What is Cesarean Section?
A Cesarean section – more commonly known as a C-section – is a surgical procedure that involves removing kittens from the uterus. This is usually performed as an emergency measure, particularly if complications occur during natural birth. The most common condition c-section is used to treat is dystocia, which is an umbrella term for abnormally prolonged or complicated birth.
Cesarean Section Procedure in Cats
Since this is often an emergency procedure, the exact procedure steps may vary depending on the cat’s needs. The general procedure steps for feline Cesarean section are outlined below.
- The cat will be anesthetized prior to surgery.
- The surgeon will make incisions into the skin and linea alba.
- The gravid uterus – or the pregnant uterus – will be exteriorized and incised so the kittens can be delivered.
- The surgeon will deliver the kittens, which may be placed into an incubator.
- The surgeon will flush the uterus with a saline solution prior to suturing it closed in two layers, or may remove the uterus if spaying the cat is the best option.
- The linea alba and the skin incisions will then be sutured respectively.
- The cat and her kittens may be hospitalized following surgery.
Efficacy of Cesarean Section in Cats
The efficacy of C-section in cats will depend on how long the cat was in labor prior to surgery. If the cat spent several hours in labor prior to surgery, the recovery period will be longer. The efficacy of surgery may also vary based on the birth difficulty that affected the mother cat and warranted surgery. As long as the procedure is performed quickly, the mother cat is healthy at the time of surgery, and the mother has not been in labor for several hours, the mother cat and the kitten(s) can usually be saved. If all these conditions are met, the average likelihood of a kitten surviving the surgery is 80%.
Cesarean Section Recovery in Cats
Owners should follow their surgeon’s postoperative care instructions carefully. Cats that have just given birth via C-section and their kittens should be carefully monitored following surgery. Owners may need to help the kittens nurse until the mother wakes up. Do not allow mother cats to be alone with the kittens until they have fully recovered from anesthesia, which typically takes four to six hours. Nutritional changes are required following surgery, which will be outlined by the veterinarian based on the cat’s specific needs.
Owners may observe vaginal discharge and vaginal blood for the first week following surgery. This occurs more commonly in cats that were not spayed during the surgery. If this discharge or blood is still present after one week, owners should consult their veterinarian immediately. If absorbable sutures were not used, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled within ten to fourteen days following surgery to remove them.
Cost of Cesarean Section in Cats
The average cost of C-section may vary based on standards of living and additional costs incurred, including medications, hospitalization, and supportive care. The average cost of c-section ranges from $800 to $4000.
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Cat Cesarean Section Considerations
As long as the mother cat is healthy prior to surgery, complications do not usually occur. There are complications with any surgical procedure, Cesarean section included. Complications of Csection include, but are not limited to:
- Postoperative hemorrhaging
- Mastitis: A specific type of bacterial infection which affects new mother cats
- Pyometra: Uterine infection
- Anesthetic death
Despite the best efforts of the surgeon, the kittens may be at risk of passing away before, during, or after surgery due to the severity of birth complications. The mother cat may also be at risk of passing away if the condition is severe or life-threatening.
Cesarean Section Prevention in Cats
In many cases, it can be difficult to prevent birthing complications in cats, and spaying cats is often the best course of action before they can get pregnant. Pregnant cats should be routinely examined by a veterinarian.
Cesarean Section Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Domestic short hair cat
0 found helpful
0 found helpful
Pregnant stray needed C-section for a difficult birth and spayed during the surgery. Delivered 3 kittens. 4 days later incision ruptured and she was rushed for emergency surgery. Its four days past the second surgery I'm nervous it will happen again but when I put the soft e-collar on her she doesn't clean the kittens as often which is concerning because I need to make sure that they are eliminating properly. They are 8 days old today. I'm not sure what to do! I've seen her licking her belly and I do have a pet camera to watch her while I'm at work but I can't watch her twenty-four hours
Sept. 27, 2020
Dr. Michele K. DVM
Thank you for your question, I'm sorry for the delay in answering. These emails are not set up to handle urgent matters. I hope that she is doing well in her recovery from surgery, some animals do need to have the e-collar taken off frequently to eat or to nurse or to clean the kittens. You can also help clean the kittens with a warm wet towel, I hope that all goes well.
Oct. 11, 2020
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3 found helpful
3 found helpful
About 2 months ago my cat had a C section and none of the kittens survived. We kept the mother away from the father while she was recovering but somehow they seemed to sneak in with each other and she has fallen pregnant again. What I’d like to know is since she already had a C section not too long ago, is it possible to give birth naturally this time around or will she need another C section?
Aug. 27, 2018
Generally a cat which had a caesarean section already is at a greater risk of complications in future pregnancies and may require another caesarean section this time; you should monitor her closely and discuss with your Veterinarian near to the expected queening date. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
Aug. 28, 2018
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