If you are bringing your tortoiseshell kitten into your home as early as is recommended (which is around 10-12 weeks), then something that you will soon need to consider is to have her neutered, or spayed.
Tortoiseshell kittens reach sexual maturity between the age of 5 to 8 months, so you should start making plans to get her spayed well before this. It is important to make sure she is neutered before she can have kittens herself – her first season can be when she is 6 months old, although it could be earlier.
It is now recommended that all domestic cats are neutered to prevent unwanted kittens being born. It can be difficult to find homes for every new kitten, who can be vulnerable to disease. Neutering will also prevent seasons in your cat, and the behavioural changes, roaming and attractiveness to male cats that occurs at this time.
As the vast majority of tortoiseshell cats are female (male tortoiseshell cats are very rare), the process of having her neutered is known as spaying. This involves the removal of the ovaries and the uterus in a surgical procedure, during which your cat will go under general anesthetic. It is quite an invasive procedure, so she will probably quite quiet and groggy for a couple of days after the operation.
However, she should soon start to recover and you will soon see her return to her normal self, displaying loads of tortitude! The fur around her side will need to be shaved, but it will grow back in a few weeks. The wounds will heal quite quickly, but if she does keep licking and scratching then your vet will be able to provide some dressing or a cat collar.
You can get your tortoiseshell cat neutered at your local vet, so make sure that you contact them for prices and make sure she is booked in at any time around four months old. Although there are some costs involved, there are considerable health benefits for your cat as the procedure also helps to prevent the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer, as well as preventing pyometra.