Spaying/castration is an irreversible means by which a cat is rendered sterile. Spaying at a young age prevents mammary cancer and neutering at any age prevents unwanted kittens, noisy heat cycles, roaming, fighting and possibly even urine marking in the house.
The case for spaying/castration
- Male cats who have not been castrated tend to wander off for long periods and often get into scraps and fights, wounding themselves in the process. They will also mark their territory, including the contents of your house, by 'spraying' objects with their urine, which has a characteristically unpleasant smell.
- Castrated male cats make better house cats, fight less, and tend to live longer than entire toms.
- If not spayed, female cats come into season regularly. They are likely to get pregnant if not kept indoors. During the time that they are in season, they are extremely noisy and very attractive to the neighbourhood toms. A queen may have one to four litters per year, with up to eight kittens in each litter.
When to operate and post-operative care
Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what exactly is involved with the operation and also on the best time for it to be performed. The traditional age for spaying is six months. However, the last few years has brought us a great deal of research into “early” spaying and we now know that there is no problem with spaying as early as 8 weeks of age.
- The procedure entails complete removal of the uterus and ovaries in females and testicles in male.
- There are also hospitals/clinics, which conduct spaying with Keyhole or Laparoscopy methods, with minimum invasive surgery and on outpatient basis.
- Surgery is preceded by a fasting period and requires general anesthesia and hospitalization. However, recovery from the operation is usually very quick, and typically, you may take your cat home the same day or the following one.
- Complications are unusual/rare but may include post-surgical hemorrhage or infection.
- Postoperative care includes restriction of exercise for a week, protection of the incision from contaminants, and daily monitoring of the incision for inflammation or discharge.
- The incision must stay dry and suture removal is usually performed 7 to 10 days after surgery.
- Keep your cat indoors for a few days and prevent him or her from excessive movement to allow the wound to heal without complications.