Understanding the Cat Neutering Process

Cat neutering isn't just a way to prevent the birth of unwanted kittens. It can also protect your cat from health problems related to the reproductive organs. Neutering a male cat is a simple, minimally invasive procedure, but neutering a female cat requires abdominal surgery and a longer recovery time. If you aren't going to breed your cat, you should have it neutered to safeguard its health and prevent the birth of unwanted kittens.

Benefits of Neutering Your Cat

Cat neutering carries a number of benefits, not least of which is its efficacy as a method of birth control for cats who aren't used for breeding. Other benefits of cat neutering include:

  • Neutering male cats prevents the spraying of urine and reduces roaming behaviors.
  • Neutering male cats reduces territorial aggression.
  • Neutering female cats prevents the birth of unwanted kittens.
  • Neutering female cats eliminates heat cycles and the problems associated with them.
  • Neutered cats don't suffer from reproductive cancers or reproductive infections.

Neutering Procedure for Male Cats

The most common method of neutering male cats is castration, or removal of the testicles. Your vet performs the castration by making two small incisions in the testicular sac, through which he can remove the testicles. The procedure is quick and relatively painless, and carries a short recovery time and a low risk of infection. Cats are placed under anesthesia during the procedure, and prosthetic testicles can be inserted if desired.

Cats can also be castrated non-surgically by injection. Non-surgical sterilization is permanent for male cats.

Neutering Procedure for Female Cats

Since neutering a female cat involves abdominal surgery, it's a more complicated and riskier procedure than neutering a male cat. The procedure causes more pain to the cat and carries a longer recovery time as well as an increased risk of infection.

Female cats are placed under anesthesia during the neutering procedure. Vets can surgically remove both the uterus and ovaries, but in female cats they usually just remove the ovaries in a surgery known as an ovariectomy.

To perform the surgery, your vet will anesthetize your cat, then make an incision down the middle of the belly, below the belly button. The length of the incision will vary depending on the size of your cat and your vet's personal preferences.

Your vet will first find your cat's uterus, which he'll recognize by the uterine horns, or the pair of tube-like structures that connect the ovaries to the uterus. Your vet will then be able to find the ovaries, by following the uterine horns to where they meet the ovaries.

Your cat's ovaries are attached to her kidneys by a ligament, which may need to be severed. Your vet will then ligate (or tie off) the ovarian arteries and sever them before removing the ovaries. He'll use resorbable sutures that won't need to be removed.

If your vet chooses to remove the uterus as well, then he'll ligate it above the cervix, in order to leave the cervix intact. He'll also ligate the uterine arteries before removing the uterus and closing the abdomen. He'll close the abdomen by suturing the muscles and subcutaneous fat layer seperately with resorbable sutures. Your vet will use staples, glue or sutures to close the skin.