Spaying Your Female Cat
Most pet owners elect to spay their female cats. However, many people don’t know all the reasons why spaying is beneficial for their kitty. In addition, some owners don’t have a good feel for the actual surgical procedure that will be performed on their cat when she is spayed. There also is some confusion over the meaning of the terms “castration,” “spaying” and “neutering.” Technically, “neutering” is defined as the de-sexing of a male or female animal, although it is usually used to describe the de-sexing of male animals. “Castration” refers to the removal or destruction of the gonads and is most commonly used to describe removal of a male’s testicles, which is medically called an “orchiectomy.” “Spaying,” also called an ovariohysterectomy, is the surgical removal of the female uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Spaying a cat involves making an incision through the abdominal body wall and basically cutting out the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, and tying off the major blood vessels that support those structures. Removing only the ovaries, called an ovarioectomy, is becoming an increasingly popular option for sterilizing female cats. That procedure is still much more common in Europe than it is in the United States. A tubal ligation can also be performed on cats, but it will not prevent them from coming into heat or attracting aggressive tom cats to the neighborhood. All of these surgical sterilization procedures are done under general anesthesia.
Why You Should Have your Cat Spayed
Owners spay their female companion cats for a number of reasons. Spaying prevents the female from coming into heat and eliminates the problems of pregnancy, cat over-population, breast tumors, irregular heat cycles, uterine infection, false pregnancies and cystic ovaries. The surgical procedure does not change the queen’s basic personality or temperament, other than maybe making her less irritable and less unpredictable. Spaying a female cat makes her an easier pet to live with, and a happier one. She loses her instincts to mark and roam and instead can devote herself to her human family members. She will be more relaxed and stable once she is free from her raging hormones. Spaying does not affect a cat’s hunting instincts or playfulness, nor does it necessarily make a cat lazy and fat.
When to Have Your Cat Spayed
Spaying a queen before her first heat cycle reduces her risk of developing breast cancer by approximately 90 percent. It also eliminates her chance of developing uterine cancer or infection of the uterus, which is known as pyometra. Many veterinarians recommend spaying female cats between 5 and 7 months of age. The operation is easier and safer before a cat goes through her first heat cycle, with less risk of surgical or other complications. Kittens can be spayed as young as 7 or 8 weeks of age. Spaying very young kittens is becoming increasingly common, especially at humane societies and animal shelters, which are trying to combat widespread pet over-population.