Cat Neutering and Spaying Myths

There are many myths associated with cat neutering. The truth is, spaying and neutering is a safe and simple surgery that most veterinarians will recommend for healthy cats. Spaying and neutering is not only beneficial for your cat but also helps manage the population of stray cats.

Myths and Facts

Spaying or neutering will not change your cat's personality. However, he or she may be less likely to display negative behaviors associated with heat cycles and the drive to mate. Females will not go into heat after spaying and will not experience the problems of cystic ovaries, false pregnancy, pyometra or uterine cancer. After neutering, males are no longer at risk of testicular cancer and are less likely to fight with other males and mark their territory by spraying.

Many people believe that it's better for pets to have at least one litter before spaying or neutering. Medical and behavioral evidence actually proves this belief to be false. Females that are spayed before their first heat cycle are typically healthier and do not have to endure the discomfort or possible problems of giving birth. Cats mate instinctively and do not feel disappointment or loss of sexual identity if the opportunity to breed does not exist. Spaying and neutering also does not cause cats to gain weight or become lazy. A lack of exercise, over feeding, or possibly another medical condition are usually the true cause of weight gain or a lowered activity level.

Additional Concerns

Many people will consider breeding their cats because they want to have another cat just like the current one. Although you may see some similarities, breeding your cat does not guarantee her offspring will have the same personality or share her best characteristics. Professional breeders often follow generations of bloodlines and still take chances on the outcome of a litter. The average pet owner's chance of producing their ideal pet is far less likely.

The cost of spaying or neutering can also be a deterrent for many people, especially those on a fixed income. Regardless of your economic situation, there are many organizations and private veterinarians that offer low-cost options for spay and neuter surgery. Even if the price of surgery still seems high, spaying or neutering is a one-time cost that can eliminate future problems that often result in much higher veterinary bills.

About the Procedure

To almost completely eliminate the risk of mammary tumors, cats should be spayed prior to 5 months of age, before they have their first heat cycle. Most veterinarians agree that cats can be sterilized as early as 8-10 weeks. For females, the operation is done through the abdomen and the uterus and ovaries are removed. For males, an incision is made in the scrotum and both testicles are removed.

Following the Procedure

Although spaying and neutering has become a simple process, it is important to monitor your pet and follow basic aftercare instructions when you leave the clinic; any special instructions given by the veterinarian should be strictly followed. For about two weeks after the surgery, exercise should be kept to a minimum and the incision area must be kept clean and dry to allow for healing.