Spaying A Cat - When To Neuter Your Feline

Published on October 13, 2020

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), over 3.3 million cats enter Us animal shelters. This a daunting number of stray animals that are roaming around in the streets, posing health risks to a great human population.

On average, kittens reach the age of sexual maturity around 4 months. Then, they are capable of breeding and producing little kittens of their own. Many people do not have the desire or need to breed from their cats. If they do, it would simply add to the numbers of already homeless stray cats and kittens, in a dire need of a home.

There is a general term to remove genitals from the pets (in this case, it is neutering the cat). It is castration in males – removal of testes, whereas in females, it is termed as spaying (removing ovaries and uterus).

Related: Gifts For Cat Owners Who Are About To Neuter Their Feline

For the cat parents who do not want to add more cat members in the family, it is necessary to be done with such procedures. It is helpful in preventing unwanted pregnancies but also aids in mitigating behavioral patterns associated with the sexual coming of age. You can substantially reduce the risk of exposure to certain diseases by spaying your cat at the proper age.

Rationale Behind Neutering Female Cats

There are many reasons to neuter your fluffy little kitten. Some of the most common and practical reasons are:

Population Control

To enjoy having a female kitty in your house, it should be on top of your priority list to have it neutered at the proper time. Female cats come to maturity based on breed, time of year born, and individual development. The first season could be around six months but can be earlier. For the queens, they can have up to three litters in a year.

Control Of Nuisance

Till they do not get pregnant, female cats regularly call about every three weeks during sexually active times of the year. Calling is the act of attracting male cats and be readily receptive to them. In an area with a dominant number of female cats, calling will attract large numbers of male cats. This can give rise to problems like spraying (squirts urine by backing up to a vertical surface with an erect tail), caterwauling (continuous yowling due to anxiety and insecurity), and fighting. Neutering is the perfect remedy to all this.

Welfare Problems

There are many areas that are said to be plagued with stray cats. These cats could be carrying infectious diseases that harm other healthy cats and human beings. It is not possible to give a home to every homeless cat, but we can play our part to keep the population in check.

Health Issues

If cats are not neutered (it is alright to leave them fertile if you want to let them multiply, but there is always a limit) at the proper age, they face many health risks such as pyometra (infection of the womb) later in their lives. They are also prone to get mammary tumors. Queens with infectious diseases reportedly pass them on to their kittens. There are also chances of risks during pregnancy and birth.

Reasons For Neutering Male Cats

Control Of Nuisance

As wild predators, unneutered male cats will roam over a large area and mark their territory with a pungent spray. They are more likely to break a fight if they see another male approaching their area.

Health Concerns

There are many reasons why fighting in pet animals is discouraged. Fighting male cats are likely to infect other healthy cats with fatal diseases such as FIV, FeLV, and many more. They are also prone to suffer fight injuries such as abscesses. Due to their wandering over a large area, they could also be caught in a road accident.

Pet Issues

According to reports, many people do not want to have an unneutered cat as a pet. Uncastrated male cats may wander far away from home and might not return at all. They may spray inside the house and may become aggressive to their owners. It is always feasible to neuter your kittens in the proper age before you experience the above-stated issues.

Population Control

It is obvious that male cats do not have kitties themselves, but it only takes one male to impregnate a large number of female cats. So, it always helps to neuter a male in order to limit the number of cats in an area.

Sexing Kittens

There are many cases of making mistakes regarding the segregation of sexes in cats. If you are having any doubts, contact your vet immediately before starting any procedure on your cat.

Age For Neutering

As a general practice, male and female cats are often neutered around the age of six months. This is after they reach sexual maturity and are able to breed and produce offsprings. This practice is not based on scientific principles and poses certain threats and risks to the health and well-being of cats. In light of such developments, professionals now recommend that cats, both males, and females, should be neutered around the age of four months.

The exact age and timing of neutering should be discussed in detail with your vet before proceeding further.

Spaying A Female Cat

Before, it was suggested that a female cat should have at least one litter it was neutered. It has turned out that waiting is unnecessary and does not benefit the cat in any way. Therefore, it should be preferred to spay the cat before it reaches its age of sexual maturity.

When the sexual maturity is attained, a cat will come to season or starts to “call” every two to three weeks, based on breed, development, and time of year. When a cat is calling, as the name implies, it becomes irritable and noisy inside the house.

There is another way to suppress the sexual process in cats – drugs. They are useful to some extent and carry harmful side effects and risks, and are not recommended by professionals in the long term.

If you do not want to add to the number of cat members in your family, it is better to spay your female cat around four months of age to prevent:

• Sexual (Mis)behavior

• Probability of unplanned pregnancies

• Risk of diseases associated with the urinary tract.

The spaying operation is not a “DIY” procedure unless you have prior experience or formal training in the field. It comprises of administration of general anesthetic and surgical removal of ovaries and uterus. The organs are removed by making an incision at the flank or belly of the cat after shaving the fur from the site of the surgery. The vet may suggest withholding any food from the evening prior to the anesthetic.

Cats are usually discharged the same day. But it takes 7 to 10 days to remove any sutures from her skin.

Castrating A Male Cat

It is as important to neuter your male cat just like spaying your female cat, to prevent surprise pregnancies. Also, they have strong urges to mark territory with pungent spraying, being aggressive to urgent males, and roam around in the wide-area to answer the calls of female cats.

The unbridled aggressive behavior in male cats put them in danger of catching infectious diseases, such as feline immunodeficiency virus (feline ‘AIDS’) and feline leukemia virus. Both of these diseases are transmitted through cat bites.

Castrating a male cat involves surgically removing both testes through a small incision by administering general anesthetic. The kitten can go home the same day, but extra care and caution are required until the kitty heals itself. In general practice, sutures are not required in castrating because the incisions are so small.

Postoperative Care

Cats recover remarkably quicker from a neutering operation. They may spend a day, feeling dizzy and drowsy, but they will be lively again the next day. It is advised to keep your kitten calm for a day so that sutures can get enough time to heal properly. Do not hesitate to reach up to your vet if the kitten is too quiet and dull. If your kitty starts licking the sutures or scratching the wounds excessively, contact your vet to get a dressing or special collar to prevent further damage.

Keep in mind that, once a cat is neutered, there is a strong tendency for it to get overweight in the meantime. So, adjust the amount of food accordingly to keep the weight in balance.

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