Over the years, we’ve discovered neutering your cat is much healthier. But when is the ideal time to do it? Read on to learn what you need to know about when to neuter your cat.
Getting your kitten neutered at around 4-5 months old is recommended. However, if you are a cat owner with a kitten that hasn’t hit sexual maturity yet, you won’t understand just how troublesome it can become. When your cat sprays surfaces in the house, scurries around the home at night, digs up the soil, or even damages things in the house, it can be challenging to curb the behavior.
Neutering a cat is a tried and tested solution to these challenges. However, getting it spayed at the right time is essential for the animal’s health and the owner’s sanity. This article contains everything you need to know about when to neuter a cat.
What Are Neutering and Spaying in Cats?
To spay or neuter a cat involves removing the sexual reproductive organs. Generally, this is done before cats reach sexual maturity, which is around 5 months old, but it can still be done later in adult cats.
Both terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. Spaying refers to fixing female cats, and neutering is used to describe castrating male cats.
The process of spaying female cats involves removing the ovaries and uterus. Neutering male cats involves removing the testicles and is also known as castration. The surgical procedure has advanced significantly, and there is little risk to female and male animals.
Why Should You Consider Spaying Your Cat?
Pet owners prefer to spay or neuter their cats because it has behavioral benefits, gives the cat a healthier life, and prevents unwanted kittens. But unfortunately, animal shelters are filled with thousands of cats that have been abandoned or placed for adoption. As a result, many cats end up being euthanized.
However, if you want to get a kitten and own a cat that has never been owned, you must be ready for a 15 or 20-year-long commitment. Then, if you choose to neuter kittens, you can play your part in controlling unwanted cats and give your cat a better life.
Health Benefits of Neutering Cats
Spaying has a lot of health benefits for a female cat. Unfortunately, Pyometra is a common problem with unneutered female cats, an infection of the womb. Later in life, unneutered female cats can also develop mammary tumor problems.
A disease in the mother cat can impact its kitten’s health, and conditions can be transmitted from the mother to the kittens.
Neutering also reduces the chances of male cats contracting FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), which is uncurable and similar to HIV in humans. It also reduces the male’s urge to roam, get into fights, and stop them from becoming frustrated.
Population Control of Cats
Pet overpopulation is a big issue, and cats make up a significant percentage of pets in animal shelters.
Neutered cats cannot reproduce, so you are helping with population control by neutering them. However, males can impregnate several females within their locality, so spaying cats of both genders are equally important.
Social Behavior in Cats
A male cat can be tough to handle when it’s time to mate.
A female cat will often ‘call’ out to males when it is ready to mate, and considering that this period can last several weeks, it can be quite a problem. Male cats often roam around an area where they can hear these calls, often in packs, and it’s not uncommon for both genders to exhibit cat aggression.
All this behavior can cause quite a commotion, and it is a nuisance for pet owners and the general population in the vicinity. In addition, fighting males can spread diseases and viruses to others through physical interaction. Finally, both genders can suffer from injuries. Since they are usually outside and close to roads, they are at a higher risk of becoming road kill – spaying or neutering is a solution to these challenges.
Cats Marking Territory
Male cats will mark their territory with an odorous spray that is difficult to clean.
It is a habit that is difficult to change and can be very troublesome for pet owners and neighbors if the cat is constantly spraying over their property or, worse, on things inside the home. If a male cat’s testicles are removed at a young age, it won’t develop this habit.
Unneutered cats, in general, and unneutered male cats, in particular, behave very differently from their neutered counterparts. For example, unneutered cats are far more likely to stray away from their home and never return. They are also far more aggressive and can be tough to handle, becoming destructive inside the house.
Does Neutering Hurt the Cat?
The cat is unconscious due to anesthetics during the surgery, so it’s completely pain-free. However, after the surgery, the vet will give you some medications and painkillers to provide your cat over the next few days. These medicines will address any post-surgery discomfort it experiences.
The surgery doesn’t take long, with a quick recovery afterward. Male cats usually return to their regular routines and activity levels a day or so after the surgery. Female cats can take 2 or 3 days to return to 100%.
How Can I Get My Cat Neutered or Spayed?
Get in touch with a vet to organize the neutering procedure. They will ask you to bring the cat in for a pre-surgery check-up, during which they will check to ensure your cat is healthy and fit for being neutered.
Typically, vets ask pet owners to limit solid food intake 12-18 hours before the procedure, so you will only give your cat some water the night before. Your vet will advise you when to stop the food and water before the visit.
Caring for Your Cat After the Procedure
While spaying might sound complex, cats can recover surprisingly easily and quickly. However, immediately after surgery, the cat will be pretty drowsy and lethargic for the rest of that day. This is very normal, and it’s just the drugs wearing off.
After the surgery, it is also given a healthy dose of painkillers, making it seem lazy and quiet. However, it should be almost back to regular activity on the second day. Since the procedure does leave it with some wounds and stitches, it’s common for cats to lick and generally investigate the wound area.
Some cats can be very interested in the area, and excessive licking can worsen the wound. If your cat is constantly sniffing, looking, or investigating the area, you can get a special collar restricting its ability to turn around and fidget with the wound. This helps a lot in preventing infections and making sure the wounds recover as they should.
Bladder infections and urinary tract issues can arise after neutering. If the cat is having difficulty urinating, squats down to urinate, but no fluid is discharged, there is blood in the urine, or the animal shows signs of pain and discomfort, you should have it looked at by the vet.
Final Thoughts on Neutering or Spaying Your Cat
If you want to neuter your cat, it is in your best interest to do it as early as possible, ideally before sexual maturity, typically around 5 months old. The spaying procedure is quick and simple, and with some basic care, your cat will be up and going in a couple of days.
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