When and why should I get my cat spayed/neutered?
Care and health considerations
Spaying/neutering is the surgical procedure of sterilizing a cat by removing its uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries for the females and the testicles in males. Under the administration of anesthesia, a small incision is made in the scrotum (for males) and belly (for females) where the organs are then removed. The wound is then stitched up and doesn’t take long to heal.
The procedure for neutering the female takes longer because more organs are removed compared to the male cat.
The surgery costs as low as $50 at a pet shelter and $150-$200 at a private vet clinic. In the US it used to cost more until the government provided some sort of subsidy to help reduce the number of homeless cats in the neighborhoods.
Why spay or neuter?
It is important to spay or neuter your cat both for their good and yours. Here are some reasons you need to sterilize your cat:
Save them from disease
The most important reason cat owners spay and neuter is to save their cats from disease. 90% of female cats will get uterine infections and breast tumors if not spayed. Male cats can suffer from prostate and testicular cancer.
Stop crazy productivity
During its productive years, a cat can deliver 8 kittens per litter, three times a year. This means that your cat can produce 24 kittens in just one year. This could fill your home with cats climbing the walls, engaging in battles with the neighborhood cats, scratching every spot in the house and spraying smelly urine to mark their boundaries. This would be crazy, wouldn’t it?
If you want an extra cat or maybe two, you can spay your cat after its first litter, choose the two kittens that you want and give away or sell the rest of them.
A cat during estrus turns into something else. She will roll all over the floor, lick her genitals, or meow and yowl in a loud voice which becomes distracting in your house. She might stay close to your feet or move in and out of your legs around the house, making it difficult for you to move without tripping. She will meow at the door asking you to open it so that she can run off. And imagine, this can happen 3 times a year because each season, she will go into estrus to get pregnant.
More than 8 million cats in the US alone get killed because of homelessness, overproduction or old age.
So, from the fact that one cat can deliver 24 kittens per year, I guess you can tell why some heartless people will just euthanize them to reduce the number. To prevent such brutality as a general need to care for animals it is better to spay your cat and save her and her kittens such a fate.
Spayed/neutered cats live longer
Once your cat has been sterilized your cat will be safe from all these diseases which happen in 90% of unaltered cats – quite a huge number. Your cat will be safe and healthy and live a longer life. Feed them a healthy diet with lots of water and other liquids. Take them out for a walks and invest in toys and play time.
Cats, especially the male ones that aren’t neutered have a tendency of spraying urine more than those that are neutered. Sometimes they do this to keep other male cats from invading their territory and trying to mate the female cat that is available in the home. Neutering them can reduce this behavior.
Cats both male and female can be very aggressive when they are not spayed or neutered. They will engage in battles with other pets in your home or the ones at your neighbor’s.
When to spay?
Kittens need to be spayed between 4-7 months because this is when they reach puberty. However, some kittens can be spayed earlier. This can happen if they are healthy and have a good body weight. If you plan to have more kittens, you can spay your cat after it has littered the kittens that you need. But don’t wait till it has had too many litters, its chances of getting sick with cancer will be high or she might have already contracted it.
Only cat shelters or people that are in the business of breeding cats should wait a little longer before de-sexing their cats. But even then, they need to do it after 2 litters.
If you adopted your cat when they were older you can spay or neuter them as well.
In the US, many rescue organizations have come up with a program called “Catch and release” where roaming cats are captured, spayed and then released back into the neighborhood. They do this so that they may reduce the number of cats that are homeless.
After neutering the cat, they clip off a part of their ear as a sign that the cat is spayed. If you adopt a cat with a clipped ear, it could be neutered.
The healing process
Now that your cat is back home, they are in your hands and will need your full attention to heal gracefully.
Here are a few things you can do to help them;
Make your cat comfortable
Just like it is with any surgery, spayed cats also need comfort and care. Make sure you create a very comfortable place for your cat to rest. In order not to tamper with its wound, get a flat piece of wood or a cold floor for its relief and the place must be quiet and the lights dim or totally off.
Avoid lifting your cat
Be careful not to lift your cat. If you disturb the wound, you may cause damage.
Inspect your cat’s notch area.
Before leaving the vet, make sure you know the incision area. This will help you monitor its healing progress. Your cat is at risk of contracting infections if you do not care for the wound properly.
Give pain medications
Just like humans, cats too feel pain after spaying or neutering. So, you do need to give them pain relievers and allow them to get enough rest.
Offer them food and water
Remember to give a reasonable portion of food and clean water to your cat for 3-6 hours and do not force it to eat. This will keep it from getting dehydrated and help the wound heal faster.