If you are a cat owner there are quite some things you have to take care of: nutrition, up-to-date vaccination, safe environment, and overall maintenance of your feline friend’s health and wellbeing. However, one of the most important things in making sure your cat is safe and healthy is neutering. When your kitten reaches his sexual maturity, it is the perfect time to consider neutering.
Namely, vets have found this procedure to be very efficient in prevention of some serious diseases. Not only, but spaying and castration also help in maintaining a calm behavior in cats. Intact cats can develop numerous health conditions and behavioral issues due to the change in hormones that naturally occurs after they reach sexual maturity.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that neutering doesn’t come with some other precautions. After your cat is neutered, you will have to pay more attention to taking proper care of her until she’s fully recovered. Also, there are some health risks for cats that are neutered. The benefits outweigh the risks, which is why most vets and cat owners will tell you that it’s much better to neuter/spay your cat than deal with behaviors and diseases that could shorten your cat’s life. However, it is crucial to know the potential advantages and disadvantages of this procedure in order to make an informed decision.
What Is Neutering?
Neutering is a routine operation of the removal of a cat’s sexual reproduction organs. In females, it’s known as “spaying”, while in males this procedure is called “castration”.
Spaying involves removing a cat’s ovaries and uterus, but sometimes only ovaries can be removed. The incision is usually done on a cat’s left hand side, or underneath, along the stomach.
Castration, on the other hand, is the procedure of removal of a male cat’s testicles. In males, the procedure is more simple, as it doesn’t require the incision or stitches.
Does Neutering Hurt Cats?
The operation is done under an anaesthesia in order to ensure the animal doesn’t feel any pain. Therefore, the procedure itself will pass without your cat feeling anything.
However, there might be some pain after the operation involved. Your cat had a surgery, so it would be quite strange not to see any side effects of it. You can expect your cat to have light to moderate pain one to three days after the operation.
Because of the complexity of the surgery for females, they will also require more time to recover after the procedure. This means that a female cat might need about three days of care and pain relief medication in order to recover as painlessly as possible. On the other hand, male cats might recover after just a day.
Depending on your cat’s state of health, your veterinarian might give your cat anti-inflammatory medicine, painkillers, or even pain relief injections.
Are There Benefits To Neutering My Cat?
Just as we mentioned there are numerous benefits of neutering your cat. By spaying your cat you will avoid unwanted pregnancies and protect your feline friend from certain diseases linked to reproductive organs.
However, that’s not all. Apparently, neutering has a huge role in your cat’s safety and in your own tranquility. Here’s how.
Cat Neutering Benefits
- Neutered cats stray less from home – which protects them from traffic accidents or fights with other cats.
- Sexual maturity brings out new types of behavior in cats. While neutered cats go back to how they were and usually have calm personalities, intact cats might engage more in naughty behavior such as spraying urine to mark their territory.
- Neutered cats can actually become more gentle and affectionate after the procedure.
- The risk of contracting feline leukaemia or feline aids is reduced.
- The risk of uterine infections in female cats is less likely after a spaying surgery.
- Female cats that are spayed at an early age are less likely to develop breast cancer.
You might not know it, but sexual maturity in cats usually shows only in their behavior. There aren’t some physical changes such as in female dogs (and humans). But, unlike dog heat cycles, cats actually can go through their “estrus” phase – the equivalent of human ovulation – quite frequently if not pregnant yet. Therefore, a intact female cat might be looking for opportunities to mate for quite some time, and in the cat world, that means a lot of loud voices and even fights with other felines.
When Should You Neuter Your Cat?
Vets usually recommend that neutering should occur between 12 weeks of age to a maximum of 6 months of age. It might seem too soon, but actually, cats reach their sexual maturity pretty quick. They may actually have kittens while they are basically still kittens themselves.
There is a certain myth saying that cats should at least have one litter before being spayed. However, vet experts highly disagree. Young female cats are not yet physically ready to endure pregnancies and go through labor, so it’s better to keep your kitten safe inside your apartment and away from potential mating opportunities.
Neutering Aftercare – How To Take Care Of Your Cat After Neutering
Although this surgery might be quite common and not so invasive, it is still a surgery and, as a cat owner, you should provide your pet with a proper care in order to offer him a full recovery.
First thing, right after the surgery, your cat will probably be a little drowsy, but that’s nothing to worry about. It’s the anesthesia effect, and your feline friend will soon come back to her lovely self. Make sure you have all the medication your vet suggested, ask for the correct way to administer them and take care of your cat. Provide her with a lot of affection and love, so that she knows everything is going to be fine.
However, there are a couple of things all owners of neutered cats should have a special eye on: weight gain and urinary tract problems.
When neutered, cats are more likely to develop some sorts of urinary tract infections. Always monitor your cat’s urinary habits, and if you notice any changes such as going more often to pee, or squatting without peeing, or finding blood in urine, then take your cat to the vet.
Also, neutered pets are known to be more prone to developing obesity. While neutering might protect your pet from a range of serious diseases, there is a certain cost to pay, and it’s mostly measured in kilograms/pounds. Pay attention to how much food you are feeding your cat with. You should be able to feel your cat’s ribs and the waist line as well. If that’s not the case, it probably means your cat has been eating a bit too much lately.
In that case, you should keep them exercised and play with them on a regular basis. You can even consider buying a harness and walking your cat around your block. Your vet might also suggest switching for a lighter food formulas that won’t have as much calories as the other types of food.
Reasons Not To Neuter Your Cat
Weight gain and the surgery itself are the most common reasons cat owners don’t spay/neuter their cats. However, taking in consideration that intact cats can easily stray away from home in search of other intact cats to mate with, it is quite obvious that it will be quite possible to find your cat pregnant one day without knowing where the kittens might come from.
In our opinion, unless you want your cat to live a “wild” life, which includes unsafe areas, encounters with other cats and so on, there should be no doubts on whether you should or shouldn’t spay/neuter your cat. Practically, by spaying/neutering you are indirectly making your cat’s life longer. And if taking in consideration the cat overpopulation that is spread all over the world (it means that a lot of cats get euthanized because of the vast number of new kittens that are getting born each year), there are practically no reasons not to neuter your cat.
Some scientists are speculating whether cats should be spayed/neutered so early, or whether they should be neutered at all, but since there are still not enough information to conclude anything of a scientific relevance, neutering is still a procedure most vet experts will suggest for your cat.