What Caused My Cat's Discharge Down There?

CatChannel and CAT FANCY cat veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, shares information what could cause a cat's vaginal discharge in an unspayed female cat.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM

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Humane Societies might insist on conducting spay/neuter surgeries themselves to be certain that cats are altered.
Q: I adopted a beautiful white cat from the Humane Society. She is still there because they would not let me take her home without spaying her first. I work in an animal clinic and said I would like my vet do the spaying, but the Humane Society's rules won't have it. I visited my cat today and found a small yellowish discharge around her vulva. I worry because I fell love with this little cat. Do I have something to worry about? She won't be looked at until Monday for spaying.

A: It's frustrating to not adopt your cat right away, but I understand the Humane Society's insistence on doing the cat's spay/neuter surgery themselves. It's truly the only way they can absolutely know that the cat is spayed/neutered. Many people promise to spay their cat after adoption, yet they forget to do it, or change their mind, and the cat gets pregnant.  Even having people pre-pay for a spay doesn't guarantee that they will come back and get it done. To not let the cat go to its new home until after being spayed is the proper thing to do.

It is difficult to comment about the vaginal discharge without seeing the cat. You didn't say how old the cat is that you're adopting. A cat less than six months may have something simple, like vaginitis, that causes the discharge. An older, unspayed cat with a vaginal discharge may have pyometra — an infection of the uterus. This can be a serious illness in cats.

I hope you alerted the staff at the Humane Society to the presence of the discharge. Cats with pyometra should be spayed promptly or else the uterus could rupture, leading to septic peritonitis and possible death.

If a staff vet at the Humane Society believes that this is a pyometra, then I'm sure they will spay her as soon as possible, and you'll be able to take her home soon. If it's nothing serious, then just be patient and wait until Monday. Cats recover very quickly from spay surgery, and you'll be able to take her home very soon.
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