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The Choice to Spay and Neuter Your Cat


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Veterinarians typically recommend that any cat that is not going to be part of a breeding program be spayed or neutered. For most cats, the pros of surgical sterilization outweigh the cons, but that is not to say that there are no negative aspects to consider. Pet owners that educate themselves about these procedures are in the best position to make the correct decision for their individual pet.

"Reducing the number of litters produced is the best way to deal with the problem of pet overpopulation."


Pet Overpopulation

The most common argument that you will hear in support of spaying and neutering is pet overpopulation.

This is no small problem. Millions of homeless dogs and cats are euthanized every year in animal shelters throughout North America. Reducing the number of litters produced is the best way to deal with this problem. Unneutered male cats and females in heat will do anything in their power to gain access to each other. You may think that you will be able to prevent an unwanted litter if you do not spay or neuter, but indoor cats have jumped through screened windows, slipped out of doors and jumped out of their owners' arms for the opportunity to meet a potential mate.

Making the Decision on a Case by Case Basis

Dealing with pet overpopulation is vital, but most owners want to do what is best for their individual cat. Here are some pros and cons of both spaying and neutering that owners should be aware of.

Spaying

Pros Cons
  • Eliminates heat cycles and the crying and other unwanted behaviors associated with them
  • Increased tendency towards weight gain
  • Eliminates the risk of potentially fatal uterine infections (pyometra)
  • The possibility of surgical complications
  • Virtually eliminates the risk of breast cancer if surgery is performed before heat cycles begin

  • Eliminates risks associated with the birthing process

  • Reduced chances of roaming and associated accidents

  • In many locations, reduced pet license fees

  • Reduced sexual "frustration"

Neutering

Pros Cons
  • Reduced spraying, vocalizations, fighting and other unwanted behavior
  • Increased tendency towards weight gain
  • Eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of some other types of disease
  • The possibility of surgical complications
  • In many locations, reduced pet license fees
  • Increased possibility for urinary blockages
  • Reduced sexual "frustration"
  • Altered appearance to scrotum, although implants are available


So, like any medical decision, there are both pros and cons to spaying and neutering. But owners who understand the potential downsides are in a better position to deal with them.


The above is provided for information purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition. This information does not cover all possible variables, conditions, reactions, or risks relating to any topic, medication, or product and should not be considered complete. Certain products or medications may have risks and you should always consult your local veterinarian concerning the treatment of your pet. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners.