Infertility in purebred cats - A review of the potential causes

Theriogenology. 2020 Dec:158:339-345. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2020.09.032. Epub 2020 Sep 28.


Although purebred cat breeding is growing in popularity in European countries, most research and publications concern dog reproduction. Infertility in queens has been poorly studied. It may not come as a surprise as common domestic shorthair cats are well known for their excellent fertility. However, even in the latter, the infertility rate is around 20%. Only recently, published articles have analyzed the reproductive performances in different breeds, for example in UK, Sweden, France and Italy, and found similar figures. In cats, infertility may arise from many factors such as mismating, prolonged anestrus or silent heats, hormonal, nutritional, genetical or chromosomal causes. Also, infectious diseases, probably frequent in breeding facilities, include pathological agents that are well recognized as having a negative effect on pregnancy or other pathogens for which the involvement in fertility problems is unclear. However, analyzing the literature, it appears that the most prevalent causes of infertility in pedigree cats may well be, in females, uterine pathology (sub-clinical endometritis, cystic endometrial hyperplasia, or mucometra), and in males, teratospermia, which may be "permanent" and linked to reduced heterozygosity or "transient" in tomcats that present normal quantitative spermatogenic parameters. The influence of the breed is unknown. There is an urgent need to study the origin of infertility in purebred cats in order to improve the diagnosis and to develop treatments that may restore normal fertility in subfertile or infertile animals.

Keywords: Cat; Infertility; Mismating; Purebred; Queen; Teratospermia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases* / genetics
  • Cats
  • Dog Diseases*
  • Dogs
  • Europe
  • Female
  • France
  • Infertility* / veterinary
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Sweden