Feline Spay/Neuter Information

What should I expect if I don’t have my cat spayed or neutered?

· Roaming, fighting, and mating. Sexually intact cats have a very strong drive to contact other cats for mating or fighting. Roaming outside increases your cat’s risk of injury and infection. Bite and sexually transmitted diseases, such as Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, are common. Females will often be bred by multiple males during each heat cycle, dramatically increasing the chances of disease and injury. Fighting often leads to wounds and abscesses.

· Urine marking and spraying both outdoors and inside by both sexes.

· Sexual frustration may lead to behavior problems directed at the owner.

· Male cats will develop extremely strong smelling urine and “stud tail”, a greasy, sticky area on the tail base.

· Female cats in heat will act very oddly, howl, roll, and attempt to escape. They will cycle in and out of heat every few weeks for months. Most owners find their cat’s behavior during heat to be intolerable.

· Female cats will probably become pregnant at 5 or 6 months of age. This situation is similar to a person becoming pregnant as a young teenager; physically possible but unfortunate for health and emotional reasons.

· Female cats with access to intact males will become repeatedly pregnant, potentially even before they have weaned the last litter of kittens.

· Female cats are at risk for uterine and mammary gland disease, including infection, injury, and cancer.

· Generally obnoxious behavior puts these cats at risk for intentional injury from irritated neighbors.

· Overpopulation is a very serious problem. Hundreds of healthy kittens are killed every month in Orange County due to uncontrolled breeding.

When should I have my cat spayed or neutered? The surgery should be done between 4 and 5 months of age.  

I’m afraid of complications during the surgery. We use very safe anesthetic agents, monitoring, and surgical procedures. We perform presurgical blood work in all cats. We provide intravenous fluids during surgery to support blood pressure and kidney function. The risks for your cat not being spayed or neutered are much higher than the risks of surgery.

It’s too expensive. Because of the importance of spaying and neutering, both for your cat’s health and the overpopulation problem, veterinarians perform the surgery for a reduced fee, often for less than the procedure costs. There are spay and neuter clinics that are supported by public and private donations that are very inexpensive. However, many of these clinics simply cannot afford to provide the same quality of care and service for your cat, as can the full-service hospitals.

I have a great cat and want a kitten just like her or him. Besides, my friends all want kittens. Unfortunately, many kittens do not resemble the mother or father in either appearance or temperament. Also remember there are already more kittens than homes available. Even if you do manage to find good homes for your kittens, that simply means that some other kittens, that may have found homes, may need to be killed.

I have a purebred cat and want to sell the kittens to make money. Producing good quality, healthy kittens is seldom profitable. You must account for the pre-breeding examinations, possible pregnancy radiography or ultrasound, post-pregnancy examination, possibly a “clean out” injection, deworming medication for the mother and kittens, examinations and vaccinations for the kittens, and increased feeding and housing costs. Complications are often quite costly and may include difficulty delivering the kittens (potentially necessitating cesarean section), mastitis, retained placentas, hand-raising the kittens, and illness or death of the kittens or mother.

I want my children to experience “the miracle of birth”. The process of birthing is sometimes unpleasant, especially when complications occur. Complications may include dead or deformed kittens, difficult delivery, rejection or maternal killing of the kittens, and even death of the mother. Many cats will wait until things are quiet until they deliver the kittens, so your children may miss the birthing process anyway. Children can benefit from observing the compassion and social responsibility you will demonstrate by having your cat spayed, instead of breeding her.

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