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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Also check out my page:  Is My Cat Pregnant? 


(NOTE: The following “conversation” is original content created on this site, and although Jessie is no longer with us (RIP), I thought I’d keep it here for additional information…)

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!