Should I Neuter My Cat?
Neutering means removing the reproductive organs; this is either the ovaries in females (known as spaying) or the testicles in males (known as castration). Neutering is a routine procedure thatdoes not require overnight hospitalisation, with an average recovery time of 5-10 days.
What are the benefits for females?
- Cats can become pregnant from 6 months of age; spaying prevents this and unwanted litters
- Spaying stops seasons (when they are willing to mate) which would usually happen every 3 weeks between March and September; during this time, they are very vocal, often sounding like they are screaming in pain!
- Spaying prevents cancer of the ovaries and uterus, and vastly reduces the risk of mammary (breast) cancer which is usually very aggressive
- Spaying prevents infection of the uterus, known as pyometra
- Un-neutered females often escape to look for a mate, making them more prone to car accidents or other injuries
What are the benefits for males?
- Castration prevents breeding and unwanted litters
- Uncastrated males often have a distinctive and unpleasant tom-cat smell
- Uncastrated males are more likely to roam, and have a higher incidence of car accidents
- Uncastrated males are much more likely to get into fights, causing injuries and abscesses as well as risking spread of diseases like feline leukaemia virus
- Castration does not prevent cats spraying urine, but it does make it much less likely that they will do this
What are the risks?
All procedures have risks; however, neutering is considered a routine and safe procedure. Specific risks include:
- Swelling or infection of the wound; risk reduced with rest and use of a buster collar
- Energy requirements drop drastically after neutering so weight gain is common - obesity can cause many problems so careful weight management is important
- Anaesthetic deaths and excessive bleeding during surgery can happen but are extremely rare
When can we neuter?
Both male and female cats can be neutered from 4 months of age. If your cat is very small and doesn’t live with a sibling of the opposite sex, you may be advised to wait a bit longer.
What happens on the day?
- You will be asked to bring your cat to the clinic in the morning
- A member of the team will go through a consent form to confirm the procedure and answer any questions you have
- Your cat will need to stay in the clinic for the day; most practices won’t be able to give the exact time of your pet’s procedure
- Once your pet is under anaesthetic some fur will be shaved to allow the skin to be cleaned and made sterile. This is either the left side or underneath of the abdomen in females, or around the scrotum in males
- Surgery typically takes 5-10 minutes for a male cat, and 10-30 minutes for a female cat, however both operating time and the size of the surgical wound vary with the size of cat and different surgeons
- Pets recover from anaesthesia at different speeds, but once your pet has woken up fully, they will be offered something to eat, and a discharge time arranged.
What happens afterwards?
- After surgery your cat may be groggy for up to 48 hours as the anaesthesia wears off, but generally most young animals recovery quickly
- If you are given a buster collar, this must be used to prevent your pet from licking their stitches. As they heal, they will become itchy, but interference can cause serious infections. If you have not been given a collar and notice your pet licking, or they can reach around the collar, please contact your practice
- Do not let your cat out of the house for at least 10 days post-op
- Check-ups at your practice will be within the first couple of days and again at 7-10 days post-op
- Removing any sutures and the buster collar will be done at the 7-10 day check up
Get 20% off neutering when you are a member of The Healthy Pet Club. Please contact your practice to discuss and book neutering your cat.