Cat neutering is the most common surgical procedure carried out in feline practice – but there are still legions of feral cats wandering around our towns and cities (there are feral cats in Bristol too), and still people choose not to do it. Whether you have a queen (female cat) or a tom (male), it really is worth having them “done”.
Why should I neuter my cat?
- Prevention of overpopulation – in just 7 years, a pair of cats can produce 40,000 offspring. Now if you can find that many homes for kittens, great – but if you can’t (and I’m guessing that’s roughly 100% of the people reading this blog!) the remainder are going to run feral, subject to disease and starvation. That isn’t fair to them.
- No more annoying calling – when a cat isn’t pregnant, she wants to be! Every time she’s in season, she’ll call and cry out for a tom; she may even seem to be in pain as she’ll roll around on the floor as well. And if an entire tom hears her, you’ll have to put up with him as well until he moves on to his next conquest. To make matters worse, mating cats are very, very noisy. This is partly because the queen will only ovulate if her vagina is traumatised by the sharp spines on the tom’s penis – so she tends to shriek quite loudly when mated.
- Prevention of certain health problems – if entire, older queens are prone to pyometra (an infection of the uterus, also seen in dogs) and mammary tumours; they can also suffer from cancer of the ovaries and uterus. A neutered cat is at much, much lower risk of mammary tumours, and cannot get a pyometra or other gynaecological disease, as she has no reproductive tract to become diseased!
- Protection of wildlife – a queen with kittens is a voracious hunter, even if she’s being fed (it’s instinctive). If you want to limit the carnage in the garden – neuter her so she can’t get pregnant.
In toms, the situation is slightly different; however, there are still major bonuses to owning a neutered tom, such as:
- Population control – it takes two to tango! See above for details…
- Avoidance of unwanted behaviour – entire toms are prone to wandering, looking for queens to mate with and other toms to fight. As a result, they may decide not to come back, having found a house that is more to their liking. In addition, they are prone to spray urine around the house (it stinks too…).
- Health issues in male cats – because they are prone to wander and to fight, entire toms are at higher risk of being hit by a car; being injured by another cat; and contracting certain diseases (such as Feline Aids/FIV and Feline Leukaemia Virus/FeLV).
Why not neuter?
Ultimately, the only good reason not to neuter your cat is because you want to breed from him or her. If so, that’s fine, just make sure you can deal with any of the possible complications – and find homes for all the kittens! Pop in and talk to us and we’ll be able to discuss the health issues and requirements.
How are cats neutered?
Queens usually have their entire reproductive tract removed in an operation called a cat spay. It is performed under general anaesthesia (so your cat is fast asleep), and in most cases, a small (about 1cm long) incision is made in their flank – the ovaries and womb are removed before the wound is stitched closed.
Toms are neutered in a procedure called castration, which is a much faster and easier operation. The cat is placed under general anaesthetic and then skin of the scrotum (or “ballsac”) is cut through, the testicles are taken out and the blood vessels tied off. The wounds may be left open to heal from the bottom up, especially in small kittens.
When should I get it done?
Ideally, as early in puberty as possible – even adolescent toms are quite capable of getting a queen pregnant, and “teenage pregnancies” are quite normal for cats! Generally, this means some time between 4 and 6 months old.
Where can I go for more information?
Come in and talk to one of our vets or call us on 0117 33 55 999 and don’t forget as an Active Health Club member there is also a discount on neutering! Find out more about the scheme here.