Veterinarian Reviewed on January 4, 2008 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Spaying or neutering your cat is extremely important for a variety of reasons. Firstly, if you have an outdoor cat, the chances of procreation are really quite high while the chances that unwanted kittens are properly cared for is quite low. The number of stray cats in any community abounds and contributing to this problem is detrimental to the health of stray cats as they are often malnourished, homeless, or killed. Also, neutering male cats and spaying female cats offers a number of health benefits that will ensure a long, happy life for your pet.
Neutering Male Cats
Owners often debate the pros and cons of neutering their male cat. While neutering may seem like cruel and unjust (especially for human males), this procedure is simple and the recovery is quick. In addition, there are a number of health and behavioural benefits that result in neutering your cat.
Firstly, neutered males are much less likely to spray urine. Males will naturally spray to attract females in heat but in the home environment, spraying is indeed a major nuisance. Not to mention the cleaning costs, a sprayed house will usually hold a strong order for long periods of time. To help prevent spraying, neuter your cat.
Neutered males are also less aggressive and lose the urge to fight. This will help ensure their safety, especially for outdoor cats, as they are less likely to be involved in fights and neutered cats face less infection from injuries sustained in fights. In addition, if your cat is neutered, he will be less likely to run away.
Certain diseases, especially sexually transmitted diseases, are much less common in neutered cats. FeLV and FIV are costly and deadly diseases that can be avoided by neutering your cat. Testicular cancer is another disease that is prevented by neutering and there is a decreased risk of mammary cancer.
Clearly, the benefits of neutering your cat far outweigh the psychological deterrents associated with not wanting to “mutilate” your male cat. Truth be told, neutering is safe and easy with little negative impact on your cat.
Spaying Female Cats
The heat cycles of female cats can pose quite a challenge for cat owners. Females cry loudly, spray urine, and may feel physical pain during heat – all symptoms that make your cat and your own life quite miserable during heat. Not to mention the serious feline overpopulation concerns in modern societies, there are also a number of beneficial health and behavioural effects from spaying your female cat
Spayed cats are at decreased risk of mammary cancer and the risks of ovarian or uterine cancer are completely eliminated. In fact, female cats that are not spayed and also not allowed access to mates for breeding are at heightened risk of ovarian and uterine cancer. These types of cancer can mean slow and painful deaths for your cat.
In addition, spaying eliminates the risk of pyometritis. Pyometritis is a bacterial infection that affects the uterus of cats and can be fatal. With no uterus, there is no chance for a cat to develop pyometritis.
Eliminating the health risks and overpopulation problems associated with not spaying your female cat should be reason enough to go forward with this surgery.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan