Benefits of Spaying Or Neutering Your Cat
Cat owners often debate if they should spay or neuter their pet. Most experts agree that the majority of cats should be spayed or neutered, not only for their own health benefits but to stop the problem of unwanted kittens.
Spaying is surgically altering a female cats reproductive cycle, leaving her unable to have kittens. Spaying is usually done around six months of age, but may be done earlier or later, depending on the veterinarians preferences. Elderly cats can be spayed although they face more risks from the anesthetic. If spaying is done when a cat is pregnant it will abort the litter (sometimes preferred to euthanizing kittens, or when the pregnancy risks the mothers life).
Neutering is the removal of the testicles on a male cat, thus ending their reproductive ability. Neutering is usually done to male cats, between six and ten months of age, after the testicles have descended, but can be done to older animals as well.
This article will cover the main reasons, benefits, and advantages, why you should spay or neuter your pet cat.
Benefits of Spaying a Female Cat
- When a female cat enters her heat cycle she can be very annoying, loud, and messy, a spayed cat will not have these symptoms.
- Spayed cats tend to wander less.
- Spaying reduces chances of cat developing mammary cancer, especially if she is spayed before her first heat cycle.
- Spaying prevents a common uterine infection, pyrometra.
- Spaying can prevent many cancers, such as uterine, and ovarian cancer, since these parts are removed.
- May result in a friendlier, less aloof, cat.
- A female cat who is not breeding, will not catch a feline sexually transmitted diseases.
- In some areas where cats are required to have a license, the fees are usually lower if a cat is spayed.
- Spayed cats have longer lifespans.
- Removes the risk of complications during pregnancy, or delivery, such as a costly cesarean section.
- In some areas, stray pregnant cats are sought after for the purposes of sale for euthanasia to be used for veterinary students for dissection.
- She will not contribute to the large number of unwanted kittens.
Benefits of Neutering a Male Cat
- Neutering reduces, or stops, a male cats unwanted spraying, and marking of territory with their urine.
- Neutered cats tend to wander less.
- Neutering removes the chance of the cat developing testicular cancer.
- Neutering reduces the chances of a male cat having prostate cancer.
- Reduces aggressive behavior, towards people, and other cats.
- Often results in a friendlier, less aloof, cat.
- A male cat who is not breeding, will not catch a feline sexually transmitted diseases.
- In areas where cats are required to have a license, the fees are often lower if a cat is neutered.
- Neutered cats have longer lifespans.
- Reduces the tendency for a male cat to get into fights, these fights often result in infections, abscesses, or spreading disease.
- The cat will not contribute to the large number of unwanted kittens.
- A neutered cat is more likely to find a new home if for some reason you have to give it up, than would an unfixed male.
The author currently has 6 cats, all are spayed or neutered, in this image two sit inside a cat enclosure.
Other Points Regarding Spaying or Neutering a Pet Cat
There are very few risks associated with either spaying or neutering. Rarely the cat may be allergic to the anesthetic used, although veterinarians can do tests to check. Overall the benefits of spaying or neutering outweigh the risks.
Some people worry that if they spay, or neuter, their pet that there is a risk that cats may become extinct. This is not a real concern - at this point with the Humane Society of the United States reporting several million are euthanized every year, because so many more are born than there are homes for. Owners of purebred cats who have attended shows to prove they are worth breeding will continue to breed and there will always be some feral, stray, and farm cats, breeding too, so "running out of cats" is not a real issue.
The Humane Society of the USA has reported that an average of 4 million cats and kittens are destroyed in shelters in the USA every year. This number is lower than it was only a few years ago thanks to efforts to encourage people to spay or neuter their pet.
If people cannot afford to spay or neuter their cat, they should look for low cost options or keep their pet indoors only and away from cats of the opposite gender. Neutering males is generally less expensive than spaying a female.
Another option is for people who are on a budget to adopt a cat that is already spayed or neutered rather than getting a kitten where this is still required.
Cats should not be fed, or given water, on the morning of the surgery. Female cats are often kept over night for observation, but males can usually be released later that day (every veterinarian is different). A recently spayed or neutered cat should be kept in a small room, or bathroom, for a day or two to recover.