Why should we neuter our cats?
Why should we neuter our cats?
Neutering is the use of surgical techniques to remove a male cat’s testes or a female cat’s ovaries (sometimes the uterus as well, depending on the method). This takes away the cat’s ability to reproduce, and prevents the secretion of hormones related to sexual activity and reproduction.
These surgical procedures are easily done and usually present a low clinical risk. The younger and healthier the cat is, the lower the risk will be. They’re always performed under general anaesthesia and analgesia to ensure there’s no suffering, and the animal usually recovers very quickly. Cats can be neutered starting at 6 months of age, and it isn’t necessary to wait until females start their first oestrus cycle. Castration (of males) and spaying (of females) offer more advantages than disadvantages, but they are surgical procedures, and therefore require preventive measures, the supervision of a veterinarian and the prevention of infections and other complications.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is that cats’ personalities don’t change after being neutered, although the procedure can lessen their physical activity and metabolic rate, predisposing them to being overweight. This should be prevented with exercise and a specific weight-control diet.
Veterinarians recommend that all domestic cats should be neutered for the following reasons:
- Disease prevention: spaying female cats before they start their first oestrus cycle lowers their future risk of suffering from breast, uterine, cervical or ovarian cancer by 90%—all of which are very serious and usually malignant diseases. It has been scientifically proven that neutering increases cats’ life expectancy and improves their quality of life.
- Control of unwanted litters: animal shelters are full of abandoned cats and dogs who don’t have anyone to claim them. This is due to the fact that cats have a very high reproductive capacity and produce large litters. If their reproduction is not controlled, thousands of kittens end up homeless without anyone to take care of them, condemned to life on the streets or in shelters. Neutering pets is a responsible action that prevents abandonment. Any animal lover who loves their cat should neuter it, without exception.
- Eliminating urine marking: male cats spray their urine on everything in their path (curtains, walls, sofas, beds, etc.) with the goal of sexually attracting females. This creates extremely unpleasant odours in the house, making them difficult to live with. Females also make sexual urine markings, although not in the form of spray—but that doesn’t make them any less unpleasant.
- Avoid territorial fights: uncastrated male cats set out to look for females to mate with. When they’re in heat they get very territorial and pick fights with any cats on their terrain. Fights, in addition to causing severe injuries, can lead to the transmission of serious infections of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
- Reduce the risk of escape and accidents: when they’re in heat, both males and females set out to look for members of the opposite sex to mate with, and this loss of control over them can lead to trouble. Keeping a neutered cat at home reduces its risk of suffering serious accidents.
Have you neutered your cat?