The domestic cat is a member of the order Carnivora, a taxon consisting of 231 species, most of which exhibit vastly different reproductive strategies. The data base on sperm and oocyte interaction is poor for almost all carnivores. However, the mechanisms of fertilization for the domestic cat are beginning to receive attention because these studies generate new information of both fundamental and applied benefit. Unlike most conventional laboratory species, which ovulate spontaneously during estrus, the cat is an “induced” ovulator. Ovulation occurs only after multiple copulations trigger pituitary release of sufficient amounts of luteinizing hormone (LH), which causes final maturation of follicular oocytes. Therefore, the cat is useful for studying the kinetics of LH effects on oocyte nuclear maturation. It also is possible that induced ovulatory species have different mechanisms for sustaining oocyte viability in the ovarian follicle. If for some reason copulation is delayed in the estrous cat, then, in theory, the intrafollicular oocyte must innately sustain its longevity, moreso than in most mammals, which ovulate spontaneously near the onset of sexual receptivity.


Seminal Plasma Oocyte Maturation Zona Pellucida Cumulus Cell Corpus Luteum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Banks, D. R., and Stabenfeldt, G. H., 1982, Luteinizing hormone release in the cat in response to coitus on consecutive days of estrus, Biol. Reprod. 26: 603–611.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beaver, B. V, 1977, Mating behavior in the cat, Vet. Clin. North Am. 16: 729–733.Google Scholar
  3. Biggers, J. D., Gwatkin, R. B. L., and Brinster, R. L., 1962, Development of mouse embryos in organ culture of fallopian tubes on a chemically defined medium, Nature 194: 747–749.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boatman, D. E., and Bavister, B. D., 1982, Cyclic nucleotide mediated stimulation of rhesus monkey sperm fertilizing ability, J. Cell Biol. 95: 153.Google Scholar
  5. Bowen, R. A., 1977, Fertilization in vitro of feline ova by spermatozoa from the ductus deferens, Biol. Reprod. 17: 144–147.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brackett, B. G., 1970, In vitro fertilization of mammalian ova, in: Schering Symposium on Mechanisms Involved in Conception: Advances in the Biosciences, Vol. 4 (G. Raspe, ed.), Pergamon Press-Vieweg, New York, p. 73.Google Scholar
  7. Brackett. B. G., 1981, Applications of in vitro fertilization, in: New Technologies in Animal Breeding ( G. E. Seidel, S. Seidel, and B. G. Brackett, eds.), Academic Press, New York, pp. 141–161.Google Scholar
  8. Brackett, B. G., and Oliphant, G., 1975, Capacitation of rabbit spermatozoa in vitro, Biol. Reprod. 12: 260–274.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brackett, B. G., Bousquet, D., Boice, M. L., Donawick, W. J., Evans, J. F., and Dressel, M. A., 1982. Normal development following in vitro fertilization in the cow, Biol. Reprod. 27: 147–158.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brown, J. L., Wildt, D. E., Phillips, L. G., Seidensticker, J., Fernando, S. B. U., Miththapala, S., and Goodrowe, K. L., 1989, Ejaculate characteristics, and adrenal—pituitary—gonadal interrelationships in captive leopards (Panthera pardus kotiya) isolated on the island of Sri Lanka, J. Reprod. Fertil. 85: 605–613.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Byers, A. P., Hunter, A. G., Hensleigh, H. C., Kreeger, T. J., Binczik, G., Reindl, N. J., Seal, U. S., and Tilson, R. L., 1987, In vitro capacitation of Siberian tiger spermatozoa, Zoo Biol. 6: 297–304.Google Scholar
  12. Byers, A. P, Hunter, A. G., Seal, U. S., Binczik, G. A., Graham, E. E, Reindl, N. J., and Tilson, R. L., 1989, In vitro induction of capacitation of fresh and frozen spermatozoa of the Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris), J. Reprod. Fertil. 86: 599–607.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Camous, S., Heyman, Y., Meziou, W, and Menezo, Y., 1984, Cleavage beyond the block stage and survival after transfer of early bovine embryos cultured with trophoblastic vesicles, J. Reprod. Fertil. 72: 479–485.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chang, M. C., 1957, Natural occurrence and artificial induction of parthenogenetic cleavage of ferret ova, Anat. Rec. 128: 187–200.Google Scholar
  15. Chang, M. C., 1968, Reciprocal insemination and egg transfer between ferrets and mink, J. Exp. Zool. 168: 49–60.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Concannon, P, Hodgson, B., and Lein, D., 1980, Reflex LH release in estrous cats following single and multiple copulations, Biol. Reprod. 23: 111–117.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Concannon, P. W, Lein, D. H., and Hodgson, B. G., 1989, Self-limiting reflex luteinizing hormone release and sexual behavior during extended periods of unrestricted copulatory activity in estrous domestic cats, Biol. Reprod. 40: 1179–1187.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Davis, D. L., and Day, B. N., 1978, Cleavage and blastocyst formation by pig eggs in vitro, J. Anim. Sci. 46: 1043–1053.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Dawson, A. B., and Friedgood, H. B., 1940, The time and sequence of preovulatory changes in the cat ovary after mating or mechanical stimulation of the cervix uteri, Anat. Rec. 76: 411–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dekel, N., Lawrence, T. S., Gilula, N. B., and Beers, W. H., 1981, Modulation of cell-to-cell communication in the cumulus—oocyte complex and the regulation of oocyte maturation by LH, Dev. Biol. 86: 356–362.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Donoghue, A. M., Johnston, L. A., Seal, U. S., Armstrong, D. L., Tilson, R. L., Wolf, P, Petrini, K., Simmons, L. G., Gross, T., and Wildt, D. E., 1990, In vitro fertilization and embryo development in vitro and in vivo in the tiger (Panthera tigris), Biol. Reprod. 43: 733–747.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Edwards, R. G., 1965, Maturation in vitro of mouse, sheep, cow, pig, rhesus monkey and human ovarian oocytes, Nature 208: 349–351.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Eppig, J., and Koide, S., 1978, Effects of progesterone and oestradiol-1713 on the spontaneous meiotic maturation of mouse oocytes, J. Reprod. Fertil. 53: 99–101.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Festing, M. F. W, and Bleby, J., 1970, Breeding performance and growth of SPF cats (Felis catus), J. Small Anim. Pract. 11: 533–538.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gandolfi, E, and Moor, R. M., 1987, Stimulation of early development in the sheep by coculture with oviductal epithelial cells, J. Reprod. Fertil. 81: 23–28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gilula, N B., Epstein, M. L., and Beers, W. N., 1978, Cell-to-cell communication and ovulation: A study of the cumulus—oocyte complex, J. Cell Biol. 78: 58–75.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Glover, T. E., Watson, P. F, and Bonney, R. C., 1985, Observations on variability in LH release and fertility during oestrus in the domestic cat (Felis catus), J. Reprod. Fert. 75: 145–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Goodrowe, K. L., 1987, Consequence of gonadotropin administration on fertilization and early embryonic development in the domestic cat and the in vitro fertilization of feline follicular oocytes, Ph.D. Dissertation, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda.Google Scholar
  29. Goodrowe, K. L., Miller, A. M., and Wildt, D. E., 1988a, Capacitation of domestic cat spermatozoa as determined by homologous zona pellucida penetration, Proc. XI Int. Cong. Anim. Reprod. Artif. Insem. 3: 245–247.Google Scholar
  30. Goodrowe, K. L., Wall, R. J., O’Brien, S. J., Schmidt, P M., and Wildt, D. E., 1988b, Developmental competence of domestic cat follicular oocytes after fertilization in vitro, Biol. Reprod. 39: 355–372.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Goodrowe, K. L., Miller, A. M., and Wildt, D. E., 1989a, In vitro fertilization of gonadotropin-stimulated leopard cat (Fells bengalensis) follicular oocytes, J. Exp. Zool. 252: 89–95.Google Scholar
  32. Goodrowe, K. L., Howard, J. G., Schmidt, P. M., and Wildt, D. E., 1989b, Reproductive biology of the domestic cat with special reference to endocrinology, sperm function and in vitro fertilization, J. Reprod. Fertil. Suppl. 39: 73–90.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Greulich, W. W., 1934, Artificially induced ovulation in the cat (Fells domestica), Anat. Rec. 58: 217–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Guraya, S. S., 1965. A histochemical analysis of lipid yolk deposition in the oocytes of cat and dog, J. Exp. Zool. 160: 123–136.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hamner, C. E., Jennings, L. L., and Sojka, N. J., 1970, Cat (Fells casus L.) spermatozoa require capacitation, J. Reprod. Fertil. 23: 477–480.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hardy, W. D., 1984, Feline leukemia virus as an animal retrovirus model for the human T-cell leukemia virus, in: Human T-cell Leukemia/Lymphoma Virus, ( R. Gallo, M. Essex, and L. Gross, eds.), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, pp. 35–43.Google Scholar
  37. Hill, J. P., and Tribe, M., 1924, The early development of the cat (Felis domestica), Q. J. Micr. Sci. 68: 513–613.Google Scholar
  38. Hilliard, J., Hayward, J. N., and Sawyer, C. H., 1964, Post-coital patterns of secretion of pituitary gonadotropin and ovarian progestin in the rabbit, Endocrinology 75: 957–961.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Howard, J. G., and Wildt, D. E., 1990, Ejaculate and hormonal characteristics in the leopard cat (Felis bengalensis) and sperm function as measured by in vitro penetration of zona-free hamster ova and zona-intact domestic cat oocytes, Mol. Reprod. Dev. 26: 163–174.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Howard, J. G., Bush, M., Hall, L. L., and Wildt, D. E., 1984, Morphological abnormalities in spermatozoa of 28 species of nondomestic felids, Proc. X Int. Cong. Anim. Reprod. Artif. lnsem. 2: 57–59.Google Scholar
  41. Howard, J. G., Brown, J. L., Bush, M., and Wildt, D. E., 1990, Teratospermic and normospermic domestic cats: Ejaculate traits, pituitary—gonadal hormones and improvement of spermatozoa) viability and morphology after swim-up processing, J. Androl. 11: 204–215.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Howard, J. G., Bush, M., and Wildt, D. E., 1991, Teratospermic in domestic cats compromises penetration of zona-free hamster ova and cat zona pellucidae, J. Androl. 12: 36–45.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Jemmett, J. E., and Evans, J. M., 1977, A survey of sexual behavior and reproduction in female cats, J. Small Anim. Pract. 18: 31–37.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Johnson, L. M., and Gay, V. L., 1981, Luteinizing hormone in the cat. II. Mating-induced secretion, Endocrinology 109: 247–252.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Johnston, L. A., O’Brien, S. J., and Wildt, D. E., 1989, In vitro maturation and fertilization of domestic cat follicular oocytes, Gamete Res. 24: 343–356.Google Scholar
  46. Johnston, L. A., Donoghue, A. M., O’Brien, S. J., and Wildt, D. E., 1991, Culture medium and protein supplementation influence in vitro fertilization and embryo development in the domestic cat, J. Exp. Zool. 257: 350–359.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Johnston, S. D., Osborn, C. A., and Lipowitz, A. J., 1988, Characterization of seminal plasma, prostatic fluid and bulbourethral gland secretions in the domestic cat, Proc. 11th Int. Cong. Anim. Reprod. Artif. Insem. 4: 560–562.Google Scholar
  48. Mahadevan, M. M., and Trounson, A. O., 1984. The influence of seminal characteristics on the success rate of human in vitro fertilization, Fertil. Steril. 42: 400–405.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Mahi, C. A., and Yanagimachi, R., 1976, Maturation and sperm penetration of canine ovarian oocytes in vitro, J. Exp. Zool. 196: 189–196.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mahi, C. A., and Yanagimachi, R., 1978, Capacitation, acrosome reaction and egg penetration by canine spermatozoa in a simple defined medium, Gamete Res. 1: 101–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. McGaughey, R. W, 1977, The culture of pig oocytes in minimal medium, and the influence of progesterone and estradio1–1713 on meiotic maturation, Endocrinology 100: 39–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Miller, A. M., Johnston, L. A. Hurlbut, S. L., and Wildt, D. E., 1989, Intrafollicular domestic cat oocytes and later corpus luteum function are sensitive to the timing of gonadotropin stimulation, Proc. Soc. Stud. Reprod. Biol. Reprod. Suppl. 1: 40–96A.Google Scholar
  53. Miller, A. M., Roelke, M. E., Goodrowe, K. L., Howard, J. G., and Wildt, D. E., 1990, Oocyte recovery, maturation and fertilization in vitro in the puma (Fells concolor), J. Reprod. Fertil. 88: 249–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Moor, R. M., Osborn, J. C., Cran, D. G., Walters, D. E., 1981, Selective effect of gonadotrophins on cell coupling, nuclear maturation and protein synthesis in mammalian oocytes, J. Embryo). Exp. Morpho. 61: 347–365.Google Scholar
  55. Motlik, J., Fulka, J., and Flechon, J. E., 1986, Changes in intercellular coupling between pig oocytes and cumulus cells during maturation in vivo and in vitro, J. Reprod. Fertil. 76: 31–37.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Nestor, A., and Handel, M. A., 1984, The transport of morphologically abnormal sperm in the female reproductive tract of mice, Gamete Res. 10: 119–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Niwa, K., Ohara, K., Hosoi, Y., and Iritani, A., 1985, Early events of in vitro fertilization of cat eggs by epididymal spermatozoa, J. Reprod. Fertil. 74: 657–660.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. O’Brien, S. J., 1986, Molecular genetics in the domestic cat and its relatives, Trends Genet. 2: 137–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Olsen, R. J., 1981, Feline Leukemia CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.Google Scholar
  60. Paape, S. R., Shille, V. M., Seto, H., and Stabenfeldt, G. H., 1975, Luteal activity in the pseudopregnant cat, Biol. Reprod. 13: 470–474.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Platz, C. C., and Seager, S. W. J., 1978, Semen collection by electroejaculation in the domestic cat, J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 173: 1353–1355.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Platz, C. C., Wildt, D. E., and Seager, S. W. J., 1978, Pregnancy in the domestic cat after artificial insemination with previously frozen spermatozoa, J. Reprod. Fertil. 52: 279–282.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Pope, C. E., Glewicks, E. J., Wachs, K. B., Keller, G. L., Maruska, E. J., and Dresser, B. L., 1989, Successful interspecies transfer of embryos from the Indian desert cat (Felis silvestris ornata) to the domestic cat (Fells catus) following in vitro fertilization, Proc. Soc. Stud. Reprod. Biol. Reprod. Suppl 1: 40–61A.Google Scholar
  64. Prescott, C. W., 1973, Reproduction patterns in the domestic cat, Aust. Vet. J. 49: 126–129.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Prins, G. S., Wagner, C., Weidel, L., Gianfortoni, J., Marut, E. L., and Scommegna, A., 1987, Gonadotropins augment maturation and fertilization of human immature oocytes cultured in vitro, Fertil. Steril. 47: 1035–1037.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Robison, B. L., and Sawyer, C. H., 1987, Hypothalamic control of ovulation and behavioral estrus in the cat, Brain Res. 418: 41–51.Google Scholar
  67. Saacke, R. G., Bame, J. H., Karabinus, D. S., Mullins, K. J., and Whitman, S., 1988, Transport of abnormal spermatozoa in the artificially inseminated cow based upon accessory spermatozoa in the zona pellucida, Proc. XI Int. Cong. Anim. Reprod. Artif. Insem. 3: 292–294.Google Scholar
  68. Schini, S. A., and Bavister, B. D., 1988, Two-cell block to development of cultured hamster embryos is caused by phosphate and glucose, Biol. Reprod. 40: 607–614.Google Scholar
  69. Schmidt, P. M., 1986, Feline breeding management, Vet. Clin. North Am. 16: 435–452.Google Scholar
  70. Schmidt, P. M., Chakraborty, P. K., and Wildt, D. E., 1983, Ovarian activity, circulating hormones and sexual behavior in the cat. II. Relationships during pregnancy, parturition, lactation and the postpartum estrus, Biol. Reprod. 28: 657–671.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Scott, M. A., and Scott, P. P., 1957, Post-natal development of the testis and epididymis in the cat, J. Physiol. (Loud.) 136: 40–41.Google Scholar
  72. Shille, V. M., Lundstrom, K. E., and Stabenfeldt, G. H., 1979, Follicular function in the domestic cat as determined by estradiol-1713 concentrations in plasma: Relation to estrous behavior and cornification of exfoliated vaginal epithelium, Biol. Reprod. 21: 953–963.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Shille, V. M., Munro, C., Farmer, S. W., Papkoff, H., and Stabenfeldt, G. H., 1983, Ovarian and endocrine responses in the cat after coitus, J. Reprod. Fertil. 68: 29–39.Google Scholar
  74. Sojka, N. J., Jennings, L. L., and Hamner, C. E., 1970, Artificial insemination in the cat (Fells catus L.), Lab. Anim. Care 20: 198–204.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Van der Stricht, R., 1911, Vitellogenese dans l’ovule de chatte, Arch. Biol. T 26: 365–481.Google Scholar
  76. Verhage, H. G., Beamer, N. B., and Brenner, R. M., 1976, Plasma levels of estradiol and progesterone in the cat during polyestrus, pregnancy and pseudopregnancy, Biol. Reprod. 14: 579–585.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Whittingham, D. G., 1971, Survival of mouse embryos after freezing and thawing, Nature 233: 592–593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wildt, D. E., 1989, Reproductive research in conservation biology: Priorities and avenues for support, J. Zoo Wildl. Med. 20: 391–395.Google Scholar
  79. Wildt, D. E., 1990, Potential applications of IVF technology for species conservation, in: Fertilization in Mammals ( B. D. Bavister, J. Cummins, and R. S. Roldan, eds.), Serono Symposium, Norwell, pp. 349–364.Google Scholar
  80. Wildt, D. E., and Seager, S. W. J., 1980, Laparoscopie determination of ovarian and uterine morphology during the reproductive cycle (of the cat), in: Current Therapy in Theriogenology ( D. A. Morrow, ed.), W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia, pp. 828–832.Google Scholar
  81. Wildt, D. E., Guthrie, S. C., and Seager, S. W. J., 1978, Ovarian and behavioral cyclicity of the laboratory maintained cat, Horm. Behay. 10: 251–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Wildt, D. E., Seager, S. W. J., and Chakraborty, P. K., 1980, Effect of copulatory stimuli on incidence of ovulation and on serum luteinizing hormone in the cat, Endocrinology 107: 1212–1217.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Wildt, D. E., Chan, S. Y. W., Seager, S. J., and Chakraborty, P K., 1981, Ovarian activity, circulating hormones and sexual behavior in the cat. I. Relationships during the coitus-induced luteal phase and the estrous period without mating, Biol. Reprod. 25: 15–28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Wildt, D. E., Bush, M., Howard, J. G., O’Brien, S. J., Meltzer, D., van Dyk, A., Ebedes, H., and Brand, D. J.,1983, Unique seminal quality in the South African cheetah and a comparative evaluation in the domestic cat, Biol. Reprod. 29: 1019–1025.Google Scholar
  85. Wildt, D. E., Howard, J. G., Hall, L. L., and Bush, M., 1986a, The reproductive physiology of the clouded leopard. I. Electroejaculates contain high proportions of pleiomorphic spermatozoa throughout the year, Biol. Reprod. 34: 937–947.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Wildt, D. E., Schiewe, M. C., Schmidt, P M., Goodrowe, K. L., Howard, J. G., Phillips, L. G., O’Brien, S. J., and Bush, M., 19866, Developing animal model systems for embryo technologies in rare and endangered wildlife species, Theriogenology 25: 33–51.Google Scholar
  87. Wildt, D. E., Bush, M., Goodrowe, K. L., Packer, C., Pusey, A. C., Brown, J. L., Joslin, P, and O’Brien, S. J., 1987a, Reproductive and genetic consequences of founding isolated lion populations, Nature 329: 328–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Wildt, D. E., O’Brien, S. J., Howard, J. G., Caro, T. M., Roelke, M. E., Brown, J. L., and Bush, M., 1987b, Similarity in ejaculate—endocrine characteristics in captive versus free-ranging cheetahs of two subspecies, Biol. Reprod. 36: 351–360.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Wildt, D. E., Phillips, L. G., Simmons, L. G., Chakraborty, P. K., Brown, J. L., Howard, J. G., Teare, A., and Bush, M., 1988. A comparative analysis of ejaculate and hormonal characteristics of the captive male cheetah, tiger, leopard and puma, Biol. Reprod. 38: 245–255.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Yanagimachi, R., 1972, Penetration of guinea-pig spermatozoa into hamster eggs in vitro, J. Reprod. Fertil. 28: 477–480.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Yanagimachi, R., and Chang, M. C., 1964, In vitro fertilization of hamster ova, J. Exp. Zool. 156: 361–376.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • David E. Wildt
    • 1
  1. 1.National Zoological ParkSmithsonian InstitutionUSA

Personalised recommendations