Spaying or Neutering Your Cats

Spaying or Neutering your Cat, What Should You Know?

Spaying and neutering is the surgical removal of cats’ reproductive organs. Spaying involves removing a female cat’s ovaries and uterus while neutering involves removing a male cat’s testicles. Spaying and Neutering are performed regularly at animal hospitals and welfare centers by licensed vets. 

Both spaying and neutering require that your cat be given general anesthesia. The process has many health, behavioral and societal benefits.

Why Should My Cat be Spayed or Neutered?

The procedure may seem cruel because it puts an end to your cat’s ability to reproduce but there are several reasons you will want to get your cat spayed or neutered. Every year millions of pets are abandoned at shelters or end up on the streets. Very few of these are adopted by families, which makes it difficult for shelters to care for all of them. The shelters have limited resources and are left with no option but to euthanize a large portion of these unadopted animals.

Spaying and neutering your cat ensures that they don’t have an unwanted litter. It also means that the more cats spayed or neutered, the less that will go unadopted because there will be less new kittens each year. Caring for a large litter can be difficult for people with jobs, and many people abandon the kittens at a shelter. Spaying and neutering your cats means that you won’t have to deal with this problem. 

What are the Benefits of Spaying or Neutering Your Cat?

Spaying and neutering has several benefits for both your cat and you as a pet owner.

Health Benefits

Spaying and neutering can help your cat live a longer and healthier life. Spaying prevents female cats from developing uterine infections and breast cancer (mammary tumors). These health issues tend to be fatal in cats. Spaying a cat before her first heat cycle provides the best prevention against developing these health conditions. Neutering a male cat prevents them from developing testicular cancer.

Behavioral Benefits

Aggressive behavior in unspayed and unneutered cats is a major issue for pet owners. Unspayed females tend to urinate and make very loud sounds during the breeding season to get a male cat’s attention. The cat may urinate all over your home which may require frequent cleaning. Spaying them ensures your cat won’t urinate in your house because of a desire to breed. Unneutered cats tend to be territorial and spray urine to mark their territory. Male cats who haven’t been neutered tend to pick fights with other male cats, especially if there is a female cat closeby. Neutering helps reduce their spraying and also makes them less aggressive. 

How Safe is it to Spay or Neuter Your Cat?

These procedures are regularly performed on cats and there aren’t any major side effects or behavioral changes to your cats. The entire purpose of the surgery is to improve their overall health, and prevent unwanted kittens.

There can be some simple post-surgical complications like pain, incisions opening, bleeding, swelling at the incisions. Pain medication and following your vet’s instructions can help you deal with any minor complications. 

Healthy and young cats have the lowest chances of having any complications. If your cat is suffering from any health issues, let your vet know about them when you take your cat in to be spayed or neutered.

Another common issue with cats after the surgery is them gaining weight. The weight gain is usually because of improper feeding and not enough exercise. Give them a well-balanced meal and exercise them every day to keep your cat in good shape.

Does Spaying or Neutering Your Cat Cause Pain?

As mentioned before, the surgeries are performed after giving general anesthesia to them. The general anesthesia ensures that your cats don’t feel any pain during the surgery. There might be post-surgical pain for a few days which can be mitigated with pain medication.

Female cats in their heat cycle or if they are pregnant may experience more pain and some amount of bleeding. To minimize the pain during the surgery, your vet should conduct a complete physical examination to assess the health of your cat. 

When is the Right Time to Spay or Neuter Your Cat?

Kittens can be spayed or neutered once they are eight weeks old. Most animal shelters and rescues get them spayed or neutered at this age to keep them from spraying urine or becoming pregnant. Pet owners should ideally get their cats spayed or neutered before they reach 5 months old. You can discuss with your vet when is the best time to get your cat spayed or neutered.  

How Long Does it Take to Spay or Neuter your Cat?

Spaying or neutering your cat is much faster than the time taken to perform the procedure on dogs. Males cats can be neutered in around 2 minutes while it takes 15 to 20 minutes to spay a female cat. The surgery can take longer in female cats who are in their heat cycle or pregnant.

Cats are given general anesthesia before the surgery, and it can take a few extra minutes for them to wake up. The vets generally give them a reversible anesthesia shot to wake them up. 

Your cat should be able to walk once you get them home. If there are any issues your vet will let you know if they need to be kept in observation. Most often it’s the female cats that are kept for observation overnight because they have larger incisions that can require more attention.

Post Op Comfort

As a pet owner there are several things that you can do to help your cat recover after their surgery.

  • Keep your cat away from other animals because they could get injured playing with them. Especially keep them away from other cats that might attack them because they’re not feeling 100%
  • Your cat should not be allowed to jump or run for a few days or as recommended by your vet. Jumping or running can open their incision which can cause swelling or bleeding.
  • Avoid bathing your cat for 10 days or as recommended by your vet.
  • Check the incision area to see if it is healing properly. Contact your vet if you see any signs of redness, inflammation or smell anything bad coming from the incision.
  • If your cat feels lethargic, doesn’t eat properly, is vomiting, has diarrhea or behaves abnormally, call your vet.

Follow any other care instructions that your vet gave you. This will help your cat recover faster, letting them be a cat again!

How Much Does it Cost to Spay or Neuter your Cat?

The cost of spaying or neutering your cat depends on several factors like the breed of your cat, age and size. In addition to these, some cats may need certain pre or post-surgical visits that can increase the cost of the procedures.

Typically it costs between $300 to $500 to spay a cat and around $200 to neuter a cat at a private vet hospital. The cost can be considerably less if you get the surgery done at a shelter or a non-profit organization. They generally charge around $50. The shelters and non-profits also provide good quality services so that is something you don’t have to worry about.

One important thing to know is the cost can also vary depending upon your location. You should ask your vet how much it will cost before surgery. If you can get the price in writing that is best, because some less reputable clinics have been known to charge much more after the surgery.

Does Pet Insurance Cover Spaying or Neutering Your Cat?

Most pet insurance plans do not cover spaying and neutering surgeries. While it is true that vets recommend getting these surgeries done as a preventive measure to keep your cats healthy, pet insurance companies view them as elective surgeries.

There are a few pet insurance companies that do offer pet insurance policies that cover the cost of spaying or neutering your cat. You can get more information on this by asking the pet insurance company before signing up. Remember to ask your pet insurance company if any conditions need to be fulfilled for you to claim reimbursement when getting your cat spayed or neutered.