Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Cat or Kitten

kitten behind bars in shelter

By spaying or neutering your cat you can prevent overcrowding at animal shelters so that cats like the little kitten shown in the photo on the right has a better chance of being adopted.

People often want what is difficult to obtain. If cats were hard to come by then only rich people would have cats. Unfortunately, cats and kittens are in such great abundance that you can't even give them away. For example, the other day there was a picture of the cutest little kitten posted on the wall at the veterinarian's office. Someone was trying to give a sweet little black female kitten away. The sad thing is that this kitten may never find a good home because there are far more kittens and cats looking for good homes than there are good homes to be found. The animal shelters are all overcrowded and they cannot provide for all of the homeless cats that people bring to them. Each year millions of cats are put to death because there aren't enough homes for all of them. There are also millions more that are born outside each year to female cats that were once owned but have been abandoned by their owners. These cats don't have access to medical care, often don't have enough food to eat, and depending on which area of the country they live in, must often face harsh winters with minimal or no shelter.

What is the Answer to This Problem?

The solution to this problem is to get your pets spayed or neutered. By preventing your cat from breeding and having kittens you will help to reduce the cat population. If you allow your cat to have kittens, even if you find homes for all of them, this means that there will be fewer homes available for existing kittens and cats. This means that fewer cats will be adopted from shelters and more cats and kittens may be put to death because there isn't room for all of them.

What is a Spay or Neuter Procedure?

Spaying or neutering prevents an animal from being able to reproduce. In females the procedure is called a spay or an ovariohysterectomy. This procedure involves surgically removing the uterus and ovaries. Neutering (for males), also called an orchiectomy, involves surgically removing the testicals. Both procedures are performed under general anesthesia so your pet won't feel any pain during the procedure.

It is recommended that most cats be spayed or neutered around the age of six months, however, you should check with your veterinarian as to what age she or he recommends for your cat, as there is some variability in the age that individual cats are able to reproduce. It is best to spay female cats before they have their first heat cycle. Generally speaking, cats can be spayed as early as 8 weeks of age, although most veterinarians recommend waiting until your cat is a little older before spaying them.

Most male cats go home the same day as their neuter procedure. Some veterinarians like to keep female cats overnight for observation after a spay procedure. Upon returning home, the cat's activity is usually restricted for a few days and you should keep the cat indoors until their incision heals.

Health Benefits For Spayed and Neutered Cats

Not only does spaying or neutering your pet help to reduce the cat population, but there are also health benefits for spayed and neutered pets. Spaying a female cat, especially before her first heat cycle, significantly reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Also, unspayed female cats have an increased risk of developing uterine infections, and once the uterus is gone this is no longer a concern. Health benefits for males include prevention of testicular cancer and also fewer injuries from fighting.

Behavioral Benefits For Spayed and Neutered Cats

Neutered cats are less likely to fight, less likely to roam, and much less likely to engage in uring marking, commonly known as spraying. Unspayed cats can go into heat every two weeks during breeding season, and so spaying your female cat will prevent your cat from experiencing heat cycles and the yowling and rolling around on the floor associated with them. Overall, spaying or neutering your cat results in a happier, healthier pet.

If You Can't Afford to Get Your Pet Spayed or Neutered

Many humane organizations and veterinarians participate in low-cost spay/neuter programs. Please contact your local veterinarian or animal shelter to find out about these programs.

A cat a couple of days after her spay surgery. She seems to be feeling fine.

Spayed Cat