Cats are capable of reproducing at a rapid rate, particularly during the summer months. Desexing can prevent the production of many kittens that may not find a home and it is an important part of keeping your cat healthy.
Most cats are desexed at around 6 months of age, before they develop any unwelcome behaviour such as spraying urine or wandering. The procedure to desex a male cat is extremely straightforward, with the testicles removed through two tiny incisions in their scrotum that don’t need suturing. Female cats have both ovaries and uterus removed through a small incision either on their abdomen or on their flank.
WHY YOU SHOULD DESEX YOUR CAT
Tom cats are territorial, and their territory doesn’t stop at their fence line. They wander the neighbourhood in search of a girlfriend and in the process get into fights with other cats intent on defending their own turf. The result is bite wounds and painful abscesses and the chance of being infected with feline immunodeficiency virus, or feline aids. They may also be hit by a car, or get into a tussle with a dog; in both cases they are not likely to come out on top.
Spaying can protect your female cat from breast cancer and unexpected pregnancies. You can expect your feline friend to reach puberty anytime from 5 months of age. She’ll be on heat for about a week and if she doesn’t become pregnant, she’ll be back on heat again in 2-3 weeks. While she is on heat, she will yowl and roll and be extra affectionate, and you’ll have stray tom cats fighting for her affections in your garden. If your cat is mated and falls pregnant, she can be on heat again as soon as a week after giving birth, and may become pregnant again. You can see that before long, you could have your hands full with more kittens than you know what to do with.
PRE AND POST-OPERATIVE CARE
Your cat can have dinner as usual the night before his desexing, but he shouldn’t have anything to eat or drink on the morning of his surgery. This avoids him inhaling food or water should he vomit at any time.
After his surgery, he will wake up in a comfortable hospital cage and when he is back on his feet, he’ll be able to go home with you.
When he arrives home, you can offer him a small meal but don’t worry if he isn’t interested. He may be feeling a little nauseous after his anaesthetic. You can expect him to be more interested in food after he’s had a good night’s sleep.
Male cats recover from desexing surgery very quickly and are back to normal within a day or two. Females have had a more invasive procedure and need to be kept quiet for 10 days to allow their incision to heal. This isn’t easy at all, as they feel just fine and want to run around and play. If they are too active, their surgical site can swell and become painful. Skin sutures can be removed by your vet after 10 days.
During the post-operative period, your vet will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your cat’s recovery. If you have any concerns, they are just a phone call away and will be able to set your mind at ease.
Pet cats, both male and female, should be desexed not just to prevent unwanted litters and to avoid illness or injury, but to avoid the less pleasant behaviours associated with their reproductive cycle.