Unless you are planning to show or breed your cat, you should spay or neuter it. Here’s why:
- Reduces overpopulation, particularly if you allow your cat to go outside.
- Benefits for female cats include:
- Spaying drastically reduces her risk of mammary cancer, which is fatal in 90% of cats.
- Spaying prevents heat cycles and eliminates yowling, crying, erratic behavior, and the tendency to spray.
- Spaying reduces her risk of uterine infections and cancer.
- Benefits for male cats include:
- Neutering your male cat eliminates his risk of testicular cancer.
- Neutering reduces inappropriate behaviors, such as roaming (to find a mate), marking inside your home, and fighting with other male cats.
- Spaying or neutering is much less costly when compared to the expenses associated with the behaviors or diseases mentioned above.
- Sterilizing your cat is safe, with few complications.
When Should I Spay/Neuter my Cat?
The AAHA endorses “Fix Felines by Five” – which recommends sterilization of cats by five months of age. However, we spay and neuter cats up to nine months of age.
The risk of waiting longer? Your cat might reach puberty (usually around 7 months of age) and begin the undesirable behaviors listed above.
- For male cats the longer he sprays and fights, the less likely neutering will stop it.
- Female cats might go into heat, usually around 7 months of age, and will be in heat for approximately one week every 2-3 weeks until she is mated.
The decision regarding when to spay or neuter your cat is one you should make with your veterinarian – he/she will have the most up-to-date knowledge of your cat’s particular breed and potential disease risk and help you make an informed decision.
What Are the Risks of Spaying or Neutering?
Surgical complications are rare but do exist. Some of these include adverse reactions to anesthesia, abnormal bleeding, or post-operative infections. Talk to your veterinarian about his/her past experiences with these rare complications.