Also known as desexing, cat neutering is the removal of the reproductive organs from the young cat in order to prevent reproduction. In females, it is referred to as spaying or ovariohysterectomy and in males, it is referred to as castration.
With so many unwanted cats being needlessly euthanised every day, neutering your cat is the responsible thing to do to avoid contributing to the cat overpopulation problem.
Most cats come become capable of reproducing around 6 months of age, although some cats can call from as early as 4 months. Neutering can be performed from the ages of 10 weeks to 6 months of age depending on breeder/shelter/veterinarian preference. Some prefer early neutering while others would rather wait until the cat is slightly older. Early neutering is generally accepted to be a safe procedure and in fact, many breeders and shelters will not release kittens to their new homes until they have been neutered.
What are the benefits of neutering a cat?
There are a great number of benefits to neutering your cat including:
- Reducing roaming behaviour in the male cat which in turn reduces the chances of being injured on the road, by other cats, dogs etc.
- Reducing diseases including mammary cancer, pyometra, testicular cancer, FIV, FeLV.
- Reducing undesirable behaviour such as calling in the female, male aggression or spraying in the male and female.
- Reducing fight induced injuries such as bite and scratch wounds and abscesses.
- Reducing the number of kittens needing homes.
The cost of neutering varies between the sexes. Your veterinarian will be able to advise on the cost to neuter your cat.
The night before the operation, the cat is fed early in the evening and then food is removed. This is to prevent aspiration of the stomach contents into the lungs during surgery. Your vet will give you guidelines on when to do this as guidelines may vary depending on the age of the cat and the time of the operation
At the vet’s surgery, the cat is given a health check and in many cases blood work to check the cat is in good health.
During the procedure, a small patch of fur is shaved from the front leg and a general anaesthetic is administered to sedate the cat. Fur is clipped from the scrotal area and the area is swabbed with disinfectant, the testicles are removed via a small incision. In the female, the ovaries and uterus are removed via an incision in the flank or the underside.
The cat is usually discharged on the same day as surgery occurs. Cats usually recover from this operation within a few days.
Complications are rare but may include post-surgical bleeding and infection. Your cat may be slightly drowsy for a few hours post operatively.
It is best to keep your cat quiet for a few days after the operation to help them recover.
What if I can’t afford to neuter my cat?
Contact your local shelter as many offer discounted rates or can put you onto a local vet who offers reduced rates or payment plans.