New cat owners often have a misconception about cat sterilization. Many new pet cat owners are often under the impression that getting their cat sterilized poses several health risks and some might even consider it to be immoral. If you too are wondering whether or not to sterilize your cat, this article will clear everything for you and give you a fresh perspective towards cat sterilization.
Sterilization is a surgical procedure that prevents cats from reproducing. In the case of female cats, the incisions will be done on the lower abdomen to remove their ovaries and uterus, although sometimes it is only the ovaries that will be removed. On the other hand, for male cats, the incisions will be made on the scrotum to remove their testicles.
Most cat owners often get confused between neutering and sterilizing, Neutering is just another term for sterilizing, and it is not another surgery that is performed on the cats.
These surgeries will usually be performed by professional veterinary doctors, and the cats will be medically examined and given anaesthetics before the surgery. It will reduce the worries of the cat owners, especially for those who will be experiencing it for the first time.
What is Spaying and Why Should You Spay Your Cats?
Spaying is the sterilizing surgery performed only on female cats, wherein their ovaries and uterus, which is their female reproductive organ, will be removed completely. It will prevent the cats from bearing offspring and in that process avail several health benefits as well!
Although sterilizing a cat might sound terrifying to first-time cat owners, it is beneficial and helpful for the cats in many ways. Here are a few of the reasons why female cats must be spayed.
Spaying Will Increase the Cat’s Lifespan
It is one of the main reasons why veterinary doctors and most cat owners are insistent upon getting the female cats spayed. According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, about 90% of female cats have high chances of getting breast cancer or uterine infections, which can pose danger to their lives. One possible solution which can reduce the chance is by neutering the female cats.
Spaying Will Prevent Cats from Going Into Heat
Unsterilized female cats will come to heat every few weeks and it will constantly keep them on edge. There may also be bleeding, and aggressive outbreaks because of their raging hormones. When the female cats are into their heat, it will invite all the male cats which will cause a ruckus and unwanted fuss. To avoid these problems and to give some relief to the female cats, spaying them will be the perfect option! As once they are spayed, they can never reproduce and are immune to their heat phase.
Spaying Will Keep the Population in Check
At iAdopt, we come across hundreds of cases of people abandoning their pets or stray animals suffering a painful death on the streets on a regular basis.
When the cats are not spayed, they reproduce and the cat owners are often unable to take care of their offspring, due to which they abandon the kittens. The kittens, being domestic, fail to survive outdoors. If the cats are not allowed to mate and reproduce, then they tend to get aggressive and misbehave within the house, which could turn out to be a nuisance for the pet parents.
On the other hand, if you, as a pet parent, are planning to get more kittens or cats into the house, then adopting more cats that do not have a home is a better way forward because you can:
- Pick the exact number of cats you want to adopt
- Adopt a cat of any age
- Know about the cat’s personality and temperan=ment beforehand
When there is a pet overpopulation, most cats can not find homes or shelters to provide them with the affection and care they will be needing. Most of them are left abandoned on the streets and roads.
Fewer Responsibilities and Cost-Effective
According to International Cat Care, cats can reproduce an average of four kittens during each pregnancy. It is a huge responsibility to take care of the mother cat as well as to tend to the kittens as well.
If the cat owners are not mentally, physically and financially prepared for the workload, they will likely abandon them on the streets or at animal shelters. To avoid this complication, it is better to sterilize the cat before their first reproduction. It is also cost-effective because the medical and food expenditure for the kittens will sum up to a huge amount.
Spaying Will Bring About a Positive Change
Most female cats will reflect positive changes gradually after getting spayed. The cats might gain a more calm and relaxed personality, as they will not have heat anymore. Because of this a whole lot of fuss and trouble can be reduced, and the home will become a much calmer place. Different changes will take place for each cat, but most of them will certainly benefit both the cats and the cat owners.
What is Castration and Why Should You Consider Castrating Your Cat?
Castration is the surgery performed on male cats, wherein their reproductive organ will be removed to prevent them from mating with the female cats. Similar to the female cats, the male cats can also get several health benefits from this, and at the same go undergo behavioural changes. Here are a few of the reason why castrating the male cats would serve to be beneficial.
Castrating Will Reduce Their Aggression
Unsterilized male cats tend to exhibit aggressive tendencies because of their raging hormones. They tend to bite at other cats, sometimes even the cat owners. They will chase street/ wild cats and will get into unnecessary fights with them. It is believed that once the male cats are neutered, these tendencies will slowly diminish and will develop a calmer personality.
Castrating Will Reduce the Territorial Behaviour
The male cats tend to mark their territories or anything which they consider as their own, by urinating on them or sometimes even leaving scratch marks on them. They even get into fights with other male cats over territories. But this behaviour is not welcomed by the cat owners, as it only causes more trouble and can potentially injure the can to cause permanent disability. But by neutering the cats, these extreme territorial tendencies can be brought under control.
Castrating Will Prevent the Cats from Roaming Around
When female cats are on heat, the scent will attract the male cats in and around that area. It will push the male cats to roam away from their houses, in search of female cats for mating. It is quite risky because they might lose their way or they might even be met with an accident.
When the male cats are neutered, they can no more sense or get attracted to the female cats in heat. They will mostly stay within the confines of their houses, and will not search for a female cat.
Castrating Will Improve Health
Castrating the male cats comes with several health benefits, which would otherwise cause risks to their health. Male cats are likely to have testicular cancer and other prostate problems, although it is said to be rare in male cats. But to avoid risking the cat’s health and safety, it is always better to get them sterilized.
The male cat’s testicles will be removed when they are being sterilized, hence any prostate problem, including cancer, can be avoided.
Castrating Will Calm the Cats
The male cats tend to have roguish behaviour, wherein they would wreak havoc and cause trouble constantly in the house. It is a phase fueled by their territorial instincts and their raging hormones. All these problems can be easily avoided if the male cats are sterilized even before they enter the rebellious phase. After neutering, the male cats tend to get more affectionate and attached to the cat owners and can be seen behaving more calmly.
Myths About Sterilizing Cats
There are several preconceived notions about sterilizing cats, which has led to the development of many myths over the period. Here are some debunked myths which will clearly show how spaying and neutering is a necessity for pet animals:
Myth #1: Cats Get Lazy After Sterilization
The cats will require rest right after getting spayed and neutered, as they need that healing time. But it will only be for a few weeks, and right after that, they will return to their own self. There is no conclusive evidence to date that states that cats can become lazy after getting sterilized. The only reasons which can contribute to their laziness are either because the cats are growing old or they don’t have enough playtime planned out for them.
Myth #2: Cats Become Overweight
It is one of the most common myths that most cat owners believe in. Cats can not gain from getting sterilized, other factors contribute to it. A lack of properly planned diet and playtime to keep them active are the key players responsible for cats becoming overweight. Sterilizing the cats will only help them in having a healthier lifestyle, by preventing risky medical conditions, which could have cost them their lives otherwise.
Myth #3: Sterilizing Will Be Painful for Cats
The cats can not feel anything as they will be under general anaesthesia when they are being operated upon. They will be prescribed adequate and appropriate pain medications by the veterinary doctors, which has to be followed correctly to avoid risks. The cats only feel slight discomfort and tiredness after the surgery, hence the cat owners will not have to worry about their cats feeling any pain during or after getting sterilized.
Myth #4: It is Expensive to Sterilize Cats
Most cat owners have the belief that sterilizing cats would be an expensive procedure, and because of this reason, most cats do not get spayed and neutered. The truth is that it is a very cost effective method. There will be money spent upon taking care of the cat’s offspring and on the medical bill of the cats in case of breast tumors and prostate cancer. All of these could be avoided by just simply getting the cats spayed and neutered, which will not allow them to reproduce and will also reduce the chances of having any medical issues.
Pro Tip: If you just rescued a cat and want to get it sterilized at a good clinic, you might even be eligible for a discount. Many hospitals have this option. All you got to do is ask!
Feeding/Care Before the Operation
Certain things need to be done before the cats are spayed and neutered. It is to ensure that the operation will take place smoothly, with no danger to the cat’s safety and health. Usually, the veterinary doctors will give instructions about what all has to be done before the surgery. Here are a few things to keep in mind as a pet owner:
- On the morning of the surgery, no water or food should be provided to the cat as it might cause vomiting during the operation. The night before the surgery, the cats are allowed to have food before 8. After that, the cat owners will be recommended not to provide any food or water.
- In case of a diabetics cat or any sort of health issues, it is always better to consult a veterinary doctor beforehand. It is because a different eating schedule/ diet plan will have to be designed for these cats.
- Few essential things will have to be prepared before the surgery so that the neutered cat can take rest comfortably. Crate or Carrier will be essential as the cat might not be able to strain itself after the surgery and also because of the anaesthesia which would still be present in their system.
Feeding/Care After the Operation
There will be a list of responsibilities waiting for the cat owners, after getting their cats spayed and neutered. The cats might be a little disoriented or grumpy for the first couple of days, and that is when they will most require help and affection from their owners.
With patience and time, the neutered cat will return to its normal self, but if some abnormal activities continue to persist, then the pet owners can always consult veterinary doctors. Here are a few things, that pet owners are supposed to take care of, to ensure a speedy and safe recovery of their cats.
Creating a Niche for Them
It is crucial that the cats feel comfortable to take rest after the surgery. They should not be disturbed by other pets or children, as they might be a little sore and grumpy from getting spayed/ neutered. Space must be created for them, with everything they might require – blankets, sheets, pillows, and toys. Chances are that the cats might be a little scared, hence it is better if space is dily lit and soundproof.
Constantly Keep an Eye on Them
The cat owners must constantly be on the lookout for their newly neutered cats, as any abnormality in their activities must be reported to the veterinary doctor later. For Example, it is normal if there is some amount of blood leakage while urinating right after the surgery. But if it continues for two days, then it is a matter of concern. Starting from their eating pattern to their sleeping schedule, everything must be made note of.
Restrict Their Activities
Newly neutered cats can’t perform any activities which will require them to strain themselves. A female cat will have incisions over its abdomen and a male cat will have incisions over its scrotum, both of which are crucial places. Exaggerated movements might cause the stitches to pull out and will increase the healing time. Cats must be prohibited from leaving the confines of their home, and must not perform activities such as jumping, fighting, mounting, etc.
Prepare a Clean Litter Box
Since the neutered cats can not strain themselves, it is recommended that the cat owners place their litter boxes in the cat’s spot. It is especially important that the cats are not let outside for litter purposes, because if any dirt comes in contact with the incisions, then it might get infected.
Petable also recommends that a clean litter box be provided for each tie, as even the dirt from an unwashed litter box can infect the incisions.
Food and Water for a Neutered Cat
The cat owners are required to be careful with the quantity of water and food provided to the cats after their surgery. The anesthesia given to the cats, during the surgery, might still be present in their system after 24 hours. Hence, small amounts of water and food must be given to prevent the cats from vomiting. The cats might likely refuse the food, which is not a matter of concern. But if it continues for more than two days, then it is better to consult a veterinary doctor and see what has to be done.
Only Prescribed Medications Should Be Given
The cat owners must be careful about the medicines they give to their neutered cat, as some might pose a potential danger to their health. It is essential that the cat owners only give the medicines, including the pain killers, given by the veterinary doctors. They must refrain from following their instincts, or just doing as per what the internet says, as it concerns the health and security of the cat. Immense precaution must be taken while giving the medications to the cat and must take note of how they react to it.
Behavioural Changes in Female Cats After the Operation
There will not be any major changes that would completely alter the behaviour of the female cats after getting spayed. If at all there are any changes, it will be on the positive side which will serve to be beneficial for both cats and as well as cat owners. Here are a few of the behavioral changes that can be commonly noticed in spayed cats:
It is common for female cats to be aggressive often, because of their heat cycles which will keep them on the edge. They tend to get possessive over their kittens and will even leave a bite or scratch marks. But once they are neutered, all of these traits will diminish and they will carry a calmer personality. It is because they will not have to face their heat cycles and bleeding.
Will not Roam Around
It is not just the male cats that run away from the house in search of mates. The female cats can be found doing the same as a result of their heat cycle. But these heat cycles are eliminated once the female cats are sterilized, which in return reduces the need for the female cats to roam away from their houses in search of male cats.
Female cats experience irritation because of their fluctuating hormones, and the changes which will take at both mental and physical level during the heat. Most cats are even anxious and can not feel comfortable or relaxed. They also grab unwanted attention from the wild and street cats with their heat scent. But once they are sterilized, the cats can never experience these issues and hence will be less irritable.
Behavioural Changes in Male Cats After the Operation
After the male cats are neutered, several noticeable changes in their behaviours can be noticed by the cat owners. But these changes will not be a matter of concern to the pet owners as they will be mostly on the positive side, and will benefit both the pet owners and the cats themselves. Here are a few of the behavioral changes which are commonly exhibited by male cats after getting sterilized:
Unsterilized cats tend to exhibit more aggression, by often getting into brawls with other wild/ street cats. It is believed to be because of the raging hormones and the extreme territorial instincts. One solution which could give the best results would be neutering the male cats, which will reduce their aggression to a great extent.
Will Stay Within the Confines of the House
The male cats can be seen growing more attached and affectionate towards the cat owners after getting neutered. They would rather prefer following the cat owners, than leaving the confines of their house for mating. Most of all, the scent of female cats in heat will not attract them any longer, and because of this, they will not go in search of the female cats.
Will Refrain from Mounting
The male cats can often be found mounting the female cats when they are around them. It is mostly because of the hormonal frenzy. But once they are sterilized, male cats will no longer mount any cats as their hormones will be stable and under control.
Changes Taking Place at a Physical Level
According to VCA Hospitals, a male cat’s urine would have a very potent odour and colour to it. But once they are neutered, the strong scent and colour will not persist anymore. It is also believed that their hygiene and cleanliness will improve to an extent where grooming them will not become a matter of concern.
Eligibility Criteria for Sterilizing the Cats
There are preset requirements, which the cats are required to have fulfilled to be considered eligible for sterilizing. It is because, when the cats are being operated upon there might be some health and safety concerns. To avoid them, the veterinary doctors will have to examine the cat’s body condition to determine whether it’s safe to get spayed or neutered. Here are the major criteria which are taken into consideration:
Cats can be spayed and neutered when they are over four months old, as that’s the stage when most cats will attain sexual maturity. Henceforth to avoid unwanted pregnancy, it is always better to immediately sterilize them once their first reproduction cycle starts.
In the case of cats adopted from the animal shelters, there are high probabilities that they have already been spayed and neutered as it is usually done when they are more than six weeks.
The cats must weigh at least two pounds, and above to be considered eligible for getting spayed and neutered. Cats that are either underweight or overweight might be considered too unhealthy for sterilization.
There are some exceptional cases where the cat owners might feel a slight dilemma about whether or not it is safe to get their cats neutered. Here are some situations which will put the cat owners in a difficult position:
- If the female cat is pregnant or is in heat, it is still alright for them to get spayed. According to Spay and Stay, pregnant cats whose kittens get aborted during the surgery will be given more priority concerning their health. They will be kept under observation and will be given extra fluids.
- In case of chronic health conditions or any illness, it is mandatory to inform the veterinary doctor prior. As extra precautions have to be planned and incorporated accordingly, to ensure the health and safety of the cats during surgery. The veterinary doctors will usually run a few tests and examine the cats before deciding on whether they can be spayed or not.
If you own a cat or a kitten, sterilization is a must. The benefits of sterilization far outweigh its cons as long as the cat is not too young, too old or suffering from an illness.
Talk to a veterinarian today if you have an unsterilized semi-adult or adult cat at home.