Should You Get Your Cat Neutered or Spayed?


If you own a cat or are considering owning a cat, the decision to have it spayed or neutered can be costly.  Please check with your local SPCA as they often help with a special spaying and neutering program for families with low incomes.

You may wonder if the benefits are worth the cost. You may even have questions involving the procedure and how it will affect your cat. But what exactly is spaying and neutering?

Spaying is the process of removing the reproductive organs (like the ovaries and uterus) from a female cat. Neutering, which applies to the male cat, is the process of removing the reproductive glands, or the testes.

Understanding The Spaying Process in Female Cats

The procedure for spaying a cat is considered a major surgery. The cat is first anesthetized with a general anesthetic. The fur is then shaved on its abdomen and scrubbed with an antiseptic soap. Afterwards, the veterinarian cuts a small incision in the lower abdomen, then the muscle wall, and finally through the peritoneum lining so that the contents of the abdomen are exposed.

Once the abdomen is open, the doctor utilizes sterile tools to remove the reproductive organs. Before closing up the incision site, the doctor inspects the area for any unnecessary bleeding and then begins closing up the area in layers, this time starting with the peritoneum lining and working upwards.

The cat’s abdomen is then stitched up. Healing may take anywhere from 8-12 days.

Depending on the type of sutures your vet applied, they may need to be taken out after this period, or they may simply dissolve.

Understanding The Neutering Process in Male Cats

Neutering a male cat is a less intrusive surgery, and therefore males tend to bounce back quicker than their female counterparts.

Again, the cat is first anesthetized. The fur between the cat’s anus and scrotum is then clipped and scrubbed with an antiseptic soap, and sprayed with an antiseptic spray that leaves the area orange in color. A small incision is made in the scrotal skin, exposing the testicle. The spermatic cord is pulled out into view as well, so the vet is able to see the blood vessels, thus, helping to prevent bleeding.

A small suture is tied around the spermatic cord, and the testicle is removed. The spermatic cord is placed back in the scrotum, and the scrotal skin automatically closes in on itself, therefore no surgical sutures are needed. The area is again scrubbed with antiseptic and a few hours later the cat is free to go home.

Caring for Your Cat After Their Operation

Caring for your cat after it has been spayed or neutered is not difficult, but it does require some effort. At first it may seem a little groggy from the vet visit. That is perfectly normal.

Keep the cat calm and quiet, especially for the first few days. If you have other pets, you may want to separate them for a while. Start by giving your cat just a little bit of water. If it is able to keep that down, you may proceed with food, but not too much.

Don’t worry if your cat does not eat right away. It may still be a little traumatized and unsettled. When your cat is hungry, it will eat. It may seem difficult, but try and keep your cat from playing and jumping around.

Also, prevent your cat from licking the incision site. Check the area daily to make sure that it is healing properly and there is no sign of infection. Avoid bathing your cat for the next 2 weeks. Most importantly, give your cat a lot of love and attention.

Cats can be fixed anywhere from the age of 8 weeks old and up. There are more risks involved the older your pet is, so it is best to speak with your veterinarian in order to get all the facts. It is advisable though, to have your cat spayed or neutered before 5 months of age before sexual behavior starts.

Why You Should Still Spay or Neuter Your Cat The costs associated with spaying and neutering a cat vary by veterinarian. The price range for spaying a cat can be anywhere around $100-500 whereas, neutering a cat tends to be around $70-$150.

Keep in mind, these prices are only for the spaying and neutering process. Your vet may require your cat to have a check-up and be up to date on its shots before fixing. Plus, they may ask to run blood work in order to check liver and kidney functions at an additional cost. Also take into consideration, if your female is in heat or pregnant, spaying costs more.

Another option to consider is a low cost spay/neuter clinic. Most of the time they are considerably cheaper. It is best to do some research to find your best options.

There are many benefits to spaying or neutering your cat. The most obvious reason would be its inability to reproduce. However if you are looking to breed your cat, this could also be a negative. Most cat owners, though, want the companionship; therefore, fixing your cat is a responsible choice.

The benefits of spaying your female cat mean that there will be no heat cycles. A heat cycle is when a female cat is ready to be mated. During this time, the cat incessantly cries and paces around the home. We recently adopted a female cat that was almost two years old and the reason she had been from home to home was her incessant howling during heat cycles. We quickly had her spayed and she is the most adorable cat we have ever had the pleasure of owning. It’s cruel for her to have gone through the upset every month for two years.

Female cats in heat may even try to escape out your front door, even if she is an indoor cat. Male cats may come around your home to mate with her. Spaying your cat also decreases the chances of mammary gland tumors, and reduces the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers. If you fix your cat before its first heat cycle, that risk is completely eliminated. Studies have also shown that if you get your cat fixed it lives a happier, healthier life.

Neutering your male cat also has many benefits. It reduces the yearning the male cat has to spray or mark its territory. If done early enough, it eliminates it altogether. Also the cat has less desire to wander about, reducing its risk of getting outside and getting into fights with other cats, or getting hit by an automobile. There is also less risk for your cat to get prostate or testicular cancer. Your male cat will be less aggressive and more loving.