Along with preventing the birth of unwanted kittens that will need care, having your cat fixed can help protect your pet against a number of serious diseases and illnesses. The vets at our spay and neuter clinic in Egg Harbor Township talk about having your cat fixed, the difference between spaying and neutering, and what the benefits are.
Should you get your cat fixed?
The cat population in the United States is incredibly high, this includes the feral cat population. To make matters worse, many shelters are overwhelmed with the number of cats they receive from families no longer able to care for them or cats that have been found roaming around.
Having your cat spayed or neutered is the absolute best way to help reduce the number of unwanted cats in Egg Harbor Township area shelters.
However, the benefits of spaying or neutering your pet don't stop at population control. Along with reducing the unwanted kitten population, a spayed or neutered cat also has a reduced risk of certain medical conditions.
When should you have your cat neutered or spayed?
Kittens can be neutered or spayed as young as six to eight weeks of age. However, standard spay and neuter procedures are often performed when a kitten is between five and six months old.
That said, it's important to note that these procedures can be performed at any time during your cat's life provided your pet is healthy. Your vet can examine your cat and provide advice on when it would be best to schedule a spay or neuter procedure.
Spayed and Neutered Cats: What's the difference?
When discussing spaying and neutering cats, neutering would be used for males and spaying would be used for females.
Having Female Cats Spayed
A spayed cat's ovaries and uterus, or sometimes just the ovaries, of the female cat are removed surgically.
Once spayed, your female cat will no longer be able to become pregnant and birth kittens.
Having Male Cats Neutered
Neutering (sometimes called castration) refers to the removal of a male cat's testes. At this point, your male cat will be able to father any kittens.
What to Expect During a Neuter or Spay Procedure
The steps of a cat spaying or neutering surgery may include:
- Your vet will conduct the appropriate diagnostic tests before surgery to ensure your pet is healthy enough to safely undergo the operation. Spay and neuter procedures are done using general anesthesia and typically take between 20 and 90 minutes to complete, depending on your pet's size and any specific medical considerations.
- Following anesthesia, the hair on your pet's abdomen will be shaved down and the skin thoroughly disinfected. The organs are then removed, either laparoscopically (with surgical lasers) or with a traditional scalpel, both of which are safe.
- After the procedure is complete, the vet will use skin glue, sutures (stitches), or surgical staples to close your pet's skin. Staples or stitches will need to be removed by your veterinarian 10 to 14 days after the procedure.
- While the actual procedure is relatively quick, you can generally expect your pet to spend a few hours at the hospital, allowing time for check-in, initial physical assessment, the surgery itself, and time for recovery from anesthesia.
What to Expect After Cat Spaying and Neutering in Egg Harbor Township
While most pets will begin to feel better in 24 to 48 hours, full recovery may take between 10 and 14 days. Keep your pet calm and refrain from allowing them to jump during this period, as this can cause their incision to reopen. Check the incision daily for signs of infection, which can include swelling, discharge, redness, or foul odor. Contact your vet if you notice any of these.
While your cat recovers, you should be sure to continuously monitor their condition. If they begin to show symptoms such as lethargy after spay and neuter surgery, they may be experiencing an infection. Bring them to an emergency veterinarian for care or follow up with your primary vet.
Benefits of Female Cat Spaying
Kittens are able to become pregnant before the age of six months. By making sure that your female cat is spayed as early as possible, you can help reduce the population of unwanted cats in your neighborhood.
In addition, female cats can birth as many as four litters a year. When we consider that the average litter can range in size from two kittens (from a young mother) to as many as 10 kittens, that's a staggering number of potentially unwanted cats.
Keep Your Cat Healthy
Spaying your kitten before she has her first heat can help to reduce her risk of pyometra (infection of the womb) as well as mammary tumors. It's also important to note that female cats carrying infectious diseases can pass serious conditions on to their kittens who go on to spread the disease even further. Spaying your female cat and preventing pregnancy can also save you money and protect your cat against pregnancy-related health issues.
Protect Birds & Other Wildlife
It is estimated that cats in the USA kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds each year. By managing reproduction in cats, we can curb the ever-growing population and in turn help to preserve wildlife.
Deter Nuisance Behaviors
A female cat can go into heat many times in a year. This can result in male cats from across the neighborhood being drawn to your home and garden. Unneutered male cats prowling around your property, looking for your female, can be problematic since these males have a tendency to spray, fight, and caterwaul. When you spay your female cat, you can also help to prevent male cats from spending time near your home.
Benefits of Male Cat Neutering
Even though male cats can't have babies themselves, one unneutered male cat in your neighborhood can make many female cats pregnant. That's why neutering male cats is as important as spaying females when it comes to population control!
Avoid Health Issues
Neutering your male cat may help slow the spread of serious cat diseases such as Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) that are often spread between cats during fights. Neutering can help to reduce cat aggression and may mean fewer injuries from fighting. If you have a male cat who spends time outdoors, being neutered may also prevent them from wandering too from home, and lower the risk of roadway accidents.
Deter Undesirable Behaviors
You may also notice that intact males tend to mark territory and become aggressive often. This can be remedied by having them neutered. Having your male kitten neutered while young can help to prevent these behaviors from starting. Also, male cats who are not neutered, frequently roam over large areas in search of unspayed females to mate with. These males will spray to mark their territory and often fight with other male cats which can be bothersome, noisy, and smelly.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.