Why you should desex your cat before he/she breeds:
Cats who are desexed are much healthier and live longer than cats who are allowed to breed.
Desexing your female cat prevents mammary cancer, pyometra (an infection of the uterus which can be fatal), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), injury during mating and searching for mates, depressed immune system and poor physical health from having multiple litters, and tumours of the uterus and ovaries.
Desexing your male cat prevents injury while wandering in search for mates and fighting with other cats (infected wounds and abscesses are common), malignant tumours of the testicles, prostate cancer and other prostate issues, and the contraction of FIV and other diseases while fighting with other undesexed male cats.
A desexed cat is a happy and healthy cat! And he/she won’t be contributing to cat overpopulation – there are simply too many kittens born and not enough homes, meaning thousands of healthy kittens and cats are killed in shelters for lack of homes.
Even if you find loving homes for your cat’s kittens, the simple fact is that the more kittens born, the more that will needlessly die in shelters. The families who adopted your cat’s kittens could have saved the lives of shelter kittens instead!
Your children will learn a much more important life lesson by visiting a shelter or fostering a rescued cat or kittens and learning about all the unwanted cats needing help. You could even foster a rescued pregnant cat.
What age should a cat be desexed?
For maximum health and social benefits, all kittens should be desexed before they reach sexual maturity (3-4 months).
Kittens can be desexed from the age of eight weeks or 800g in weight and we recommend that all cats be desexed by the age of three to four months. Early-age desexing prevents the development of antisocial behaviours associated with sexual maturity – such as spraying urine and wandering – as well as absolutely guaranteeing no unwanted kittens. Many people have been surprised to discover their five-month old ‘kitten’ is pregnant with her own kittens. If your vet is inexperienced in early-age desexing, or does not have the necessary equipment (small kittens require different anaesthetic tools), Cat Rescue Christchurch can refer you to a vet that practices early-age desexing.
There is absolutely no truth to the old myth that female cats should be allowed to have one litter of kittens before being desexed. Every year in NZ thousands of unwanted cats and kittens are euthanised. Don’t contribute to this tragic statistic.
Why should I desex my male cat?
Female cats need male cats to have kittens, so there is no question that both males and females should be desexed. Male cats can impregnant many female cats in one evening and produce a large number of kittens!
Sexually mature ‘entire’ male cats are much more likely to exhibit unwanted behaviours such as spraying urine (including inside the house), wandering and getting into fights with other cats. They can also be more aggressive with people and are generally less affectionate than desexed males. Because of their behaviours, they are at higher risk of injury, being run over, developing cancers and infections, and contracting diseases such as FIV and Feline Leukaemia Virus.
By leaving your male cat undesexed, you are greatly reducing the life span of your cat. Desexing is the kindest thing you can do for your cat.
My cats only live indoors. Why should they be desexed?
There is still a risk of unwanted pregnancies; even indoor-only cats sometimes escape. There are other reasons to desex, too. You don’t want an undesexed male cat spraying around his territory – in your home. And an undesexed female ‘in season’ (or ‘on heat’) will call for a mate, loudly and often. She will attract the local undesexed males, who will mark their territory and fight.
What are the risks of desexing?
There are no known long-term risks associated with desexing. There are some risks associated with anaesthesia and the actual surgery, which your vet will explain to you. Generally, complications are minimal or very rare.
What is the procedure?
Female desexing (also called ‘spaying’) involves the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus (through a small incision on the side or on the belly) while the cat is under general anaesthetic. After surgery, the cat will need to rest for a few hours and should be kept indoors and fairly quiet for the next few days. You should keep an eye on the incision scar and contact your vet if the scar appears to be swollen, weeping or bleeding. You will also need to know if your cat will need to revisit the vet for the stitches to be removed, and make sure your cat does not pull at the stitches.
Male desexing (also called ‘neutering’) is also carried out under general anaesthetic and involves the removal of the testes through a small incision in the scrotum. There are no stitches. After surgery, the cat should be kept indoors and fairly quiet for a few days.
Most male and female cats and kittens recover very quickly from desexing but nonetheless you should observe them closely for a few days after surgery. Make sure there is plenty of fresh water to drink and offer them their favourite foods. If your cat appears listless and does not have their normal appetite back within 24 hours you should contact your vet.
The benefits of desexing kittens – preventing unwanted pregnancies; preventing antisocial behaviours; and reducing the risks of cancer and many diseases – far outweigh the risks. Please do not add to the population of unwanted cats and kittens.
If you haven’t desexed your cat, make an appointment with your vet today. There is no good reason not to desex your cat!