If you haven’t heard it before, hear it now: spaying or neutering your cat is one of the best things you can do for your pet’s health. During Spay/Neuter Awareness Month in February, take some time to learn about the health benefits of these important procedures.
Spaying is the removal of a female cat’s ovaries and uterus; neutering is the removal of a male cat’s testicles. Spaying involves major surgery, and is performed via an incision made to the cat’s lower abdomen. Through this incision, the veterinarian gains access to the cat’s reproductive organs. Neutering consists of removing the testicles after making a small incision in the scrotum.
While these procedures may sound extreme, both surgeries are very routine and can be performed by a veterinarian on a cat as young as eight weeks of age. Although some veterinarians prefer to perform theses procedures on cats five months or older, the surgeries are safe enough to perform on young kittens.
The Benefits Of Spaying Female Cats
When you spay your female cat, she gains the following health benefits:
- She’s less likely to develop mammary gland tumors, which are most often cancerous. In fact, 90 percent of cats who develop mammary cancer die from the disease. You can most easily prevent mammary tumor cancer by spaying your cat before her first heat, which usually occurs around six months of age.
- The possibility of developing pyometra, a serious infection that develops in the uterus, completely disappears.
- The chance your cat might develop malignant tumors of the ovaries and uterus also disappears.
- Besides doing away with the likelihood that your cat will give birth to a litter of unwanted kittens, spaying also wipes out the possibility of your cat developing serious complications during the birthing process.
- Regular heat cycles increase the amount of stress on your female cat’s body, making her more prone to a variety of other illnesses, such as respiratory disease, parasite infestation, and bacterial infection. Spaying stops the heat cycles.
The Benefits Of Neutering Male Cats
Male cats also benefit health-wise from neutering. Here are some pros of neutering your male cat:
- He is no longer at risk for developing testicular cancer. Performing the surgery before six months of age provides the greatest health benefit.
- Intact male cats are aggressive and fight with other males, increasing the likelihood of sustaining serious injuries. Neutering a male cat takes the fight out of him.
- Because neutered males are less likely to battle with other cats, they are at less risk of contracting contagious and potentially fatal diseases, such as feline leukemia and feline AIDS.
- Neutered males are less likely to stray from home, which reduces the possibility they will be struck by a car or killed by a predator.
If you want to keep your cats healthy, spay and neuter them. It’s well worth both the cost and the effort. Help spread the word during Spay/Neuter Awareness Month.
Have you spayed or neutered your cat yet? What would you say to someone considering the procedure? Let us know in the comments below!