If you have recently added a kitten to your family, you may be wondering if it is important to have your kitten fixed. Our Hoquiam vets explain why spaying or neutering your cat not only prevents unwanted litters but can help to curb many unwanted behaviors.
Should you get your cat fixed?
There are millions of cats each and every year in the U.S. that are brought to the various shelters across the country.
The absolute best way to help reduce the number of unwanted cats in Hoquiam area shelters is by spaying or neutering your cat.
While population control is one of the reasons you should have your cat or kitten spayed or neutered there are also many health-related reasons why it is a good idea. If you have your kitten spayed or neutered it can not only help to prevent unwanted behaviors but also to lower the risk of your cat developing various health-related diseases.
What is the difference between spaying and neutering?
Having your pet fixed is a term that is used to describe both the spaying of female animals and the neutering of male animals.
Spaying Female Cats
When a cat is spayed, the uterus and ovaries, or sometimes just the ovaries, of the female cat are surgically removed.
Having your cat spayed will prevent her from being able to produce kittens.
Neutering Male Cats
Neutering, or castration as it is sometimes called, involves the removal of the male cat's testes.
Having your male cat neutered will prevent him from fathering kittens.
Benefits of Spaying Your Female Cat
Cats are able to begin having kittens by the time they are as young as 6 months old. This makes it incredibly important to have them spayed as soon as possible in order to avoid unwanted litters.
It is also possible for your female cat to have up to 4 litters of kittens in a single year. When we consider that the average litter can range in size from two kittens (from a young mother) to as many as ten kittens, that is a staggering number of unwanted cats.
Spaying your kitten before she has her first heat can help to reduce her risk of pyometra (infection of the womb) as well as mammary tumors. It's also important to note that female cats carrying infectious diseases can pass serious conditions on to their kittens who go on to spread the disease even further. Pregnancy and the birth process can be risky for young cats, and costly to their owners.
It is estimated that cats in the USA kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds each year. The best way we can help save the lives of countless birds and other wildlife is to ensure that we do our part to keep the population of stray cats to a minimum.
Deter Nuisance Behaviors
When female cats are not spayed they will go into heat often and at various times of the year, this will attract male cats to your home. These male cats can cause a variety of issues such as spraying around your property and fighting other male cats. Spaying your female cat can help to keep male cats out of your backyard.
Benefits of Neutering Your Male Cat
While you do need to worry about your male cat having kittens themselves, they can father kittens through many female cats. That's why neutering male cats is as important as spaying females if we want to help decrease the population of stray and unwanted cats.
Neutering your male cat may help slow the spread of serious cat diseases such as Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) that are often spread between cats during fights. Neutering your make cat can help to decrease the amount of aggression he shows and will make fights less likely if he is an outdoor cat. Neutered males are known to not wander as far from home which will help to keep them safe.
Deter Undesirable Behaviors
Unneutered male cats can cause issues within the home such as spraying and potentially show aggression towards their owners. Having your male kitten neutered while young can help to prevent these behaviors from starting. Having them neutered will also decrease the likelihood of your male cat wandering off in order to find a female. Having your male cat neutered will mean less spraying and less smell as well as less fighting and injuries. These things alone are a great reason to have your kitten neutered.
When Should You Get Your Cat Fixed?
Every pet is unique and your vet will be able to advise you on when you should get your cat spayed or neutered. However, typically kittens can be spayed or neutered at about four months old. Adult cats can also be spayed or neutered.