If you recently adopted a kitten or unfixed adult cat, you're probably wondering what the best practices are when it comes to spaying or neutering. In this post, our Capitola vets share what you need to know about getting your cat fixed and when you should do it.
Should you get your cat fixed?
According to an estimate from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), around 3.2 million cats enter US animal shelters annually. Getting your new kitten fixed will help reduce the number of homeless cats in your area. Additionally, spaying and neutering your cat greatly lowers their risk of reproductive-related diseases and cancers.
When should you get your cat fixed?
Most vets recommend spaying and neutering kittens at four months old as this is before they reach sexual maturity.
However, adult cats can be also be spayed or neutered. If you're unsure about when to get your cat fixed, just ask your vet, they can help you decide when to get your cat spayed or neutered.
How are spaying and neutering different?
Below are the differences between the two main reproductive procedures:
When we fix female cats it's called spaying. Spaying means that the vet surgically removes the cat's uterus and ovaries, or sometimes just the ovaries, so that your cat is unable to have kittens.
Male cats are neutered or castrated when we get them fixed. This means that the vet surgically removes the cat's testes so that your cat is no longer able to father kittens.
Benefits of Spaying Your Female Cat
Controlling the number of unwanted cats in your area
Female kittens can get pregnant at just 6 months old. Not only that, female cats can have up to four litters a year, and each litter can be made up of as many as 10 kittens! That means your cat could have as many as 40 kittens every year! That is a lot of unwanted cats.
Male cats can impregnate several female cats in a row, leading to more potentially stray litters in your area.
Reduce your cat's risk of disease
Having your kitten spayed before she has her first heat cycle can reduce your cat's risk of developing breast cancer later in life, and eliminate the possibility of your cat developing pyometra (a potentially fatal infection of the womb).
Protect wildlife in your neighborhood
In the USA it is estimated that cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds annually. By reducing the population of homeless cats, you are also helping to protect birds and other small animals.
Deter unwanted behaviors
Spaying your female cat can help to keep male cats out of your backyard. When female cats are unspayed, they attract the attention of neighborhood male cats. Unneutered male cats hanging around your house and garden can be problematic since these males have a tendency to spray, fight and howl.
Benefits of Neutering Your Male Cat
Reduced numbers of unwanted kittens
One unneutered male cat can make many female cats pregnant. Having your male cat neutered can play a significant role in helping to reduce the number of homeless cats in your neighborhood.
Reduced risk of many common health issues
Neutering can help to reduce cat aggression and may mean fewer injuries from cat fights, and a reduced risk of your cat contracting FIV (immunodeficiency virus) or FeLV (Feline leukemia virus). Neutering can also curb your male cat's tendency to roam, reducing his risk of being injured by a vehicle.
Helps to reduce the incidence of spraying
Typically, unneutered male cats will spray urine inside the home more often than neutered males, and often try to get outside more. Having your male kitten neutered while he's young can help to prevent spraying and other territorial and mating behaviors from starting.