“Right to Life” or “Saved from Being Born”

Opinion

Spaying a pregnant cat

Mother cat and kittenThe 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?

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.

Meagan L.
Vet Assistant & Foster Parent

Pragmatism!
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.

Susan K.
Foster Parent

2 Comments

  1. I made the heart-wrenching decision to have our, at the time, newest edition spayed while pregnant. She was only 6 months old and was 7 weeks pregnant. I still second guess myself, even after 6 years. The vet reassured me that I did the right thing because he said that if Momo had given birth, either she would have died, the kittens would have died, or Momo AND the kittens would died. Her little body would not have been able to push out kittens. The vet told me that she was carrying six kittens, and they were all big. He said that looking at Momo, her kittens, and her pelvic region, the odds were pretty high that at least one of those kittens would have gotten stuck.

  2. I rescued 2 mommy sisters outside my home that found shelter under my deck. Between them they had 7 babies. I don’t remember how I got them, but we got the kittens first and the mom’s followed. The mom’s were very nasty and ready to strike at a moments notice however the opportunity to eat was greater for them both.

    Their kittens were at least 5wks of age. I fed both mom’s carefully while they were with their babies in a dog crate, one can & one heaping scoop of dry food morning and night. They were ravenous. I figured it was because they were nursing mom’s. when I got to bring them to have them spayed the vet called me with the first mom and asked if I was sitting down. I thought she didn’t make it. No, she’s fine they said … but she was pregnant. Well that explains the amount of food, but I was also told these babies were not viable considering how old her live kittens were and how malnourished the babies were. So I had no choice but to have them aborted. After the mom’s recovered from surgery they were set free. I was able to scratch and mush on them for the short time they were still under the anesthesia. One is no longer in the area while the other is still in the neighborhood and well taken care of by a few of us.

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