If you've recently welcomed a new kitten or adult cat into your home, you might be contemplating whether to have your new feline companion spayed or neutered. Our vets at Seattle discuss the advantages of having your cat undergo this procedure, which benefits both your cat and the community.
Should You Get Your Cat Fixed?
The simple answer to this question is yes: You should spay or neuter your cats. Homeless cats and kittens fill animal shelters across Seattle. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) estimates that around 3.2 million cats enter US animal shelters annually. Having your new kitten fixed significantly decreases the number of homeless cats in your area, lowers your cat's risk of disease, and helps control many undesirable cat behaviors.
When should you get your cat fixed?
It's best to spay and/or neuter your kittens at four months or before they reach sexual maturity. Doing this offers the best protection against several health risks. Though, adult cats can also be spayed or neutered. If you're unsure when to get your cat fixed, ask your vet; they can help you decide when to get it spayed or neutered.
How are spaying and neutering different?
There are differences when it comes to spaying and neutering your cat because spaying and neutering are different procedures for different gendered cats.
Spay vs Neuter
When a vet spays a female cat, they surgically remove the cat's uterus and ovaries, or sometimes just the ovaries, preventing the cat from having kittens. Male cats, on the other hand, are neutered or castrated during the fixing process, which involves the surgical removal of the cat's testicles to prevent it from fathering kittens.
Benefits of Spaying Your Female Cat
Controlling the number of unwanted cats in your area
Your cat might produce her kittens before reaching six months of age. Moreover, female cats can give birth to up to four litters annually, with each litter potentially consisting of as many as 10 kittens! This implies that your cat has the potential to have as many as 40 kittens each year. This results in a substantial number of unwanted cats.
Reduce your cat's risk of disease
When you have your kitten spayed before she has her first heat cycle, it can reduce your cat's risk of developing breast cancer later in life and eliminate the possibility of your cat developing pyometra (a potentially fatal infection of the womb).
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 deter male cats from entering your backyard. Unspayed female cats attract the attention of neighborhood male cats. Unneutered male cats may linger around your house, causing issues in the garden as they tend to spray, fight, and howl.
Benefits of Neutering Your Male Cat
Reduced numbers of unwanted kittens
One male cat who is not neutered can make many female cats pregnant at the same time. Having your male cat neutered can play a significant role in helping to reduce the number of homeless cats in your neighborhood.
Reduced risk of many common health issues
Neutering reduces cat aggression, minimizes injuries from cat fights, and lowers the risk of your cat contracting FIV (immunodeficiency virus) or FeLV (Feline leukemia virus). It also curbs your male cat's tendency to roam, decreasing the likelihood of him getting injured by a vehicle.
Helps to reduce the incidence of spraying
Male cats who haven't been neutered tend to spray urine inside the home more frequently than neutered males and often attempt to get outside more. Neutering your male kitten at a young age can help prevent the onset of spraying and other territorial and mating behaviors.