Spaying and Neutering Your Cat Is Important and Necessary
24 February, 2015
If you just adopted or brought home a young kitten and this is your first, you will soon be told that you need to spay or neuter your kitten. There are so many reasons why you should spay or neuter your kittens including improving their health, temperament and to help prevent overpopulation of our felines.
Spaying and Neutering defined
Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures performed by veterinarians that stop cats from breeding by removing their reproductive organs. When a female cat is spayed, the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed. Neutering results in the castration of males and the complete removal of their testicles. While it sounds horrible, the procedure is done routinely by our veterinarian and your kitty will be fine.
There are many health benefits to spaying and/or neutering your cats
Spayed cats are less likely to develop breast cancer and will not be at risk for ovarian or uterine cancer, while neutered males will not get testicular cancer. By neutering male cats, you also reduce the risk of injury and transmission of disease, since male cats have a natural instinct to roam and get into fights with other cats that might have contagious diseases or parasites.
Spaying or neutering your cats helps prevent overpopulation and kitties without homes
In addition to the many health benefits, spaying or neutering your cat ensures that he or she won’t contribute to feline overpopulation. Even a cat who lives indoors may escape and produce kittens if not sterilized. Each year, millions of homeless cats are euthanized or end up in shelters due to a lack of good homes.
Spaying and/or neutering can help with behavioral issues
Any cat can spray urine to mark his or her territory yet unneutered males are those who most often engage in this behavior. Both intact male and female cats may try to escape their homes to roam outside. When female cats are in heat, they yowl and attract male cats and you know what that leads to!
It’s best to neuter or spay your cats while they are young
It is generally considered safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered. In most rescue shelters, the surgery is performed at a young age so the kittens can be sterilized prior to adoption. In an effort to avoid the start of urine spraying and eliminate the chance for pregnancy, it’s best to schedule the surgery before your own cat reaches five months of age. It’s possible to spay a female cat while she’s in heat, but not always recommended since she’s susceptible to increased blood loss.
Spayed or neutered cats are generally calmer and more sedate (but their personality is still there)
After sterilization, your cat may be calmer and less likely to exhibit certain behaviors, but his or her personality will not change. Not to worry, a neutered cat does not become lazy and overweight. As always, speak with your veterinarian about the best food and diet for your kitties to help maintain their weight.
Prepping for your cat’s neuter or spaying
Your veterinarian will provide pre-surgical advice that you should follow. In general, avoid giving your cat any food after midnight the night before surgery. A kitten, however, needs adequate nutrition, and your veterinarian may advise that food not be withheld.
After the neutering or spaying is done, make sure your kitty is in a nice quiet environment
Although your cat may experience some discomfort after surgery, he or she shouldn’t be in pain. Depending on which procedure is performed, your vet might recommend pain medication. Make sure to keep your kitty in a quiet place indoors and away from other animals. Try to prevent your cat from running or jumping for the first few days following surgery. And, make sure to check the incision daily so that you can see that it is healing properly. If you notice any redness or swelling, call your veterinarian immediately.
While spaying and/or neutering might cause your kitty some initial discomfort, the long term benefits are worth the pain. Most kittens heal quickly and never remember the surgery was performed. And you, the owner, get the benefit of a mellow, healthier cat and are helping yet another cat become adopted by controlling overpopulation.