Cat Pregnancy in a Spayed Female Cat

by Shana
(Los Angeles)

We rescued our cat from a shelter when she was almost a year old, where they assured us she had been spayed. Now, about 3 years later, my cat is showing pregnancy signs. I thought, “This is impossible, right?” So I did some research. It could be a false pregnancy, but everyone says it goes away after a few weeks. This has been going on for a really long time.

Because of the other organs and things in a cat's body, and my own inexperience, I don't consider the lumps I feel to be definite answers. I have read some horror stories about things going wrong in this situation, and can't get her to the vet because my parents are away, I am too young for a license, and no one will give me a ride. Can you help?

Dear Shana,

Without knowing what signs of cat pregnancy your kitty is showing, it is very difficult for me to comment. Some cat owners confuse the signs of cat pregnancy and the cat being in heat.

Even after a cat is spayed, there are some cats that may still show signs of going into heat because the veterinarian did not remove all of the ovarian tissue. Most of the time, this is of no consequence to your kitty. So, if the signs and symptoms you are seeing are actually of your kitty being in heat, there is likely nothing to worry about.

If your kitty really is pregnant, and is otherwise eating, drinking, and acting okay, she could be perfectly fine and deliver a healthy litter of kittens. Especially if your cat’s spay surgery was done at the shelter, she may not have actually been spayed. In such a setting, where they perform dozens of spays and neuters every day, anything could happen. Your kitty may have fallen through the cracks. It is also possible that your kitty was not spayed at the shelter because the shelter thought she already had been spayed prior to being dropped off at the cat shelter. All in all, mistakes happen anywhere and everywhere, so any number of things may have happened.

In terms of horror stories, yes, there are rare instances where your cat may have been spayed, but only one of the tubes was tied successfully. While this could complicate a cat pregnancy, it is still possible that your kitty, if she is pregnant, will deliver a healthy litter of kittens.

Ultimately, the best thing to do in this situation would be to bring your kitty for an ultrasound and a complete physical exam by a veterinarian. When your parents get home, or when you are able to find a ride, I would recommend bringing her to a vet, even just for peace of mind.

All the best,
Dr. Neely

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