Spaying or Neutering Your Cat

Spaying or Neutering Your Cat – What, Why, When, Where?

Bella and Putter
Kurt Faler / Foter

Q: What is spaying and neutering?

A: They are surgical procedures performed by veterinarians that remove the cat’s reproductive organs. Cats cannot breed – no baby kittens are created. When a female cat is spayed, the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed. When a male cat is neutered, this results in the castration and complete removal of their testicles.

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Q: What Are the Health Benefits of Spaying and Neutering?

A: Spayed cats are less likely to develop breast cancer and won’t be at risk for ovarian or uterine cancer. Neutered males will not get testicular cancer. Neutering males also reduces the risk of injury and transmission of disease, since male cats that are NOT neutered tend to roam and have contact with other cats, who may pass on diseases or parasites.

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Q: What Are Some Behavior Problems with Cats Who Aren’t Spayed or Neutered?

A: Any cat could mark their territory by spraying urine, but males not neutered are most likely to behave in this nasty manner. Cats (males and females) may try to escape outside to roam the neighborhood. Female cats that are in “heat”, will tend to yowl and attract male cats, acting almost crazy at times. And this behavior is whether they are inside or not. Heat cycles are frequent in non-spayed cats.

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Q: Why Should I Spay or Neuter My Cat?

A: If all the information listed above isn’t reason enough, well, spaying or neutering ensures that your cat won’t add to the feline overpopulation problem. Keep in mind that even a cat who lives indoors may escape and while outside a female could get pregnant or a male could get a female pregnant if either is not sterilized. And if you have outdoor cats that are not spayed and neutered, oh my, you’ll have your own army of cats growing by leaps and bounds. Every year, millions of stray cats are euthanized or end up in shelters due to a lack of good homes.

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Q: When Is the Best Time To Spay or Neuter?

A: Normally it is safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered! It’s wise to have the surgery done before your cat is six months old, though. This helps avoid possible urine spraying issues and chances for pregnancy. It’s possible to spay a female cat while she’s in heat, but she’s more susceptible to blood loss. Obviously older cats can be good candidates, too, and your vet can determine if surgery can be done safely.

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Q: Will My Cat Act Differently After Being Spayed or Neutered?

A: After recovery time, your cat may be calmer and certain bad behaviors are less likely to appear. The personality should not change, though. Some cats may require fewer calories to maintain their body weight. Talk to your vet about adjusting your cat’s diet.

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Q: How Do I Prepare My Cat For Surgery?

A: Your veterinary clinic will provide a pre-surgical checklist. Follow it. One common practice is to avoid giving your cat any food after midnight the night before surgery. Your veterinarian may advise something different for a young kitten though.

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Q: What Happens After Surgery?

A: Depending on the cat, the surgery, the time of day it was done, your cat may or may not spend the night at the vet’s office. If done in the early morning, you may be taking your cat home that night. Your cat may have discomfort after surgery, but shouldn’t be in pain. It’s possible pain medication may be sent home with your cat. Provide your cat with a clean, soft, quiet place to recover. Try to keep your cat from running and jumping for the first few days. That is easier said than done…But you want to try to keep the stitches and the incision from popping out/tearing open, etc. Discourage your cat from licking or chewing the stitches and incision area. Your cat may have to wear an Elizabethan collar if they cannot leave the surgery area alone. No bathing your cat for at least ten days after surgery. Keep an eye out for infection. Keep watching that the site heals nicely. If you see redness, swelling, discharge, if the incision opened up, if your cat is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting or has diarrhea – call your vet.

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Also check out my page:  Is My Cat Pregnant? 

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Transport Kitty safely in a cat carrier at all times when driving! Here’s a way cool cat car seat carrier that has everything!

cat car seat carrier

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Jessie Cat says: I had a weird reaction to the anesthesia and was WILD! Gina brought me home the same day and during the night, I was bad. I was bouncing off the walls – running and jumping and meowing!

Gina says: I stayed/attempted to sleep with Jessie during that night…on the floor of the utility room with the door closed! OMG! It was terrifying and horrible as I worried about her hurting herself internally and externally by ripping the stitches! I couldn’t exactly restrain her the entire night against my chest – so she’d dart loose and race up some “cat steps” I made, jump on the washer and dryer and hop down on my chest or stomach (!) or jump down to the floor.

Jessie Cat says: Yep…and all that bad activity caused a golf ball-sized lump to pop up on my incision…

Gina says: It’s called a seroma - a pocket of clear fluid that sometimes develops in the body after surgery. Occurs when small blood vessels are ruptured, blood plasma can seep out, inflammation, etc. The incision site was totally “abused” by her insane behavior which the vet believes was due to anesthesia. During the week, Jessie had to have the seroma drained 3 times by the vet. What fun. Perhaps I should have put her in her carrier that first night to contain her and it might have prevented this from happening but I wanted to BE WITH her not cage her…So, DO TRY to keep your cat calm after surgery — if at all possible!


19 Responses to Spaying or Neutering Your Cat

  1. Marianne Mikulsky

    Thank you, well I can tell you it took about 1 week for the hormones to subside in his pee, much better now. Im using the new Armand Hammer litter and its awesome, no smell at all, i clean at least once or twice a day. One of the reasons he smelled sooo bad when we brought him home (as we found out later) he must have had a accident when he was coming out of surgery, which we found out is common. Just sharing this info, that I wish I would have known last week, oh well, we love are new kitty!

  2. Marianne Mikulsky

    We just rescued our first cat, he is 9 month old and we just had him nutered last week, the pee smell was unbelievable! but it sure has lighten up, how long till it should be like a normal cat pee? Also, I am scared to death that he was neutered a few months late and might be a “sprayer” He has spend the last week in one room in our house to get use to everything, he did not spray at all, so is this a good sign that he probably wont be a sprayer? Just left him out into other parts of the house today and he is very curious, but so far so good, now he curled up in my lap, lol

    • YAY for rescuing a cat! YAY you got him neutered! Not sure what to tell you about the cat pee…but I will say cat pee by itself always smells HORRIBLE! Different litters can really neutralize the odor though. Well, it sounds promising that he hasn’t sprayed YET. REALLY watch him. Read my page on Spraying if you have issues. Correct the behavior as quickly as possible if it starts.

  3. I think it’s called the “Herriot’s duct”.

  4. I had both my cats spayed yesterday. They are sister litter mates. The one who had a grumpier personality now hisses and growls at her sister the calmer of the two. She doesn’t do it to the dog, myself or my husband. Any ideas of why she does this? She is eating and drinking ok and is using the litter box as well as being on pain meds.. It just makes me sad. I don’t want her to stay like this.

    • I’m NOT a vet or vet assistant, but if I were to guess, your cat who is acting more grumpy than usual is probably still in some pain. After all, the cats are on pain meds you mentioned and it’s only been 1 day since spaying! And the pain meds could be affecting her behavior. The other cat she’s hissing at, well, she’s probably just “saying” to the other one, “I’m hurting now so don’t mess with me.” :) It sounds VERY good that she’s eating, drinking, using litter box OK!! Definitely give her some time to heal from her surgery before thinking she’s turned into a meanie towards the other cat. The spaying is supposed to help with behavior issues. Try to keep them as calm as possible during this healing time. And give lots of love, if they’ll let you. Try to keep an eye on the incision area to make sure infection hasn’t developed or that a bump filled with fluids doesn’t form on that spot. If it does, go to the vet asap. Also, anesthesia can have a bad reaction on some pets, too. My Jessie was a real mess for a few days after her spaying! Good Luck!

  5. Hello my name is neesie and i have just brought my boy cat Charlie home from the vet after his neutering. Now when he was chilling on my knee and rolling over I could see what looked like a pink tube sticking out of his bits. At first i thought it was his penis but it isn’t so I rang the vet back and was told the vet had seen this pink thing and he would even lick it but it was nothing to worry about. I have had cats all my life and never seen this. It’s usually been all tucked away neatly nothing sticking out as though the vet was suddenly distracted and forgot to tuck things back in n stitch it up please help anyone I am perplexed and can’t help but worry about this.

    • Well…sounds like you already called the vet back about this issue! As I’m not a vet or vet assistant, I definitely can’t clue you in on what you might be looking at! You described it well, but I have no idea what you might be seeing. Again, if you’re freaked out, I’d even call the vet back one more time & ask if you could drop by w/your cat JUST so someone who’s a professional there can take a peek at the area & confirm if there really might be a problem or if the surgery area is okay. Good luck!

    • I just brought my cat home and see the same thing. Going to take him back to the vet tomorrow. What was the outcome?

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