Yes! Spaying or neutering your cat is one of the most important things you can provide as a cat parent. This routine medical procedure helps your cat stay healthier, happier, but most importantly, the choice to spay or neuter your cat helps save lives. Millions of healthy cats are being euthanized simply because there are not enough homes to go around. It all stems from the simple fact that not everyone spays or neuters their pets.
The choice to spay and neuter your cat not only maintains the cat population, but it also prevents certain types of cancers and other health conditions from developing in your cat. If you need financial assistance, there are spay and neuter clinics and programs that offer discounted procedures to ensure responsible cat parents have access for their cat to live a long and healthy life. The outcome could benefit your cat’s health and your wallet. However, it’s important to remember that not all cats receive the luxury of a caring home.
What Can You Do?
Spay or neuter your pets! It is considered safe for kittens as young as eight weeks to be spayed or neutered. Surgery is often performed around 8 weeks in animal shelters prior to a kitten’s adoption. This way, there is no question if the new pawrents will follow through with fixing their cat. Evidence is clear that early spay and neuter is safe and produces less tissue trauma for the kitty. It is less stressful, provides a shorter recovery period, and has a lower risk of complications.
Spay and Neuter Benefits
Spaying or neutering your cat provides a number of health and behavioral benefits to your feline:
- Your cat will be much less likely to get a number of serious health problems such as uterine infections, breast tumors, or testicular cancer and prostate problems. These not only can be life-threatening but also expensive to treat.
- Spayed and neutered pets are less likely to try to escape and roam. Roaming cats are far more likely to get into fights with other animals or to experience traumatic injuries.
- Spaying female cats prevents them from going into heat. Female felines in heat may vocalize more, urinate more frequently (even in the house), and may also attract unwanted male visitors to your property.
- Spayed or neutered cats are more even tempered and less likely to show aggression. Unneutered males tend to mark their territory by spraying strong smelling urine all over the house.
Spay and Neuter Misconceptions
Will my pet gain weight after getting fixed?
Spaying or neutering your feline will not cause your cat to become overweight. You can help keep your kitty from gaining unnecessary weight by not overindulging them and making sure they get plenty of exercise. Regular playtime can help keep your feline fit (and happy).
Is getting your cat fixed expensive?
Spaying or neutering is a one-time investment in the overall health of your cat. Caring for a pregnant mother or litter of kittens is actually much more expensive than getting your cat fixed. This responsibility includes: getting the proper vaccinations, deworming medication, and providing necessary food for the kittens until they are old enough to be placed in homes. Finding kittens forever homes is a huge responsibility in itself. As mentioned previously, spayed and neutered pets are less likely to roam, suffer accidents, or develop certain serious diseases that can be very expensive to treat as well.
Should my female cat have at least one litter?
Spaying female cats prior to their first heat further reduces the chance of certain medical conditions that affect the reproductive organs; such as uterine cancer. By spaying your kitty, it also eliminates the possibility of them having complications from the pregnancy and delivery. It is very time consuming and expensive to raise healthy kittens, and not only can it be very difficult to find homes for the new arrivals, it’s a huge responsibility. Your female cat will not “miss out” on being a mother. If fewer kittens are born, this will directly impact pet homelessness and more kittens will find their furrever homes. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best time to spay or neuter your cat.
Helping Your Pet Before and After Surgery
Your veterinarian should provide pre-surgical advice to follow. In general, you should avoid giving your cat any food after midnight the night before surgery. However, there could be some exceptions if your kitten is too weak and needs adequate nutrition, then your veterinarian may advise that food not be withheld. But in that case, undergoing surgery at that time may be not be the best option for your kitty.
Your veterinarian should also provide post-operative instructions to follow. Although your kitty may experience some discomfort after surgery, there are measures available to help control pain. Medication is usually prescribed to prevent infection and reduce pain.
Here Are Some SMARTY Tips for A Safe and Comfortable Recovery:
- Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals or children.
- Prevent your pet from running and jumping for up to two weeks following surgery (or as long as your veterinarian recommends).
- Prevent your pet from licking the incision site. This may cause infection or for the wound to reopen. Distracting your pet with treats or by using a cone or recovery collar can be helpful. You can also put a shirt or cat onesie on your kitty to help prevent them from licking; which worked the best for us. Just be mindful the incision is sore, so nothing too restricting.
- Avoid bathing your pet for at least ten days after surgery.
- Check the incision site daily to confirm proper healing.
**If you notice any redness, swelling or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision is open, please contact your veterinarian immediately. Also call your veterinarian if your pet is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting or has diarrhea or any other concerns following surgery.**
Spaying or neutering your cat is such an important responsibility of any cat pawrent. Please consider doing this for your pet sooner rather than later to ensure your animal is healthy, happy, and can lead a long fulfilling life being your master. 😉
Other Ways to Help Cat Overpopulation
Spaying and neutering your pet is so important that there’s a new wave of thinking on the horizon. The support for Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) programs are gaining more and more traction in feral cat communities. This program is a smart, effective and humane alternative to managing cat overpopulation. TNR relies on volunteer groups targeting the feral cat population by breaking their breeding cycle. To combat cat over population and homelessness, feral cats are trapped, brought to a clinic, and spayed or neutered .
Statistics have proven that consistent TNR work has steadily decreased the feral cat population in those areas. Recently, the city of Los Angeles approved the using municipal funds to operate a Citywide Cat TNR Program. This program intends to spay and neuter 20,000 cats per year to combat the feral cat population. The city hopes to serve as a model for others to follow by demonstrating the success of a humane method of controlling stray and feral cat populations.
Adopt, Don’t Shop!
Supporting your local shelter is so important. Cats end up at the shelters for one reason or another. Anyone looking for a pet can directly help ease cat overpopulation by adopting these “unwanted” animals. Seek out local shelters or rescues instead of going to breeders or pet stores that breed animals merely for profit. A veterinarian once told me that every breed will eventually come into a shelter. Perhaps call around, see if there is a list you can be placed on in case a particular breed comes through their doors.
Be mindful of where you are spending your money and who you are supporting. Purchasing from shops that breed animals for profit allows them to continue while shelter animals still exist. However, some reputable stores like PetSmart or Petco do work with local shelters and host foster days (that’s where we found our furbabies). Be on the lookout for these opportunities.
You can still show support to local shelters if you already have a cat. Advocating and bringing awareness to the adoption efforts of your local shelter or rescue is great place to start. Advertising cats for adoption or soliciting donations of resources to help support the care of these animals is also important. Who knows, you may even end up giving many cats and kittens their new furrever homes!
Become a Foster Pawrent
Remember, there are so many ways to get involved! Fostering allows you to temporarily care for an animal. This animal would otherwise be taking up space and resources in a shelter. Fostering also helps to ease the fear, anxiety, stress, and frustration many cats face in a shelter environment. If you’re unable to foster, then consider volunteering! One way or another, we can all do something to ease overpopulation and help find furrever homes for these loving animals!
Like our SMARTY Tips? Sign up!