is carried out on the 4th day of susceptibility to a cat at the top of estrus. After ovulation, the level of progesterone in the blood rises. The test for him becomes positive on the seventh day after estrus and lasts until the fortieth day. If the level of progesterone in the blood did not rise, then there was no ovulation.
Hypersexuality, or nymphomania, is also quite common and manifests itself in intense and longer-than-usual heat. This phenomenon is caused by an excess of estrogens, which are produced in an increased amount by ovarian cysts or, less commonly, tumors. The uterus itself, even in the absence of infection in it, can give rise to a source of a pathological condition called glandular-cystic endometrial hyperplasia, during which the uterine lining thickens and loses its ability to receive a fertilized egg. The accumulation of infected mucus in the uterus can lead to pyometra, which appears in the cat after mating or as a result of infection after insemination. The main symptom of pyometra is increased thirst in a cat over five years old., and on palpation - thickening of the horns of the uterus up to 2 cm. Progesterone plays an important role in this hyperplasia, increasing the susceptibility of the uterus to infection. More often this pathology occurs in 3-year-old animals.
In addition, improper maintenance of cats in most cases is the reason for sterility. If your cat refuses to bring you cute kittens, then first of all think about what you are doing wrong, and then consult your veterinarian.
Translated from French by Olga Mischikha
Causes That Can Cause Feline Infertility Is your cat infertile?
First of all, check if any of the following has affected it:
- the cat lives alone, without contact with its relatives;
- on the contrary, she lives among a large number of cats, while the room is not large enough for such a number of animals;
- she lives in a room with little light;
- she is overfed (obese); she is too young … or too old;
- she was given drugs to prevent the onset of heat;
- she was not used to traveling, and she had to travel 200 km by car to meet the cat;
- she was brought to her partner too late;
- she was left with the cat for not long enough;
- she is naturally shy or aggressive, or the cat is inexperienced;
- she does not like this cat (it happens);
- the cat has the first heat this year: most of the first heat in the season passes without ovulation, despite the fact that mating is successful, the cat does not become pregnant. Wait for the second heat. The age of puberty varies from breed to breed and also depends on the season of birth: a cat born in August will reach puberty, i.e. she will be in heat by about eight months, while the other, born in March, will come into heat about a year or later.