Spaying or Neutering Your Cat: When and Why.
Spaying or neutering your cat is a very important aspect of being a cat owner. Having your cat “fixed” is not only beneficial to you and your pet but to society as a whole. Female cats who are not spayed will come into heat every 2-3 weeks, yowling loudly and continually until they are bred or come out of heat. If they become pregnant they can have litters of 2-8 kittens every 60 days. This means that each intact female cat has the potential to produce almost 40 kittens per year! Tens of thousands of cats are euthanized each year in the United States due to overpopulation. Humane Societies and Shelters are full of cats in need of homes. Countless colonies of feral cats also exist in the United States, full of unvaccinated cats who continue to reproduce. The number of unwanted cats in the United States has become a serious problem.
Spaying a cat is a procedure that is done regularly at River Road Veterinary Clinic. If money is a concern VSNIP (Vermont Spay and Neuter Incentive Program) is a state program that can help qualified individuals pay for the cost of fixing their animals. River Road Veterinary Clinic recommends spaying kittens at 6 months of age, although many Humane Societies and shelters spay all kittens before adopting them out in order to ensure that they are not able to reproduce and contribute to the ongoing cat overpopulation problem. Pre-anesthetic blood work is recommended in order to ensure that your cat’s kidneys, liver, and other vital organs are functioning properly and will be able to clear the anesthesia from her system. The spay surgery is performed under inhalant gas anesthesia and is supervised by experienced technicians and accurate medical monitoring machines. The surgery involves making an incision in the abdomen and removing the ovaries and uterus. Your cat will wake up and recover under the watchful eye of our veterinary technicians and she will be ready to go home the following morning. Most cats will need to wear an Elizabethan collar (cone) for 10-14 days and will be sent home with 3 days of post-operative pain medication.
Female cats who are not spayed are at a risk for developing uterine cancer, uterine infections, or suffering from difficulties during birth.
Intact male cats are much more prone to running away from home. Their instincts push them to travel in order to find a female who is in heat. Wandering further from home makes them much more likely to be hit by a car. Additionally, intact male cats are much more prone to fighting- which allows for the easy transmission of disease and causes painful abscesses from bite wounds that usually require medical treatment. These males also begin to mark their territory by “spraying” urine. This is often done in and around the house they live in. If a male begins to spray before he is neutered it can be a difficult behavior to get rid of even if he is neutered later in life.
Neutering a cat is a procedure that is done daily at River Road Veterinary Clinic, and should be done at 6 months of age. Neutering a male cat is much less invasive than spaying a female cat. A male cat is sedated using IV anesthesia and the testicles are removed individually by the veterinarian through two small incisions in the scrotum. Your cat will then be given a “reversal” drug that wakes them up within a matter of minutes. Your male cat will be ready to go home that same afternoon, but will usually need to wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent licking until his incisions are healed. He will also need to get three days of post-operative pain medication.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding having your cat spayed or neutered please call us at River Road Veterinary Clinic and we would be more than happy to answer any and all of your questions!