Every year thousands of healthy animals are destroyed and because good homes cannot be found for them. It is important not to add to this pool of unwanted cats and dogs. Having your pet neutered not only prevents unwanted pregnancies but is also a practical way of safeguarding your pet's health.
Your partner in caring for your pet should be your veterinary surgeon. Regular visits to a vet for routine health checks and preventative health care such as vaccination and treatment for fleas and worms allow you and your pet to build a relationship with your vet. You should ask your vet for advice on important issues such as neutering. They can give impartial advice on the best solutions for your own circumstances.
Your questions answered
What does neutering involve?
Both castration in the male cat and spaying in the female are major operations which need a general anaesthetic. Your cat must be fasted overnight before the operation to reduce the risk of problems on the operating table. Castrating male cats is a relatively straightforward operation and there is very little chance of anything going wrong. Spaying females is more difficult but it is one of the operations most frequently carried out by vets and any experienced vet will have done it many hundreds of times.
Both castration and spaying involve a single cut, into the belly of the female, to remove the ovaries and uterus (womb), or into the scrotum of the male dog to take out the testicles. Your cat should be ready to come home on the same day as surgery, as soon as the anaesthetic has worn off. If there are any complications, your vet might want to keep your cat in hospital overnight to keep an eye on them.
What are the benefits of neutering?
- Females - spaying will stop the bleeding that occurs with every heat cycle and prevent any changes in your female's behaviour. Females that are not spayed, but who do not have litters, may develop false pregnancy or infection in the womb. Early spaying of females reduces the risk of them developing mammary cancer (breast cancer) later in life.
- Males - some males develop antisocial behaviour when they reach maturity. This may be in the form of aggressive or sexual behaviour - mounting other animals or people! Uncastrated males, if left to their own devices, may patrol a wide area in search of a mate and can detect a female on heat over long distances. A male that wanders is more likely to be involved in a car accident. Castrating males also reduces the risk of them developing diseases of the prostate in later life.
When should my cat be neutered?
Is it ever too late for neutering?
There is no upper age limit for neutering your cat. You may wish to have your cat neutered if you acquire it as an adult or you may want to have a litter or two before your cat is retired as a breeding animal. Tomcats can also be neutered later in life and this may reduce certain types of antisocial behaviour such as spraying. But the older the male is, the more likely that it will carry on showing the less desirable behaviour traits such as aggression or mounting. If older males develop prostate problems, castration may be recommended as the treatment.
Is neutering dangerous?
All operations requiring a general anaesthetic involve a certain amount of risk and on rare occasions there may be complications after the operation. If you are concerned about your cat after the operation, contact your vet immediately.
Will neutering make my cat fat and lazy?
Neutering will not have any significant effect on your cat's lifestyle apart from eliminating its sexual behaviour. Most owners find that any changes in their cat's personality are for the better as many neutered cats become more affectionate and playful.