Evidence for seasonal reproduction in UK domestic cats

A.L. Jennett, Nigel Jennett, J. Hopping, D. Yates

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    Abstract

    Objectives To analyse a large body of data obtained by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Greater Manchester Animal Hospital on the breeding pattern of owned domestic cats in the UK, and to provide clear statistical evidence of whether seasonal variation remains present in temperate climates. Methods The total number of cats spayed and the number of cats found to be pregnant were recorded on a monthly basis from December 2005 to July 2014 by the RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital. The percentage of cats found to be pregnant was calculated for each month and the 8.5 years of data were binned into calendar months. The mean and SD of the monthly pregnancy rate was calculated for each calendar month bin, as was the difference between the mean percentage of detected pregnancies and the global mean. The Z score for each month’s difference was then calculated. Results Data were available for 5414 cats neutered during the 8.5 consecutive years of this study. A global average of 8.9% of cats spayed were found to be pregnant. The mean calendar month pregnancy rate exhibited a very significant variation, with the highest positive deviation being in April (Z score +2.9) and the highest negative deviation being in November/December (Z score -4.5). When aggregated into 3 month averages, an extremely significant difference between ‘spring’ and ‘winter’ months of >7 SE (P
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)804-808
    JournalJournal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
    Volume18
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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    Keywords

    • domestic cats
    • breeding patterns
    • seasonal reproduction

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