Contraception in felids

Linda Munson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Contraceptives are used for reversible reproductive control in genetically valuable wild felids, as permanent reproductive control in generic wild felids, and as an economically practicable means to control feral cats. The progestin contraceptives, megestrol acetate, melengesterol acetate, medroxyprogesterone acetate, and levonorgestrol (administered orally, in implants, or as depot injections), are effective in preventing pregnancy. However, long-term use is associated with endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial cancer, and mammary cancer. Gonadotropin releasing hormone analogs or luteinizing hormone vaccines that achieve contraception by suppressing ovarian or testicular function, do not have the adverse health effects of progestins. However, reliable reversibility has not been demonstrated, and male secondary sex characteristics may be suppressed. Bisdiamines also inhibit spermatogenesis and lower circulating testosterone concentrations in treated male cats. Porcine zona pellucida vaccines are ineffective contraceptives in felids and may cause serious health problems when combined with some adjuvants. Because of the limited availability of non-progestin contraceptives and side effects associated with some agents, widespread application of contraception to felids has been curtailed. More non-steroidal methods of contraception should be tested in the future to provide alternatives for controlling reproduction in felids. Furthermore, all empirical information on contraceptive safety and efficacy should be assembled in a database to provide the knowledge needed by veterinarians and managers to determine benefits/risks of currently available contraceptives in felids, both domestic and wild.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-134
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006


  • Bisdiamines
  • Contraception
  • Deslorelin
  • Felid
  • Progestins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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