Choosing whether you spay or neuter your cat is one of the most important health decisions you will make for your cat's overall health and wellness. With minimal hospitalization time and long term health benefits, spaying your cat offers many advantages for both you and cat. If you're considering whether spaying your cat is the right option for you, we’ll outline all the factors you need to consider in making your decision here.
What Is Spaying or Neutering?
A widespread and routine procedure, spaying or neutering, removes the female's uterus and ovaries and the male's testicles to sterilize a cat. A licensed veterinarian performs the operation, and the cat is left with a tiny incision mark that fades over time. The surgery usually doesn't take long and requires little downtime after surgery.
Reasons You Should Spay or Neuter Your Cat
Spaying offers many health benefits for both male and female cats. There are many advantages from being more cost-effective, to helping reduce the amount of homeless cats. Female cats that are spayed tend to live longer and healthier lives, and male cats are less likely to develop diseases such as testicular cancer and prostate problems. Some of the main reasons you should spay your cat include:
1. Reduces Cat Homelessness
The crisis of cat overpopulation has become a massive area of concern worldwide. Every year, millions of cats are euthanized because they either don't have anyone to adopt them or their owners aren't able to care for them due to unplanned litters.
In rescues, it's very common to see the heart-wrenching effects of cat overpopulation. Family members are continually dropping off their cats, and because of the shock, some cats even stop eating altogether. Some of these cats are newly discarded, and some are feral. These cats usually live short and unpleasant lives on the streets, being cold, hungry and even contracting diseases. It isn't uncommon for stray cats to get treated poorly because many people view them as pests and hurt them. Many cats get poisoned, live with painful injuries, and spend their days fighting to survive. The lucky cats are the ones who are rescued and re-homed. However, those who don't end up having their lives cut short by predators, cars, and people. According to the ASPCA, seven out of ten cats are put to death simply because there's no one to adopt them.1 By deciding to spay your cat, you're helping reduce the risk of lives lost and keeping more cats from ending up in shelters.
2. Breaks The Reproduction Pattern
Although cats are very maternal, and there are many stories of them risking their lives to save their kittens and the belief that they will somehow benefit from experiencing motherhood is very misleading. Female cats go through the birthing process; they care for their kittens for approximately eight weeks, then their kittens are taken away and are typically never seen again. That "one litter" can quickly produce five kittens, and litters in the double digits are not unheard of, and the chances are that many of these kittens won't be spayed. Because of this, the cycle continues. They'll reproduce, and a couple more will be abandoned at some point in their life. One cat alone can easily be responsible for the birth of forty cats within two years. Ten unfixed cats can result in 400 cats, 100 cats can result in 4,000 cats, and so on. Unfortunately, many of these cats won't have a happy ending - but it doesn't have to be this way. A quick trip to the vet for a routine spay/neuter is all it takes to break this reproduction pattern.
3. Helps Behavioural Problems and Personality
Spaying and neutering your cat will change their personality, but it will ultimately be for the better. Unfixed cats are driven by their hormones. Female cats in heat are restless, anxious, very loud and attract every unneutered male in your vicinity. Unneutered males can also become frustrated and aggressive and are more likely to become territorial by spraying around the house. They'll most likely fight any male that they encounter. To help with the transition, exercise and diet are also very important. However, there isn’t a need for them to become overweight, though. Many foods are made specifically for indoor cats. For exercise, a laser pointer to give them a good workout will do just the trick. When you spay your cat, they become more relaxed and calm, less likely to roam from your house and overall, are better pets.
4. Health Benefits
There are also several health benefits associated with spaying and neutering your kitten. Spayed female cats are about 40 to 60% less likely to get mammary cancer than unspayed cats. Additionally, spaying eliminates the possibility of reproductive tract tumours and any chance of developing an infection in the reproductive tract. Cats that mate or fight are more likely to contract feline leukemia (FeLV) or feline AIDS (FIV). Both of these diseases are specific to cats, and both are unfortunately incurable. Spaying or neutering your kitten dramatically reduces their risk of ever contracting either of these diseases.
If you need financial assistance getting your cat spayed, reach out to your local shelter, rescue group or vet. Many communities offer low-cost spay/neuter programs; all you need to do is ask! Most groups will do everything they can to help.
Ultimately, spaying your cat is a proven way to reduce pet overpopulation, ensuring that every cat gets the loving home they deserve.