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My sons cat is nursing 6 six week old kittens. The cat got out of the house 2 weeks ago for about 16 hours. I think the cat may be pregnant again so my son wants to get her spayed so we do not get another litter of kittens. Will it hurt the kittens to be weaned so soon? I was going to let the kittens nurse 8 weeks before finding homes for them but I do not want another litter of kittens so soon and I am not sure the mother cat is pregnant. Also, I do not think it is good for a cat to have 2 litters so close together. Any advise would be great.
 

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I absolutely agree that kittening so close together is *very* difficult for a cat as it keeps them run-down in condition. However, spaying right now would also be harmful to the Mom-cat and detrimental to the development of her current litter.

Facts:
You do not want another litter of kittens.
Litter is 6wks old and about 2-4wks away from weaning.
Momcat got out 2wks ago and would be 6wks away from parturition.
IMO, I feel this leaves you with a 4-5week window.

You have to balance this between benefit for the current litter, difficulty of spay at pregnancy-stage and stress of litter abortion for the spay-team.

IMO, I would leave this litter with momcat until they are 10wks old. They learn important cat-things during this time with their mother. Spaying her early would leave her vulnerable to infection, especially if the kitts attempt to nurse and knead her belly. Many vets won't spay nursing momcats because of this issue with infection.

4wks would give her and the kitts ample time to wean and transition to solid food, then a week of separation so her milk can begin to dry up and reduce complications of recovery after spay, though her risk will be higher for the spay itself, depending on the status of her possible pregnancy.

Can you bring her to the vet for an exam to determine if she even *is* pregnant and would require an early-spay?
 

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The vet here, who is in charge of the "Spay Station", has recently started doing side incisions on nursing mother cats.

I wouldn't recommend that method though if the vet is not experienced with it. Still, if they are used to that way, it may be another thing to consider.
 

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One of the cats I fostered (and later adopted) was spayed by my vet while she was still nursing her six week old kittens. A few days after she was spayed, I brought her home with the kittens and she seemed to do very well, still producing milk and tolerating the kittens nursing for the next few weeks. She was an excellent mother even when recovering from surgery and moving into a strange home as as foster cat.

All of her kittens were adopted to families through the SPCA and Ella became a permanent member of our family.

This is Ella now, healthy and happy:
 
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