Can I make my kitty more komfortable?
January 3, 2008 1:50 PM   Subscribe

My cat is in heat for the first time. I can't spay her for about 2 months. Help!

My cat Lupe Fiasco is in heat for the first time. She's about 7 months old. I had money set away for her to get spayed, but some major financial difficulties have done away with any spare change I had. So spaying won't be an option for another couple months (3 max). She's meowing much more frequently and longer, I don't know how to describe it but if you've ever seen a cat in heat, you know. It just sounds mournful and I hate thinking that she's uncomfortable. Is there anything I can do to help her out in the interim?

I'd like to try Feliway but the cost is sort of prohibitive and I'd have to get it online (unless someone knows where it is available in Ontario? GTA?). If I can find it nearby I could probably scrounge up the dough to get it, but I'd also like to hear any other ideas people may have.


NOTE: for the cynics, she's almost definitely in heat. The mournful meows, licking herself in that area pretty often. I'm not stranger to unspayed cats so I'm 99.5% certain she's in heat.
posted by hiptobesquare to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just keep her indoors away from any male kittehs. Not much else you can do.
posted by grumpy at 1:56 PM on January 3, 2008

You could, um, relieve her. People do do this. It depends on whether relief from the annoyance of a cat in heat is worth the knowledge that you gave your kitten an orgasm.

Instructions on Everything2.

Other instructions I found online:
The "2 fingers" idea is right: Grab her tightly by the scruff of the neck and hold her down, facing her. With two fingers, massage her spine to the base of the tail. Keep holding her down tightly--she's gonna start to struggle. Slide your two fingers under the tail and press very firmly NEXT to the vagina. Do this until she starts to scream, then let go. This is NOT a joke. It will relieve her.

If the technique above seems a too intense, here's another I've tried, but with less prolonged relief: facing her, grab her tightly by the scruff and hold her down, then just pat her butt. She'll start to growl and hiss. That's fine. Keep patting her butt until you get a strong odor, then let go. Wash your hands thouroughly--there will be a stinky excretion on the one you patted the butt with.
posted by schroedinger at 2:09 PM on January 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think I'm going to hold off on the uh, manual way for now. But I will definitely keep it in mind as an option...
posted by hiptobesquare at 2:13 PM on January 3, 2008

I had a roommate who due to lack of time (worked nights and slept days) and money didn't get her cat spayed. The cat was in heat for six months straight until she managed to get out and get pregnant (and your cat will be trying to get out as long as this goes on). I do not recommend letting this lie for months, because it will drive you NUTS. The cat was miserable, humping my laptop, humping me, lying in my path and presenting her ass at me every 2 minutes, I got kitty lubed on once... I found myself turning into Stanley Kowalski and acting like the cat was Blanche.

You do not want this situation to go on for months.

I've been told "the manual way" only shuts up the cat for about 24 hours until their body realizes it's not pregnant, so it's not exactly a great solution beyond that period of time. (I have not tried this. My roommate let me know that she would not respect me in the morning if I got her cat off. Frankly, I wasn't sure I could respect MYSELF if I tried, and once I found out about the 24 hour thing, I gave up on the idea.)

There are, as it turns out, agencies and places that will let you get the cat spayed for really cheap or free. I don't know where they are in Canada, but I'd suggest calling around vets, SPCA-type places, etc. and seeing if you can find one. I suspect there have to be some organizations in your area that would rather not have your cat make more kittens, and would rather prevent that ASAP than wait for you to have money. Plus, uh, it'll be more expensive if she does get pregnant and then you have to spay and neuter multiple cats, which is what happened to my old roommate.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:28 PM on January 3, 2008

Ummm... Please don't insert anything into "slot A" -- this is the time that kitty is most susceptible to picking up a uterine infection, which will not only make spaying much more urgent, it will also make it much more expensive.

The "two fingers" method schroedinger mentioned works -- nothing is inserted into anything. While keeping a firm hold on the scruff of her neck, you press down on the hollow at the base of her tail, and keep pressing (relatively hard) until she yelps. If you do it right, she will try to roll and swat you just like you were the big strong tomcat she was looking for, so be prepared to duck, or bleed a bit. Once she does this, she'll go out of heat (for awhile) in 1 - 3 days (it doesn't happen immediately).

I know you said cash is tight, but if you can do it at all, it's worth trying jenfullmoon's advice and seeing if there isn't an animal rescue league in your area who offers a discount spay or neuter -- in a lot of places this is done on certain days (like the "2nd Saturday of the month" or somesuch) and is often a lot cheaper than a bottle of Feliway (which isn't likely to help anyway).

The disadvantages of waiting if not absolutely necessary are that kitty will continue to be miserable (and make you miserable), and is at risk for the above-mentioned infection even if you don't try the q-tip trick. Also, some female cats in heat can develop a problem with inappropriate urination that can be tough to break even after they are spayed.
posted by nonliteral at 2:54 PM on January 3, 2008

Try calling:

Animal Crusaders of Ontario
Toronto, Ontario
Phone: (416) 438-4636

for referral to a low cost vet.

also, great kitty name!
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:56 PM on January 3, 2008

Take her to the Toronto Humane Society. Even if you have not adopted her through them they will spay or neuter cats and dogs for very low rates. I got my cat spayed for $10 and there were absolutely no questions about her origins when I contacted them and brought her in. They were very helpful and seven years later everything is just fine.

Get it done right away. There is absolutely nothing else you can do. Even if you manage to get through it this time you could be days or weeks away from the next time it will happen.
posted by purephase at 2:57 PM on January 3, 2008

Oh, here's their contact information.
posted by purephase at 2:59 PM on January 3, 2008

Nthing the low cost solution. I had a great experience with Planned Pethood.
posted by Sheppagus at 3:04 PM on January 3, 2008

Also -- IANAV but...

Don't hesitate to "shop around" for spay prices among vets you trust. While spays usually involve general anesthesia (a big chunk of the cost), some vets will insist on an overnight stay afterwards (adding to the cost), while others will let you take her home after she is back awake and alert, if you are prepared to watch her carefully and head back at the first sign of trouble (of which there isn't usually any). In my area, this can make a $100 - $150 difference in the retail price of a spay from a vet.

Sometimes the difference between these two is how they anesthetize the cat -- vets who have a large cat practice often have the equipment and experience to mask the kitty and take her down with isoflourene, while others use Ketamine and ACE, which requires less equipment on their part, but IME tends to lead to a much longer recovery time before kitty is awake, alert, and could conceivably go home with an attentive owner. I've had bad experiences with cats anesthetized with Ketamine and ACE, and will (and have done) drive a long way out of my way to find a vet who doesn't use them.

Best of luck!
posted by nonliteral at 3:05 PM on January 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm glad I'm not schroedinger's cat.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:25 PM on January 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Your cat's in heat, she's not miserable, it's normal. You don't need to do anything besides be really really careful to keep her inside. Keep in mind that being on heat is a cyclical thing, it will happen for a couple of days every three to four weeks not constantly day after day. The only thing that will stop the cycle is getting her speyed, so you should try to get it done sooner rather than later, but it's not a medical necessity.

We had to delay speying my kitten because she had ringworm and she came on heat at the relatively young age of four months. Surprising because she was undersized but not very unusual (your seven months is towards the older end of the scale). Yeah, having her in season wasn't much fun for us (she's part siamese and can break out a real yowl when she tried) but the vet wasn't at all concerned and it hasn't affected the kitten in any way. Once she went off heat it was like it had never happened. She was coming back on heat again when we got her fixed a month later so we managed to just avoid a repeat of the yowling, but again the vet wasn't pushing to speed things up and advised we arrange her spey around the ringworm and her overall health.

One thing to keep in mind, for us at least the spey was more expensive because it was done while the cat was on heat. I don't know why this is or if it's normal, we could afford to pay so I didn't go into it. You may want to try timing yours to avoid this issue. Your vet should be able to advise about this and it's something you could bring up when shopping around as suggested above.
posted by shelleycat at 3:41 PM on January 3, 2008

Talk to your vet. A lot of vets don't mind working out a payment plan or some sort of deferred payment for treatment, and since you know you will have the money, there's no reason not to try.
posted by internet!Hannah at 6:15 PM on January 3, 2008

Uh, maybe I'm missing something (manually stimulating a cat is a funny idea, though..) but you can get simple, cheap medication from any vet that will suppress the cat's hormones and stop it from being in heat. (That stuff may or may not be called "Perlutex", I think that's it...)

I personally know a cat owner that refused to have her cat spayed and instead relies on medication, and that seems to work well enough. Some say prolonged use (we're talking about years here) may cause cancer, but using it for some weeks or months should be pretty safe.
posted by Nightwind at 3:03 AM on January 4, 2008

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