If you have adopted a new kitten or adult cat, you may be wondering if you should get your new fur baby fixed. Our Edgewater vets explain why having your cat spayed or neutered is beneficial for your cat and your community.
Should you get your cat fixed?
Homeless cats and kittens crowd animal shelters across Memphis. According to one ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) estimate, approximately 3.2 million cats enter US animal shelters each year.
Not only will getting your new kitten fixed help to significantly reduce the number of homeless cats in your area, but it can also reduce your cat's risk of disease, and help to curb many undesirable cat behaviors.
When should you get your cat fixed?
Spaying and neutering kittens before they reach sexual maturity, at four months, provides the best protection against a variety of health risks. Adult cats, on the other hand, can be spayed or neutered. If you're unsure about when to have your cat fixed, simply ask your veterinarian; they can advise you on when to have your cat spayed or neutered.
How are spaying and neutering different?
When we talk about getting a cat 'fixed' what does that actually mean?
When we fix female cats it's called spaying. Spaying means that the vet surgically removes the cat's uterus and ovaries, or sometimes just the ovaries so that your cat is unable to have kittens.
Male cats are neutered or castrated when we get them fixed. This means that the vet surgically removes the cat's testes so that your cat is no longer able to father kittens.
Benefits of Spaying Your Female Cat
These are the benefits of spaying your female cat.
Controlling the number of unwanted cats in your area
Your adorable new kitten may be able to have her own kittens before she is six months old. Not only that, but female cats can have up to four litters per year, with each litter containing up to ten kittens! That means your cat could have up to 40 kittens each year! That is a large number of unwanted cats.
Reduce your cat's risk of disease
Having your kitten spayed before she has her first heat cycle can reduce your cat's risk of developing breast cancer later in life, and eliminate the possibility of your cat developing pyometra (a potentially fatal infection of the womb).
Protect wildlife in your neighborhood
In the USA it is estimated that cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds annually. By reducing the population of homeless cats, you are also helping to protect birds and other small animals.
Deter unwanted behaviors
Spaying your female cat can help to keep male cats out of your backyard. When female cats are unspayed, they attract the attention of neighborhood male cats. Unneutered male cats hanging around your house and garden can be problematic since these males have a tendency to spray, fight and howl.
Benefits of Neutering Your Male Cat
These are the benefits of neutering your male cat.
Reduced numbers of unwanted kittens
One unneutered male cat can make many female cats pregnant. Having your male cat neutered can play a significant role in helping to reduce the number of homeless cats in your neighborhood.
Reduced risk of many common health issues
Neutering your cat may result in fewer injuries from cat fights and a lower risk of your cat contracting FIV (immunodeficiency virus) or FeLV (Feline leukemia virus). Neutering can also reduce your male cat's proclivity to roam, lowering his chances of being hit by a car.
Helps to reduce the incidence of spraying
Typically, unneutered male cats will spray urine inside the home more often than neutered males, and often try to get outside more. Having your male kitten neutered while he's young can help to prevent spraying and other territorial and mating behaviors from starting.