The subject of spaying pregnant cats ignites debate among veterinarians, shelter staff, and foster parents. Supporters of pregnant spays are firm in their belief that the procedure is the humane solution to cat homelessness and suffering, while others aren’t convinced. What determines the best solution — pragmatism or morality?
As a former animal staff member, I witnessed kitten abortions nearly every day. I found it oxymoronic that a shelter representing itself as “no-kill” performed abortions on cats, regardless of gestational age. The shelter vet would remove the uterus and clamp the blood vessels, thereby causing the kittens to suffocate. The fetuses were then thrown in the outside dumpster, along with the rest of the day’s trash. What a sorrowful destruction of animal life.
Kittens and puppies are some of the easiest to adopt out, so why not foster the pregnant mother until she gives birth and the kittens are old enough to be spayed or neutered?
Those who support the spaying of pregnant mother cats are operating under the premise that these unborn kittens are destined for a life of unimaginable misery and will eventually die or be killed in a shelter. Our goal should be to preserve life, not destroy it.
Vet Assistant & Foster Parent
While spaying a pregnant mother is never an easy decision, it is one that must be made at times. Animal shelters are often overcrowded and sometimes understaffed. Fostering a pregnant mother is sometimes possible but not always practical, especially if she’s feral. Fostering requires a significant time commitment, and many shelters are limited in the number of foster parents who are able to foster a cat and her kittens for 2-3 months. The number of homeless cats is staggering, and we must be led by our common sense, rather than emotions, when approaching the task of animal rescue.