Birth Control for Cats


Each year, millions of animals are euthanized in animal shelters. Choosing an effective birth control method for your cat helps to prevent unwanted kittens and reduces the demand on animal shelters.

Spaying or Neutering

Spaying or neutering your cat is a permanent method of birth control. When a female cat is spayed, her ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are surgically removed. When a male cat is neutered, his testicles are removed. This procedure is not reversible, so you cannot later decide to breed your cat.

Spaying and neutering removes the chance that your cat will develop uterine or testicular cancer. Sterilization also helps to prevent behavioral problems. Intact males commonly spray to mark their territory, attempt to escape to find females in heat and fight with other cats. Intact females tend to yowl when in heat and attract male cats. Although sterilized cats tend to be calmer, the procedure does not change their personality.

Many animal shelters offer low-cost spay and neuter clinic to make birth control for your cat affordable.

Nonsurgical Birth Control Methods

If you have a purebred cat, but haven't decided whether you want to breed her, consider using a nonsurgical birth control method to prevent pregnancy.

Megestrol Acetate

Megesterol acetate is an oral tablet or powder birth control method that uses progestin to delay estrus and prevent pregnancy. It also is prescribed to male cats to address behavior problems such as aggression or spraying.

This method of birth control must be given daily and is most effective if given at the same time each day. The most common side effects include increased thirst and urination, personality changes and weight gain. It may interact with rifampin.


Medroxyprogesterone acetate is a progesterone hormonal birth control option available as a tablet or injection. The brand name of the medication is Provera or Depo-Provera. It works by preventing the ovaries from producing eggs. At lower doses, it can treat behavior problems common in intact cats.

Side effects include increased thirst and appetite, behavioral changes, depression, hair loss and a suppressed immune system. It may interact with corticosteroids and rifampin.

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