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When is it safe to bring in a lactating female to be spayed?

See question 9 as it relates to kittens and timing. This question deals more with the mother cat's comfort. If a lactating cat is feral, then you should follow the recommended guidelines above for the timing of spay/neuter. After surgery, the mother cat will be sore, but most often will continue to nurse the kittens in a short time. If there are no kittens, or if she does not continue to nurse, then she will become engorged with milk. This is safe, but uncomfortable, as many human mothers can understand. Basically, the milk will continue to be produced for a short period of time, and the mother's nipples will become swollen and warm. This will subside on its own, without human intervention, in anywhere from a few days to a week or so, depending on how often she was nursing her kittens and how many kittens she was nursing. If you can touch the cat (not feral), and you feel the need to do something, then use a warm (not hot) heating pad for her to lie on. If the cat is tame, and you want to bypass this engorgement process, then you need to help with the weaning process. (This is only if the mother cat will not be returned to a place where she can continue to nurse her kittens). When the kittens are around 6 weeks old and able to eat solid food, start separating the mom from the kittens for increasing amounts of time. This will slow the milk production naturally. The mother cat must not be nursing at all, if she will be completely separated from her kittens after surgery, to be free from any effects of engorgement. This method or reasoning should not be used to delay the sterilization of a feral cat!

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