The safest and easiest way to prevent cat pregnancy is to spay and neuter your cats. Spaying and neutering is not harmful to your cat - it will make them a better tempered pet and lengthen their life.
When cats hit puberty and become sexually mature, females will go into heat and males begin to spray. To find out what the signs of this are, read
our cat pregnancy section.
Females can go into heat at any time, but it is usually during the spring and summer. She can have many heat cycles during the year, sometimes just the smell of an un-neutered male’s spray will trigger a heat. The heat can last for up to two weeks at a time.
This is very hard on your cat’s body – she is so wrapped up in the hormones that sometimes she will not eat or sleep as she normally does. Imagine that happening many, many times a year. It is tiring for her, and not healthy.
Also, some studies have shown that females who are not spayed have a higher risk of developing cancer.
To spay a cat, the vet will use an anesthetic that puts your cat out completely. It is a more complicated surgery for females than males. However, it is done by nearly all vets and it is so routine that it is not a long surgery. She will have a 1-3 inch incision on her abdomen that you will need to keep an eye on after surgery. If you see any excessive swelling, discharge or if she is picking at her stitches she may need a vet check.
Our vet has given us a paste to put on stitches before, if they are picking at them – it tastes bad and keeps them from licking the spot until the stitches are taken out.
Sexual maturity in males means spraying. They will aim at anything large and upright, and give it a shot of pee – and urine in un-neutered males is more smelly than normal! There is no “time of year” for spraying – you may notice it more in spring and summer but for males marking their territory is a year round project.
To neuter a cat is a very simple surgery at your vet’s office. Most boy cats can go into the vet in the morning and be back home in time for dinner! It is a very small incision in the scrotum. After surgery your cat may be groggy, but should return to normal in a day or two.
Some Quick Spay and Neuter Facts:
Some Common Spay And Neuter Myths :
Myth: "My cat is too old to be spayed/neutered."
Truth: There is no set age for spaying or neutering. Some vets will do the surgery before sexual maturity, some prefer to wait until after. If your pet is older, your vet will do a health check to make sure their body can handle the anesthetic. If they are in good health, there is no reason not to spay or neuter. Some shelters/rescues have begun to spay and neuter before cats leave with their new families, regardless of age.
Myth: "Spaying/neutering my cat will make them fat and lazy."
Truth: Overfeeding will make cats fat and lazy, not
spaying/neutering! If you have a male who used to roam a lot before the
surgery and now is less active, adjust the amount of food accordingly.
Also, some female cats who have been spayed develop a “handbag” – a
flap on their abdomen that hangs down. This is often just loose skin,
not fat. Keep age in mind as well – we all need to watch our diet as we
Myth: “Females should have one litter before being spayed – it will calm her down.”
Truth: Females who are pregnant do show some personality changes, but after the kittens are weaned she will go back to the exact same cat she was before. Pregnancy does not permanently alter a cat’s personality at all. In fact, spaying is much more likely to calm her down – she will be much more relaxed if she does not have the constant hormonal urge to find a mate.
The benefits of spaying and neutering your cat are huge – if your vet has declared your cat healthy, there is really nothing to lose, and you will gain a happier cat!