What is cat neutering?

Cat neutering is a general term that can refer to either spaying or neutering, which involves removing the reproductive essentials of your pet so that they cannot reproduce. For a male cat, that will involve removing the testicles and for a female cat, that involves removing the ovaries and the uterus.

Dr Katherine Vissio
Briar Patch Veterinary Hospital

How does spaying or neutering impact the health and well-being of my cat?

The goals of spaying or neutering are to improve health and minimize complications from maintaining those organs if they're not being used. We usually wait until pets are at least six months old so that they do have those hormones that help drive growth, bone development, and organ development. After they reach sexual maturity, we talk about removing them to prevent the development of cancers like ovarian cancer, mammary cancer, and infections like pyometra. In males, neutering prevents behaviors like spraying around the house, urinary issues, and aggression.

How soon should I bring my cat in to see a veterinarian to get them spayed or neutered?

We recommend an established exam as soon as you get your pet to catch things early on. We start vaccines when they're a young kitten and this gives us plenty of time to discuss any questions or concerns you have about spaying and neutering. For certain breeds of cats, we may recommend a later time for spaying or neutering due to breed-specific disease processes.

How will spaying or neutering affect my cat's behavior?

Overall, spaying and neutering shouldn't affect their behavior too much. For females, behaviors related to heat, like nesting, being clingy or standoffish, will go away. For males, behaviors like spraying, aggression, and trying to leave the house to find females, which are driven by hormones, may improve with neutering.

How should I care for my cat before and after spaying or neutering?

Around the time of the surgery, keep them inside for a few days before and two weeks after the procedure. Keep the incision clean and dry and use a cone to prevent them from licking the incision. They usually stay at our clinic on the day of the surgery and go home later that day after recovering from anesthesia and ensuring their pain is well controlled. Offer them small meals and by the next morning, they should be back to their normal selves. It's important to communicate with us if you think their pain is not well controlled or if they are anxious with the cone on. The incision usually heals within 10-14 days and we get you in to recheck the incision and ensure that your pet has healed.

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