My spayed cat is in heat Causes, symptoms and solution

If you have already operated on your kitten and she continues to meow and roll onto her back, she may be in heat despite being spayed. Be clear about this, if your cat continues to have heat after sterilizing her , it is because something is wrong.

Can a spayed cat be in heat? Yes and no, it depends. In other words, the answer should be no , because a cat without ovaries does not produce enough estrogen and therefore should not experience heat.

Next, I will try to solve this dilemma for you.

Sterilization in cats

The sterilization procedure called an  ovariohysterectomy consists of surgically removing the uterus and ovaries from the cat. This removal ends with symptoms characteristic of heat in the cat.

The castration can also provide other benefits such as a reduction in the incidence of mammary tumors and prevention of conditions such as pyometra , which is an infection of the uterus.

However, some female cats continue to show the physical or behavioral signs related to heat, even after such surgery.

Symptoms of heat in neutered cats

Clinical signs occur because the remaining ovarian tissue produces hormones. In fact, the piece of ovarian tissue can even ovulate . The production of estrogen from the remnant leads to the symptoms of heat:

  • Excessive vocalization.
  • Make movements with the hind limbs.
  • Nervousness and restlessness
  • Rub and scrub the head.
  • Roll on the floor.
  • Tail deviation to one side.
  • Swelling of the  vulva
  • You can allow sexual intercourse to take place.


Causes of  heat in a spayed cat

Here I summarize the possible causes:

  • The surgeon left behind a piece of ovarian tissue during thesterilization surgery , that is, an incomplete removal of the ovarian tissue. It is the most frequent case and is called ovarian remnant or
  • The presence of an “accessory ovary”: a small separate piece of ovarian tissue located a short distance from the ovary
  • Ectopic Ovarian Tissue: A small piece of ovarian tissue that extends from the ovary to the undetected ovarian ligament.
  • Reimplantation of a piece of ovarian tissue that accidentally detaches from the ovary at the time of surgery.

Predisposing factors

  • It is possible, although not proven, that ovariohysterectomy through the flank rather than the midline may be a risk factor.
  • Possible surgical techniques, such as making an abdominal incision in the wrong position for easy access to the ovaries or poor anatomical knowledge of the normal feline reproductive tract, are possible risk factors.




Diagnosis of heat after the cat has been sterilized

If your cat is spayed and has the characteristic symptoms of heat, we must take her to the vet for confirmation.

You will need to provide a complete medical history of your cat’s health, the onset of symptoms and, of course, if and when your cat had an ovariohysterectomy.

Subsequently, the vet will perform a complete physical examination. You can perform a Pap smear by taking a cotton swab from the vagina and then examining the results under a microscope. The presence of particular reproductive cells will indicate which phase of the cycle our cat is in.

The vet may draw blood and then look for baseline hormone levels. Sometimes an ultrasound or CT scan may be done. These scans can show the location of any remaining ovarian tissue, but they have some limitations.

Treatment and solution  for the heat of a neutered cat

One option would be to leave the remnant of the ovarian tissue as is. Your vet may suggest simply observing the development of the remaining ovarian tissue over time. This option is usually decided when the tissue appears to be very small and does not have much influence on the behavior or health of your cat. If you choose this solution, you will need to make regular visits to the vet.

Another option would be  surgery .  If the location of the ovarian tissue is clear enough, then targeted surgical intervention can be used. If the tissue has not been located, then exploratory surgery is the only real invasive option. Keep in mind that a surgery that must be done through the anterior scar tissue can be more complicated, so discuss all the benefits and problems that may arise with your vet.

Removal of the remaining ovarian is a major surgery, so expect your cat to need exercise restriction and pain medication for at least two weeks.

Can a neutered cat have sex?

Many cat owners wonder whether they will see sexual behavior in their cats after spay surgery. The short answer is no.

However, there are some exceptions to this:

  • Sexual activity in spayed cats could be related to a health problem.
  • Some cats display behaviors that are misconceived as sexual in nature when in reality they are behavior problems or even natural behaviors.

Cat behaviors that are misinterpreted as sexual

Some neutered or spayed cats or cats display behaviors that appear sexual, such as “riding . ” This is usually more common in male cats, but can also be seen in females.

The “riding” is often confused with the establishment of sexual relations, but it is more correct to consider it a part of the normal game or emotion. In some cases, it can also be a way for cats to work out social hierarchy within a home.




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