Cat Contraceptive May be Available Now

The article below refers to the work of Julie Levy whom Winograd opined was doing the state of the art research in cat contraceptives. He referred to her in his email posted on this blog two days ago. According to this article, her vacine is for adminsitration to feral cats in the field. No need to transport them to a vet's office. Apparently this vacine, or one very similar, has been used in deer contraceptive research for a decade. This article states the vacine may be available in early 2007. I will check this out.

American Pet Journal
Lynn Thomas Tuesday, October 17, 2006

For the more than 70 million cats in the United States defined as feral, it translates into homelessness, disease, starvation, exposure to cruel weather conditions and prey for predators. Feral cats fear humans because loving hearts and hands never socialized them.

Programs like the trap-neuter-return require funding, community support and many volunteers, including veterinarians. The theory is that sterilized cats can't reproduce, so the feral population will gradually decrease in a humane way. Yet trapping and transporting cats is labor-intensive and licensed veterinarians must perform the surgeries, which are expensive.

Now comes a ray of hope from Julie Levy, head of Operation Catnip at the University of Florida, in a study funded by the Morris Animal Foundation and publicized in the foundation's "Animal News" publication. Levy has been testing a sterilization vaccine that could be administered by veterinary technicians in the field.

This vaccine targets a hormone in the brain called GnRH. When GnRH is controlled, a cat does not produce estrogen or testosterone and becomes temporarily infertile as a result.
The vaccine doesn't last forever, but in Levy's research, it is exceeding expectations. Fifteen female cats were vaccinated in May 2004, and, despite living with an un-neutered male, only one had become pregnant as of early 2006.

A long-term inexpensive fertility vaccine would give humane agencies, animal-control officers and public safety officials a humane way to control feral cat populations.Levy's studies would mean fewer cats struggling for survival on the streets. The vaccine is hoped to be to be available to the public by early 2007.


Anonymous said...

Do you see a problem here? Unless you know a trick I don't know how do you give the feral cat the second injection. Is this supposed to be for the lifetime of the cat? Everyone knows you can trap a cat but once. So if this "wears off" then what happens? And before we jump on this bandwagon, has anyone consulted with the vets about their feelings of losing money?

Ed Muzika said...

It appears--as is clearly written here--the injection may last for more than 2 years. I understand there are other vacines that are dose dependent, which means a larger dose may be permanent.

But whose mythbook are you reading from when you say you can only trap a cat once? I have trapped the same cat as many as three times when trying to trap the sole unneutered male.

Anonymous said...

You are the first person I have ever heard (and I am old) that trapped a cat more than once. I been doing this a long, long time and have never been able to trap the same cat more than the first time. I would not trust this method until there has been at least a 10 year study. As you said it doesn't last the lifetime of the cat and therefore is not currently acceptable for feral cats. I'm looking forward to the development of this method but I'm not jumping on that wagon until more of my questions are answer adequately. At least they are moving in the right direction.