Without TNR volunteers being aware of it, they spayed a female cat who had apparently just given birth and was lactating. One of the volunteers noticed that her “mammary glands are swollen” and asked on Facebook whether anybody had seen it before. I think she was tentatively asking whether the swollen mammary glands were linked to the spaying operation.
The responses were that this female cat must have been pregnant, given birth to kittens and was lactating as a result. As a consequence, she had been taken from her kittens and there was a pressing need to return her to them. Some said that there was a maximum 24 hour time limit to do this. I don’t know how long this female cat was away from a kittens or indeed if she was returned to them. It’s a problem which I have not encountered before on social media.
The advice was to give her a good meal and then release her ‘home’ so that she could find her babies. One of the questions that I have is will she find her babies? Another question, without being critical, is why the veterinarian who did the spaying operation did not notice that she was lactating. Is it in compliance with veterinary guidelines to carry out a spraying operation on a lactating cat? It probably is for a feral cat.
I assume that they left the cat alone to allow her to look after her kittens. No doubt they will take the opportunity to ultimately find homes for the kittens because they are at a stage where they can be socialized and therefore domesticated.
I presume that the mother is healthy and lactating in a normal way. It may have been that her mammary glands were swollen for a different reason such as an infection in which case urgent veterinary care would have been required.
An alternative scenario would be that she was pregnant at the time that she was spayed. If that is the case it would have been a big mistake as far as I can tell to have spayed her or perhaps it makes no difference as this is a feral cat.
The general consensus is that the cat was nursing. The photograph is a bit surprising to me but I’m sure it is normal for a cat about to be spayed. Although the veterinarian appears to have shaved off more than the usual amount of hair.