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Spay and Neuter

| November 5, 2013

World Animal Day is celebrated on the 4th of October and is intended as a day of celebration throughout the world for everyone who cares about animals.

Are you a responsible cat owner?

There is more to being just your average cat owner who feeds and cares for a cat. You owe it to your cat and the world to be a responsible owner by neutering or spaying your cat.

World Animal Day is celebrated on the 4th of October and is intended as a day of celebration throughout the world for everyone who cares about animals. It is also a time for us humans to act as responsible pet owners and spay or neuter our beloved pets as every year thousands of kittens are born but with not enough homes, many of these kittens are left to fend for themselves. Many die of hunger, thirst or diseases; some get injured or if they are lucky enough to reach adulthood, they become stray cats. Without a home, without someone to love and care for them, they roam the streets looking for food and shelter. This definitely is no way for any living being to lead a life – and all can be prevented if responsible cat owners spay or neuter their cats early in life.

The female cycle     

Kittens reach sexual maturity between 5 to 8 months and are capable of breeding and producing kittens themselves. In domestic cats, heat cycles normally run from January through August, depending on the location and climatic conditions. Until she mates or is spayed, these cycles will repeat themselves as often as every two or three weeks.

Too many kittens

The average female cat has two to three litters of one to eight kittens per litter each year. The average survival rate is about 2.8 kittens per litter. If her offspring are not spayed or neutered, the result is 12 cats the first year, 66 cats in the second year, 2,201 cats the third year, 3,822 cats produced during the fourth year and so on. At the end of ten years, the total would be 80,399,780 cats.

During her productive life, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. In 1952, a Texas Tabby named Dusty set the record by having more than 420 kittens before having her last litter at age 18! A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just seven years.

Advantages of Spaying/neutering

Neutering and spaying not only prevents unwanted pregnancies, but also curbs unwanted behavioural patterns such as fighting and urine spraying in males and yowling/hyperactivity in females and reduces the risk of certain diseases.

Spayed and neutered cats don’t roam the neighbourhood as much, protecting them from the dangers of vehicles and aggressive dogs. Their tendency to stay closer to home also provides protection against deadly diseases such as FeLV and FIV. Finally, “fixed” pets tend to be more loving, because they are not subject to the erratic effects of hormones.
One of the biggest benefits of spaying/neutering is that it dramatically reduces the cat’s risk of developing cancers of the reproductive system. A female cat spayed before her first cycle, or heat, has a greatly reduced chance of mammary cancer.

Spay – The procedure

Spay is the term used for the surgical removal of a female animal’s uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Surgery takes place in a sterile environment, such as an operating room.

First, your cat will receive general anesthesia, then the fur at the site of the incision are shaved before a small incision is made in the cats’ abdomen or flank. The ovaries and uterus are removed; blood vessels are clamped and tied to prevent bleeding. The veterinarian then closes the incision with sutures.

After the operation she will recover from anesthesia in about an hour and the veterinarian will monitor her for unusual reactions or bleeding. In most cases, she will be able to go home that same evening. Most cats recover rapidly and will even eat the same day as surgery. The skin sutures are generally removed after seven to ten days.

Neuter – The procedure 

When a male’s testicles are removed, it is called neutering. Castration involves removing both testes under general anaesthetic through small incisions into the scrotum. The kitten can usually go home the same day. Usually the skin incisions for a castration are so small that sutures are not required.
In both procedures withholding food from the previous evening will be required to minimise potential anaesthetic complications.

Post operative care

After the operation they may be a little drowsy for a few hours (as they do not take too well to anaesthesia), but by the next day they are usually very lively again.

Try to keep your kitten fairly quiet for a day or two to allow the internal wounds some time to heal. Keep windows and doors closed, so that they have time to recover from the anaesthesia and operation and not wander around outside. My cats seemed more at ease in a quiet room with a closed door, where no one could bother them. I left a small bowl of food, water and a litter tray with them in the room as well as a blanket on the bed (with a warm water bottle tucked underneath) where they could rest comfortably. Every hour I went to monitor if all was well.

When to call the doctor

  • If your cat seems unusually quiet or dull.
  • Abnormal swelling of the incision area; some swelling is normal.
  • Bloody or thick discharge
  • Foul odours or extreme discoloration from the incision area
  • If your cat opens the incision or if your cat does not seem to be recovering.

If your cat starts to lick or scratch excessively at the skin sutures, contact your vet to get an Elizabethan collar to prevent any damage being done to the wound.


Once a cat has been neutered, there is a stronger tendency for her to become obese. You may therefore need to adjust the amount of food you provide should your cat start to put on too much weight.

Copyright & Credit:
 Yolanda Wessels
Photo copyright and courtesy:
Susan Young


Category: Feline Articles, Feline Health, Feline Health and Care, Feline Resources

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