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Cat Spaying and Neutering - Important Things To Remember About Spaying and Neutering Your Cat

What is cat neutering?

The term neuter can mean both to spay and neuter. It just means that we're removing the reproductive organs of the patient. In a male cat, that would be his testicles, and in a female cat, that would be her ovaries and uterus.

Dr. Meghan Denney
Four Paws at Fulshear Veterinary Clinic

What is spaying a cat?

Spaying a cat is the term for a female cat that's getting neutered. We go in and basically remove both ovaries and each uterine horn, and then we get them closed up, and then no babies.

How does spaying or neutering impact the health and wellbeing of your cat?

Spaying and neutering do a few different things. The first thing it will do is decrease their desire to roam, go outside, or wander. Many indoor-outdoor cats can disappear because they get themselves in trouble, and nine times out of 10, it's because they're trying to seek out a mate. When we remove those hormone influences, our cats are more likely to stay closer to home and not be at such a high risk for something happening to them. Another thing we can see after spaying and neutering is their metabolisms can slow down just a little bit. We do really need to make sure we cut back on their food. That way, they don't put on a lot of weight after their spay or neuter.

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

This is a broad question. It depends on where the cat or kitten is. Many shelters or rescues will spay or neuter the kittens very early. I've seen it done as early as eight weeks. Personally, I like to wait until they're about five or six months of age. That way, they have enough time to develop, they have a little more body mass, and they typically handle the anesthesia a little bit better, in my opinion.

What are the medical benefits of spaying and neutering cats?

Medical benefits are number one, not having an unwanted litter of kittens because when most people get a cat, they want that one cat and not to have the cats multiply, which is what happens when they have babies. The second reason why it's so important to get cats spayed is that if they're not spayed and they undergo a heat cycle, sometimes they can get infections in their uterus, and that can result in needing an emergency surgery called a pyometra surgery, where we have to go into the uterus, which fills with puss. It's life-threatening and has to be taken care of. So it's a huge reason to get them spayed. As far as neutering the male cats goes, it can help us avoid spraying and marking and decrease the risk of them roaming, as we've talked about a little bit earlier in the conversation, because they will seek out a mate up to a few miles away. Their senses of smell are a lot higher than ours, that's for sure. They can smell all kinds of things.

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

It's a really good question because sometimes it doesn't affect their behavior at all. Some cats are completely normal after surgery, but as we've discussed, it can reduce the roaming. Some cats will become a little more clingy. You can rarely see any adverse behavior changes. It's not impossible, but it can happen. I may have seen one cat that was a little more reclusive, so not as outgoing as it was before, but that's only one cat out of many. We typically don't see a ton of differing behaviors. It can help them not come into heat, and if you've ever been around a feline cat who's in heat, that's definitely not fun, and nobody in your house gets any sleep at that point in time because they are very vocal about their feline needs.

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

Caring before, if we're talking about coming into surgery, the biggest thing is for them to fast the night before. Going home, most veterinary practices, including myself, do a lot of post-op pain control because we forget that these are major abdominal surgeries when we're spaying and neutering these cats. Those are very sensitive areas. There are a lot of nerves, so there can be a lot of pain associated, and cats and dogs usually don't show their pain very well. But just like in humans who have been spayed or have had vasectomies, it is a painful procedure. Most veterinary clinics will send home pain medications for a few days post-op and give injections during and after the procedure. Usually, keeping them confined for about 10 to 14 days while their incisions are healing is recommended. Try to limit running and jumping, and ensure that they're eating and drinking okay and that there's no vomiting or acting lethargic.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (281) 801-1444, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media

Cat Spaying and Neutering - FAQs

Dr. Meghan Denney
Four Paws at Fulshear Veterinary Clinic

Why is spaying or neutering a cat so important?

It's really important to help decrease the amount of roaming that your pet may do. Their hormones drive them to roam and seek out a mate. This is often how cats can get hit by cars and attacked by dogs, coyotes, et cetera. When we spay and neuter them, that hormonal drive will decrease, so they're more likely to stay closer to your house. The other reason why it's so very important is that there are health risks associated with leaving them intact. In female cats, after they have a heat cycle, their uterus can get infected, and it can become a term called pyometra, which is a fancy word for saying that the uterus can fill with infection and pus and nastiness. Think of it like a giant abscess inside your belly. That's a pretty big emergency. It is life-threatening. It does have to be handled surgically in a very quick manner. It always seems to happen on the weekends, and people will end up at the emergency clinic having to spend quite a lot of dollars trying to make sure that cat survives versus having a routine spay done at your regular veterinary clinic where the conditions are controlled and obviously is a lot less expensive.

Shouldn't I let my cat have a litter before I spay her?

That's really a personal question. You can, but it's a big responsibility because then you're not only responsible for your cat, you're responsible for finding homes for these kittens, or you may have to keep all the kittens. Cats can have litters upwards of eight to 12, so you have to be prepared and do your research. It's not beneficial to them to have a litter. It's not going to change their outlook on life. You do have the risks associated with pregnancy and with childbirth because the kittens could get stuck, and the cat could end up needing a c-section. So there are a lot of things to consider. If you do want your cat to have kittens, you need to be prepared for it because it is an added responsibility and an added financial responsibility on top of that, especially if you have trouble keeping or finding homes for these new kittens.

My cat sprays all over the house. Will neutering help?

It definitely can. Spraying can be site marking. In male cats, if they're young enough and we catch them before they're about six months of age, if they are starting to spray, or if we neuter them before that starts to happen, the chances of them spraying will decrease. Sometimes when we take away that high-drive testosterone that makes a male want to mark his territory, the urge to spray can decrease. Is it a hundred percent guaranteed that if you neuter your cat, the spraying will go away? No. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in medicine. I wish there were. I would be a millionaire if there were, but it can help reduce the behavior, and the hope would be that it would stop completely. It definitely helps the smell because tomcat urine is the worst smell on the entire face of the planet.

Will spaying or neutering be painful for my cat?

It is surgery. They're under anesthesia when this happens, so do they feel pain during the surgery? No, of course not. They're asleep just like we would be asleep. Here at Four Paws, I take pain control seriously, and I do a lot more than a lot of regular veterinarians, which means our costs will be slightly higher, but I know my patients are much more comfortable. They get pre-op pain injections, intra-op pain injections, and local incisional blocks, and they get cold laser when they wake up, cold packing, and medications to go home for pain, inflammation, and straight pain. We do a really good job here making sure our patients recover, and we have fewer complications because you can't heal when you're in pain. As much as we don't like to have to medicate our animals, studies have shown both humans and animals will heal better if you have pain control post-op.

Will spaying or neutering make my cat less vocal?

If we're dealing with a cat who is in heat and gets spayed, the hormones will linger for a little while. I wouldn't expect the vocalizing to go away immediately, but it will decrease over a few weeks. We shouldn't see any more of the vocalization that's very well-known for feline cats in heat after those hormones subside. We don't see a lot of that vocalization in male cats unless that's just them. Some cats are more talkative than others, especially our Siamese friends. They're known for being talkative, and they like to chat. I have two Siamese cats of my own at home. They have lots of things to say on a daily basis. From morning to night, my cats will have a running conversation about what they have going on in their lives and how they feel about it.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (281) 801-1444, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media

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