Dear Christopher Cat: Ladybug, my 5-month-old kitten, is rolling, yowling, trying to get outside, and raising her behind in the air while shaking her tail. My friend said her cat acted like this and sprayed urine when she was in heat. Two months later, my friend’s cat presented her with a litter of kittens. Can Ladybug really get pregnant at her tender age?
Christopher Responds: Yes, so make an appointment now to have your veterinarian spay her.
Cats are seasonally polyestrus, which means they experience multiple estrus, or heat, cycles each season. Their reproductive season begins now, as daylight hours are increasing, and it ends in late summer as daylight decreases.
Each heat cycle lasts about a week. If the cat doesn’t become pregnant, she quickly goes into heat again, making it seem like she is constantly in heat.
Kittens as young as four months of age can get pregnant. Pregnancy lasts two months, and cats can get pregnant again while nursing, so free-roaming cats often give birth to two litters every season.
Having Ladybug spayed now will stop the heat behaviors that are such a nuisance and prevent unwanted litters should she manage to venture from your home. An added benefit is that cats spayed at Ladybug’s age have a negligible risk of mammary cancer.
Kittens heal quickly after spay/neuter surgery, and research shows that sterilizing kittens as young as two months of age does not adversely affect their health or behavior. So call your veterinarian now.
By the way, if you’re curious about sterilization terminology, females are spayed, while males are neutered.