What Are The Benefits Of Spaying Or Neutering Your Cat
Now that you have a better idea about when your cat should be sterilized, its important to highlight the benefits of the procedure. While you may want your kitten to one day experience the joys of motherhood or are afraid your male cat may feel less masculine if hes neutered, the spay/neuter surgery provides different health and behavioral benefits that can help your kitten live a longer and healthier life.
Female cats that are spayed before their first heat for example, have a reduced risk for malignant mammary tumors later in life, which is diagnosed in 95% of female cats. It also reduces the risk of your cat developing infections of the uterus and cancers of their reproductive organs. Additionally, it removes the possibility of complications that can occur with pregnancy and birthing. Spaying female cats also prevents heat cycles, which can last several months, and eliminates yowling, crying, and other erratic behavior.
For male cats, the benefits of neutering are mainly behavioral. However, the procedure does eliminate the possibility of testicular cancer and other prostate problems later in life. Neutering your male cat will reduce his inappropriate behaviors , marking inside your home, and fighting with other males.
Why Spay/neuter Is So Important For Cats
While there might be some differing opinions about the proper age to spay or neuter your cat, theres no disputing that its one of the most responsible things a pet owner can do, not only for the life of a pet, but also to reduce pet overpopulation. Too often, we view spaying and neutering through our own eyes, and how it might affect us, and assume that our pets would look at it the same way. As Coates puts it, physiologically and behaviorally speaking, cats are made to reproduce as frequently as possible. Obviously, we have to put a stop to that. I think it is more humane to surgically eliminate the desire to mate than to block mating but leave the urge intact.
Of course no medical or surgical procedure is without risk, she adds. For instance, neutered male cats are at higher risk for developing urinary blockages, and cats who have been spayed or neutered do have a tendency to gain weight if their diets arent adjusted accordingly. Owners should always talk to their own veterinarian about what is best for their particular pet, but the benefits of spay/neuter almost always outweigh the risks.
It is our responsibility to take care of our pets to the best of our ability, Denish says. They live in our world, our homes and interact with our family and other pets. That means that if spaying/neutering is beneficial, it should be done at any safe time.
Spaying And Neutering: The Bottom Line
Spaying and neutering can help keep your cat healthier and safer and you dont end up with more kittens than you can count. To be on the safe side, get your cat spayed or neutered before theyre six months old. If youre wondering when to spay a cat or when to neuter a cat, speak to your local veterinarian.
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How Much Does It Cost
It is usually slightly more expensive to neuter female than male cats, however help with costs is available. If you rehome a cat from a rehoming centre, they should already be neutered, and this cost will be incorporated into the adoption fee.
There are various schemes across the UK which provide financial support to owners wanting to neuter their cats such as Cats Protection, Blue Cross, The Mayhew Animal Home and RSPCA.
Question: When Can A Cat Get Neutered
Kittens can be spayspayNeutering, from the Latin neuter , is the removal of an animals reproductive organ, either all of it or a considerably large part. The male-specific term is castration, while spaying is usually reserved for female animals. Colloquially, both terms are often referred to as fixing. https://en.wikipedia.org wiki Neutering
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What About When To Spay And Neuter A Dog
More recently, theres controversy on the exact age to spay and neuter dogs. Recent studies out of UC Davis in Golden Retrievers have suggested that spaying or neutering later in life may have some health benefits. However, this is a limited study that only looks at one breed of dog, and is likely influenced by some other outside factors . My philosophy? When the growth plates are almost closed, which is very dependent on the size of the dog . But there are no studies to support delayed spay neuter in our feline friends.
Cover photo by David Köhler on Unsplash
What Is Spaying And Neutering
Sterilizing a cat is known as neutering for males and spaying for females. Neutering a male cat is a fairly simple procedure performed by a professional veterinarian. The cat is placed under general anesthesia, and the testes are removed through an incision in the scrotum. The incision is very small and stitches are usually not even necessary.
Spaying a female cat is a more involved and invasive procedure, and as such is often more expensive. The ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed after the cat is immobilized with general anesthesia. The operation is known as an ovario-hysterectomy. The abdominal area is shaved and the surgical wound usually only requires a few stitches.
Kittens should be spayed or neutered when they reach sexual maturity, which is usually between four and six months of age. However a cat can be safely spayed or neutered at any age, so even older adopted cats should have this procedure.
Some rescue organizations participate in a catch and release program where homeless cats are captured, neutered or spayed and released. This is considered more humane than euthanizing strays. The catch and release program is sometimes known as TNR and the cats that are sterilized have part of one ear clipped. If you adopt a cat with a clipped ear, he or she has almost certainly been already spayed or neutered as a result of this effort.
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More Reasons To Fix Felines By Five
Responsible pet ownership and spaying/neutering also:
- Helps the community by reducing the number of unwanted cats
- Reduces risks of hoarding and overabundance of cats
- Frees up shelter resources that can be used to help more animals
- Prevents risks of infections in the environment
- Potentially minimizes the risk of Toxoplasma being shed in the environment in outdoor stray cats
Whats more, spaying and neutering can help you!
- It can save money on emergency reproductive disorders like an infected uterus
- Spaying and neutering can save you time on trying to find homes for 6-8 kittens
- It can save you money on a veterinary visit to test all your kittens for feline kitty AIDS , deworm them, and give them their first 2 shots before you adopt them out
There are several reputable organizations that endorse and support early spay neuter in cats, and these include:
- Alley Cat Allies
- Cat Fanciers Association
- Winn Feline Foundation
When in doubt, discuss this with your veterinarian and keep your cat healthy and happy. But try to Beat the heat and Fix Felines by Five!
What Are The Typical Costs To Spay Or Neuter Your Cat
The cost of spay and neuter services for cats depend on various factors, but the biggest is where you go for the procedure. Though private vets typically cost anywhere from $200 to $400, and may draw blood from your cat prior to the procedure. If this exceeds your budget, you can look for a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. Typically run by nonprofits, all surgeries at veterinary clinics are performed by licensed vets, and cost less than $100. Either way, your pets surgeon will be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of the spaying and neutering so you can squelch any worries before the procedure.
Tip: One factor that could affect the price of a female cats spay is whether or not shes currently in heat or pregnant, as this becomes a more complicated, high-cost procedure.
The cost of spaying or neutering your cat is far less than the cost of having to care for a litter, or the cost of potential health problems that can occur without the procedure. In fact, many nonprofits offer free spay and neuter services to those who qualify. The ASPCA has a list of low-cost programs across the country, including their own free services for residents who qualify.
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Can A Cat Be Too Old To Get Spayed Or Neutered
In veterinary medicine, when it comes to surgery and anesthesia, age is not a barrier as long as the pet is healthy overall, Dr. Satchu said. If a cat is older but has perfect heart and lung sounds, normal organ function and normal overall bloodwork, then their age should not inhibit a spay or neuter.
Depending on the age of your cat, though, your vet may recommend a more thorough workup before surgery meaning shell undergo some extra tests to make sure shes in tip-top shape.
Why Should I Get My Cat Neutered
There are lots of reasons why its a good idea. Heres just a few:
For male cats:
- Neutering reduces their chance of catching feline immunodeficiency virus , an incurable disease similar to HIV in humans which is spread by saliva usually from bite wounds during fights.
- Unneutered cats that are confined can become frustrated and may try any escape route including out of your top floor window.
- Neutering cats reduces their urge to roam and fight so theyre less likely to go missing, get hit by cars, or get hurt.
For female cats:
- Spaying cats, especially if its done when theyre young, greatly reduces the risk of them getting breast cancer and infection of the womb . Both of these can be fatal.
- Pregnancy and birth can carry significant risks to a cat.
- A female cat can produce up to six kittens, three times a year. Thats a lot of mouths to feed.
- It can be very stressful trying to make sure your cat doesnt get pregnant and, if she does, youve got the worry of caring for her through her pregnancy, birth and the rearing of her litter. And thats before the challenge of finding good homes for the kittens.
- Female cats that arent spayed often come into season over and over again, which means they can be almost continuously in heat. This can be exhausting and usually attracts a queue of amorous and vocal tomcats to the house.
- Unneutered male cats tend to urine-mark their territory, including your house, with a powerful and unpleasant scented urine.
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Changing The Landscape For Cats
For 30 years, Mechler, founder of Spay USA, worked at the forefront of the spay and neuter movement in the United States. But it wasnt until she retired in 2010 as director of Spay USAhaving radically improved the accessibility and affordability of spay and neuter servicesthat she started to ponder the importance of the age at which veterinarians perform these surgeries.
When I retired and stepped away from the everyday work, the missing piece of the puzzle became clear, she says.
Mechler read a 2009 study by IPSOS Marketing for PetSmart Charities that showed more than 75 percent of the public doesnt know the appropriate age to spay and neuter pets. Another study that influenced Mechler revealed that spayed female cats and dogs in four Massachusetts towns accounted for the majority of all the litters bornbecause they bred before they were spayed.
Mechler realized that if cats could be prevented from having even one litter, that could greatly reduce the number of cats who are euthanized in animal shelters. To achieve this, consistent veterinary guidelines that promote spaying and neutering before cats can breed would have to be in place.
Mechler says she that there is a need to campaign for spay and neuter before a cats first heat, which is usually at about 4 or 5 months, in the hope that veterinarians would be more willing to change the customary age from 6 months.
When Is A Puppy Or Kitten Old Enough To Neuter
Dr. Lila Miller, D.V.M., ASPCA Sr. Director Animal Sciences and Vet Advisor
For years it was believed that the best age at which to neuter animals was six months. In the late 1970s, however, as animal shelters began to seek new ways to combat pet overpopulation, this belief was challenged. Shelter professionals realized that conventional neutering contracts didnt work, and one obvious remedy was to neuter all animals before they were adopted. The controversy arose because many of these animals were considered to be too young to undergo surgery.
No conclusive, controlled studies have ever been done to determine the best age to neuter dogs and cats. On the other hand, current research does show that spaying before the first heat prevents the development of mammary gland tumors. Since females can go into heat as young as four months of age, they should be spayed before then to receive that protection. Early-age, or pediatric neutering is currently performed on animals who are six to eight weeks of age and who weigh at least two pounds.
Dr. Miller is ASPCA veterinary advisor and senior director of Animal Sciences.
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The Truth About Spaying Or Neutering Your Cat
An estimated 5 million to 8 million animals are euthanized in shelters across this country every year. Many organizations are working to decrease that number by opening low-cost spay/neuter clinics that will prevent more litters of cats that need homes. One such organization is LifeLine Animal Project, an Atlanta-based nonprofit shelter and clinic where more than 25,000 spaying and neutering procedures have been performed since 2005. Here, executive director Rebecca Guinn answers the most commonly asked questions about spaying and neutering cats.
Q: Why should I have my cat spayed or neutered?
A: Shelter euthanasia is the number one killer of companion animals. Spaying and neutering is the only way to reduce or eliminate that. Its also better for your pets health. And having a cat thats spayed or neutered will make your life easier.
Q: Shouldnt I let my cat have a litter before I spay them?
A: No. It greatly reduces the risk of certain cancers if you have them spayed before the first heat and certainly before they have a litter.
Most places are overrun with kittens. There are millions of cats and kittens that need homes and millions more that are abandoned. There simply arent enough homes for all the cats that get born every kitten season.
Q: Should I let my cat have a heat before I spay them?
Q: Is it OK to spay my cat when they are just a kitten?
Q: It can cost more than a $100 to get a cat spayed or neutered. I cant afford that. What can I do?
What Is The Recovery Time For A Spay/neuter Surgery
Although all surgeries have some degree of discomfort associated with them, recovery from spaying and neutering, especially in cats, is usually very fast. Youd be amazed at how fast your cat seems to bounce back and return to his/her usual self.
After surgery, pain and inflammation relief medications can be maintained as long as necessary.
Therefore, its normal that during the first 24-48 hours they appear a little drowsy or more unstable, but they tend to return to normal behavior and activity in just a few days. And total recovery, including complete healing, usually takes less than 10 days, although it varies between cats.
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How Can Pet Insurance Help
While spaying or neutering your cat can reduce the risk of certain illnesses like uterine and testicular cancer, theres still a chance they can get sick. And if that day comes, having pet insurance can help you say yes to the best care even when its costly.
Learn how Pumpkins cat insurance plans can help protect your kittys health when it matters most.
*Pumpkin Pet Insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For full terms, visit pumpkin.care/insurancepolicy.Products, discounts, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Pumpkin Insurance Services Inc. is a licensed insurance agency, not an insurer. Insurance is underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company , a Crum & Forster Company and produced by Pumpkin. Pumpkin receives compensation based on the premiums for the insurance policies it sells. For more details visit pumpkin.care/underwriting-information and pumpkin.care/insurance-licenses.
Benefits Of Spaying Or Neutering Your Cat
According to Dr. Jennifer Coates, veterinary advisor with petMD, spaying a female cat before her first heat cycle virtually eliminates the risk of mammary cancer. She says that this condition is especially serious in cats since feline mammary cancers tend to be very aggressive in comparison to other species.
Spayed female cats also cannot develop ovarian and uterine cancers or a potentially fatal uterine infection called a pyometra, Coates adds. Other health-related issues related to spaying include negating the possibility of the complications that can occur with pregnancy and birthing.
For male cats, Coates says that the benefits of neutering are primarily behavioral, although the procedure does eliminate the possibility that a cat will develop testicular cancer as he ages.
Anyone who as ever tried living with an intact male cat will tell you that the vocalizations, escape attempts, roaming, fighting and urine spraying associated with normal tom cat behavior can get old really quick, she says.
Feline AIDS and leukemia can both be spread between cats through bites, often spurred on by sexual competition, says Coates. So, reducing the urge to mate also reduces the likelihood that your cat will contract one of these oftentimes fatal infections.
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