There are countless benefits to neutering or spaying your cat, and the advantages of the procedure certainly outweigh the disadvantages. However there are many misconceptions about the impact and expectations surrounding this procedure.
Cat neutering is best done before a cat reaches sexual maturity. For female cats, spaying must be done before reaching six months and for male cats, before reaching nine months. Neutering a cat too early may increase the risk of developing urethral blockage, especially in male cats. Since the cat is often considered fully mature in all aspects around six months of age, it is better to start neutering around that time.
Neutering will also decrease the response of males from the scent of female hormones. Un-spayed females go through their heat cycle or “calling” cycle every three weeks. As the name suggests, this event includes noisy calls to attract a male. Neutered cats also develop more affection to humans and usually become more calm and affectionate towards their owners and to other pets.
To reduce pain and discomfort, both neutering and spaying are performed while your cat is under general anesthesia, and must be performed only by a licensed veterinarian. Most cats are able to resume their normal activities within a few days, and the stitches are removed after about two weeks. Following the procedure, your vet will advise you on how to best care for your cat while he/she is recovering.
Following are eight common cat neutering myths and why they need to be debunked.
Myth #1: My cat will become overweight
Neutered cats have a tendency to gain weight, since they are no longer driven to roam as they were previously. However, your cat’s weight can be managed effectively through proper diet, enough exercise, and constant monitoring of its food intake, you can substantially reduce the risk of your cat’s weight gain.
A good number of pet food companies produce feeds formulated especially for dietary needs. All you have to do is consult your veterinarian regarding the right amount of food for your cat. The vet should be able to offer healthy guidelines for monitoring the cat’s weight. Moreover, plenty of toys are available to keep your cat active and stimulated.
Myth #2: Neutering traumatizes the cat
The truth is that cats (or pets in general) don’t feel sad when they lose their ability to give birth. The primary reason they reproduce is to ensure the longevity of their species.
A few weeks after giving birth, mother cats nurse their kittens and teach them rules. But after such time, queens let their offspring be on their own. Furthermore, tomcats are not known to father their kittens and don’t even involve themselves in nurturing their juveniles. The negative psychological effects of neutering, therefore, are not true.
Myth #3: Neutering is dangerous
The surgical procedures of spaying or neutering are some of the most commonly performed operations in the field of veterinary. They’re very safe and don’t take long hours to finish. After the procedure, the vet prescribes some pain relievers to help in the recovery process. Complications related to surgery are uncommon. It is especially true when the caretaker or owner follows all the post-surgical care guidelines.
Myth #4: Neutering is an inhumane way to control overpopulation
Initially, neutering was handy when it came to ending the suffering of a cat due to extreme circumstances like terminal illnesses. Today, the procedure is safe and acceptable in controlling the population of cats and other domestic animals. In fact, there are many other reasons to neuter your cat apart from population control.
Myth #5: Neutering fixes many behavioral problems
Actually, neutering tones down unwanted behaviors related to high testosterone levels like mounting on other cats and urinating all over the house. However, expecting your pet to completely change its personality through neutering is totally unrealistic. The procedure can’t change the cat’s personality, which he or she has developed over time. Neutering can’t give your cat a quick makeover…that’ll still be dependent how well you train Fluffy.
Photo: From the IG feed @jimmy_and_choo – two adorable and mischievous British short hairs that we love
Myth #6: My cat is too old
Since early cat neutering is important, you can neuter cats when they’re 8 weeks young, or they weigh two pounds. With safer anesthetic drugs and advanced techniques, vets can perform the procedure smoothly.
Did you know that even older cats and dogs benefit immensely from neutering? A vet needs to perform pre-surgical blood work on cats that are seven years and above. The test checks kidney and liver function prior to giving him or her the anesthesia.
Myth #7: It’s healthier to allow my cat to have one litter first
Medical evidence suggests that females spayed prior to their maiden heat are healthier. Female cats, which don’t undergo the procedure prior to their first heat, have a higher risk of uterus infections or breast cancer. When it comes to the males, cats neutered early in life boast a lesser risk of prostate infections.
Myth #8: Neutering is very costly
Responsibility is part of pet ownership. You have to be a responsible pet owner and that includes its reproductive health. The cost of the neutering procedure definitely pales when compared to that of sheltering the countless cats that live as strays and hardly find good homes.
Is personal finance a problem? If yes, you can contact your local Spay-Neuter Assistance Program. The organization conducts the procedure at a subsidized cost for pet owners with financial hardships. With the availability of the facility, you no longer have a reason not to neuter your cat.
There’s no doubt that cat neutering is one of the best health decisions a pet owner can ever make. The only downside to neutering your cat is that your cat will no longer be able to reproduce. This is generally a problem only if you are breeding cats. Otherwise, in terms of helping to prevent pet overpopulation as well as allowing your cat to lead a longer and healthier life, the best gift that you can offer your cat is to have them neutered/spayed.
The procedure brings with it numerous advantages. Sadly, there’s so much misinformation out there, so if you’ve been having difficulty in knowing what’s true or not, it always helps to conduct your own research or simply talk to a veterinarian.
Much of this post was contributed from a reader named Anna Joanne. She has an undying love for cats. In fact, she is currently taking care of two stray cats: Ross, a shiny black cat, and Millie, a black and white cat. To provide the proper care for her furry friends, she works as a content writer who loves to write about animals.