Freeze/thawing process reduces sperm survival and fertilizing ability of cat spermatozoa, with sperm motility being the most sensitive sperm parameter altered, due to cryo-damage. In this context, swim-up and density gradient processing methods can help to recover high motile and normal spermatozoa. Maximizing the use of frozen semen sample is essential, especially in endangered felids or high value cats in which sample size, number of samples or access to semen collection is reduced. To our knowledge, there is no previous report describing an in depth analysis of sperm motility improvement, after sperm selection techniques in frozen cat semen. Accordingly, we evaluated the effect of percoll gradient (PG) and swim up (SU) sperm selection techniques on sperm motility parameters and sperm recovery rate in frozen/thawed spermatozoa of domestic cat. Next, we evaluated the individual effect of the cat over sperm motility after PG sperm selection of frozen/thawed spermatozoa. SU and PG improved significantly all sperm motility parameters of frozen/thawed cat spermatozoa compared to simple washing. However, PG allows better sperm recovery from the original frozen sample and works mostly homogeneously among individual cats. This new information could help to maximize the use of frozen semen in endangered felids or high value domestic cats for its subsequent application on in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination.
KEY WORDS: Motility; Percoll gradient; Swim up; Frozen semen; Cat spermatozoa.