Should I have my cat spayed?
Spaying your cat not only stops her from having unwanted kittens, it also can have health benefits for your cat herself. Spaying stops her from developing cancer of the ovaries or uterus. It also stops her from coming into ‘heat’ frequently which may be frustrating for her, and difficult for you to manage.
According to animal charity Cats Protection, around 85% of litters of kittens are unplanned. Many cat owners are caught out because they did not realise their cats could get pregnant at less than six months of age - while still kittens themselves.
Although kittens have traditionally been neutered at six months of age, veterinary guidance has changed to reflect the latest evidence and neutering at four months is now usually recommended – your vet will give the best advice for your cat. It’s still safe to have the operation if your cat is older than 4 months. One reason for this timing is that kittens can get pregnant from four months of age. If the litter is still together, then brothers and sisters will produce kittens if they are unneutered.
The belief that female cats should be allowed to have a litter of kittens before they are spayed is in fact a myth: vets advise this isn’t true.
It’s not just a ‘girl thing’…..neuter your male cat too
Vets advise that male cats should be neutered too, to help protect them from catching diseases, such as FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus).
Howling and sparring cats are a common night time wake up call for us! A male cat which hasn’t been neutered is much more likely to fight – and cats are prone to injury and even infection following a fight – injuries caused as a result of fighting are a very common reason for a vet appointment. Cats naturally have a lot of bacteria in their mouths. When one cat bites or scratches another they can introduce bacteria deep into the wound. Normally the puncture wound is quite small but often quite deep and the surface will seal within a few hours, trapping the bacteria under the skin – you may not even be aware of the wound, so it’s important to give your cat a check for injuries while you groom them, or as you stroke them on your lap. There may be no sign of infection for a number of days (when you may even forgotten your cat has been fighting!) but gradually swelling and pain at the puncture site will occur, and your vet will be left with a difficult infection to treat.
Neutering can also help to stop male cats from spraying indoors or in your garden (to mark their territory) which can be really smelly. A neutered male cat is also less likely to stray.