If you've recently adopted a new cat or kitten, you may be wondering when the right time is to have your feline friend fixed. Here, our Apple Valley vets explain why having your cat neutered or spayed is beneficial for both you pet and your community.
Should you get your cat fixed?
Animal shelters across the United States are filled with homeless kittens and adult cats. According to one estimate from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), about 3.2 million cats enter the U.S. shelter system every year.
Not only will getting your new kitten fixed help to significantly reduce the number of homeless cats in your area, it can also reduce your cat's risk of disease, and help to curb many undesirable cat behaviors.
When should you get your cat fixed?
Neutering and spaying your cat at four months, before they reach their sexual maturity, generally offers the best protection against a wide variety of health risks. That being said, adult cats can also undergo these procedures. If your aren't sure about when to have your feline companion fixed, ask your vet. They will be more than happy to help you to decide on when to have your pet neutered or spayed.
How are spaying and neutering different?
When we talk about getting a cat 'fixed' what does that actually mean?
Spaying is what it's called when you fix a female cat. Spaying is the surgical removal of your cat's ovaries and uterus, or sometimes just their ovaries, to ensure that you cat cannot have kittens.
Male cats are neutered or castrated when we get them fixed. This means that the vet surgically removes the cat's testes so that your cat is no longer able to father kittens.
Benefits of Spaying Your Female Cat
Controlling the number of unwanted cats in your area
Your adorable new kitten may be able to have kittens or their own before they are 6 months old. On top of that, a female cat can have up to four litters a year, with each litter being made of as many as 10 kittens! This means your cat could have up to 40 kittens per year!
Reduce your cat's risk of disease
Getting your kitten spayed before her first heat cycle can help to reduce the risk of your cat developing breast cancer later in her life, as well as eliminate the chance of her developing pyometra (a possibly fatal womb infection).
Protect wildlife in your neighborhood
In the USA it is estimated that cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds annually. By reducing the population of homeless cats, you are also helping to protect birds and other small animals.
Deter unwanted behaviors
Spaying your female cat can help to keep male cats out of your backyard. When female cats are unspayed, they attract the attention of neighborhood male cats. Unneutered male cats hanging around your house and garden can be problematic since these males have a tendency to spray, fight and howl.
Benefits of Neutering Your Male Cat
Reduced numbers of unwanted kittens
Even just one unneutered male can make many female cats pregnant. Having your male cat neutered early can help play a significant role in reducing the number of homeless cats in your area.
Reduced risk of many common health issues
Neutering can help to reduce cat aggression and may mean your pet receives fewer injuries as a result of cat fights. It also means a smaller likelihood of your cat contracting FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and FeLV (Feline leukemia virus). Neutering also curbs your pet's desire to roam, reducing his risk of being struck by a vehicle.
Helps to reduce the incidence of spraying
Typically, unneutered male cats will spray urine inside the home more often than neutered males, and often try to get outside more. Having your male kitten neutered while he's young can help to prevent spraying and other territorial and mating behaviors from starting.