Immune systems of cats weakened by Cesarean births?

Cat born by Cesarean

Is it possible that Cesarean births of kittens are responsible for immune related and undefined health problems in pedigree, purebred cats (and less often, in random bred cats)? Apparently, Persian cats are prone to difficulties giving birth and C-sections are sometimes performed on this breed of cat. Persians with Siamese have the highest rate of health problems in purebred cats on my assessment.

As far as I am aware there is no established connection, through studies, between immune compromised cats and their Cesarean births. I am, therefore, speculating.

If there is a connection, it may at least partly account for the generally accepted view that pedigree, purebred cats are less healthy than random breed cats. Inbreeding is another factor.

When we look at ourselves in a mirror we see us and nothing else. However, we are not only what we see. We are a full-blown ecosystem. There are billions of microbes living on us and in us. It is called our microbial community. An analogy would be as if we were a tree in a forest supporting all the animals living in it.

The microbes include more than 800 species of bacteria and many species of virus and protozoans. Our gut is particularly rich in bacteria and a thriving microbial community. It is a very stable community but it can be upset by, for example, antibiotics and a sharp change in diet.

A child born naturally collects his/her “starter pack” microbial community from his mother’s birth canal. The microbes in the canal are passed to the newborn child and the microbial community develops over the forthcoming 2-3 years until it is stable and pretty well complete. The environment and the food ingested adds to the microbes living on and in the child.

There is a known connection between Cesarean births of children and immune issues and health problems such as asthma and eczema. It is believed that this is because the child failed to collect his microbial community starter pack on his way into the harsh world.

Now to cats. Cats like all animals have their own microbial community. I will speculate and say that unknown to cat breeders – commercial or one-off amateurs – delivering their cats by Cesarean may result in their cats being less healthy throughout their lives and it may account for some of the undiagnosed or difficult to diagnose health problems that are often treated with steroids by vets.

There is interesting connection too between cats and kids. Kids that are in contact with cats at an early age can develop better immune systems from the cat’s microbial community. An animal’s immune system needs to be primed and worked by pathogens in order to function at its best. Pathogens are things that cause disease.

People who buy pedigree cats sometimes breed their newly acquired cat with the intention of selling the offspring to recoup the cost of their cat and to make a bit of extra money. Some of the births might be Caesareans. If there is a connection between Cesarean births of cats and health issues these informal breeders may be contributing to the problem.


  • Original photo on Flickr.
  • Cesarean is also spelled Caesarean. Alternative usage is C-section and Caesarean section.
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Immune systems of cats weakened by Cesarean births? — 8 Comments

  1. Something I have never thought about before – It must be hard on the mama cat because she has to be closed up again and with stitches and giving milk to her kittens whilst healing. IS that even possible or must they be bottle fed?

    • I sort of made this up! Not really. I don’t think anyone has discussed this possibility before but it does seem feasible to me, which is why I wrote the article.

      There are probably some hidden problems within cat breeding that we are aware off as outsiders to the cat fancy which is a closed shop club.

    • The vets I worked for didn’t often have cats in for Caesareans but when we did we always put the kittens with their mother as soon as she woke up but while still drowsy so that they would bond. Cats are so very stoic that the mothers were soon feeding and washing their babies even with their op wound stitched up.
      In those days all stitched up wounds were painted with gentian violet which was harmless but tasted bitter and so no animal would lick at it.

  2. I’m not sure that I have a response for this.
    All new to me but interesting.
    I haven’t had any cat deliver by c-section; but, I had 2 healthy children dekivered that way.

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