Delayed puberty in Cats (Felis) | Vetlexicon
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Delayed puberty

ISSN 2398-2950

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Introduction

  • Females: puberty - first estrus typically occurs at 4-12 months of age; average 8-10 months   Queen in estrus  :
    • Dependent on photoperiod, breed and nutrition level.
      • Kittens born in the winter may not cycle until next winter whereas kittens born in the summer or early fall may cycle after the winter solstice once the daylight begins to increase.
      • Short-haired queens (Siamese, Burmese) often cycle at an earlier age than long-haired, Persian and Manx queens.
      • Queens often enter puberty once have attained 60-70% of mature body weight (2-2.5 kg of body weight).
        • Attainment of body weight threshold may trigger onset of puberty despite time of the year.
    • Males: lack of sexual interest; inability to complete mating when exposed to queens in estrus.

Presenting signs

  • Female: failure to show estrus by 1 year old and more than 60% of mature body weight during Spring/Summer, and has shown no ovarian activity (determined by cytology  Cytology: vaginal cytology from a queen in estrus  Cytology: vaginal cytology from diestrus queen ). Some queens may not cycle until 2 years of age.
  • Male: failure to demonstrate fertility, lack of libido by 1 year old and more than 60% of mature weight during Spring/Summer, small testes.
    Delayed puberty more commonly seen in long-haired breeds, eg Persians Persian longhair, Manx Manx .

Age predisposition

  • >1 year old.

Breed/Species predisposition

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Poor body condition; inadequate nutrition.
  • Male or female (less common) afflicted with disorders of sex development Disorders of sexual development with variable phenotypes and variable karyotypes (chromosomal complements).

Predisposing factors

General

  • Season: autumn/winter-born kittens may not become sexually mature when the next breeding season arrives in the Spring (too young and lightweight) and may only show their first estrus in the following breeding season, ie at 12-16 months old.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Lack of contact with sexually mature animal? Cats are sensitive to tactile, visual, auditory and olfactory stimuli. 
  • Breed: tends to be delayed in long-haired breeds.

Pathophysiology

  • Poor nutrition   →   failure to attain critical body weight (60% adult body weight)   →   delayed hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis maturation.
  • Chromosomal abnormalities - unknown.

Timecourse

Chromosomal abnormalities

  • Most never reproduce successfully.

Other

  • Litter size and sperm output may be suppressed for life.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Faya M, Carranza A, Priotto M et al (2011) Domestic queens under natural temperate photoperiod do not manifest seasonal anestrus. Anim Reprod Sci 129 (1-2), 78-81 PubMed.
  • Wiebe V J, Howard J P (2009) Pharmacologic advances in canine and feline reproduction. Top Companion Anim Med 24 (2), 71-99 PubMed.
  • Tsutsui T, Nakagawa K, Hirano T et al (2004) Breeding season in female cats acclimated under a natural photoperiod and interval until puberty. J Vet Med Sci 66 (9), 1129-1132 PubMed.