De-sexing or neutering your cat is a surgical procedure that prevents them from being able to reproduce. In male cats it is commonly referred to as “castration”, and in female cats as “spaying”. This is the most frequent surgery performed by our vets, and generally your cat is home by the evening of surgery.
The most common age to de-sex your cat is between 5 and 6 months, however they can be done at a younger age if necessary.
There are many benefits to de-sexing your cat by 6 months. They include:
- Preventing unwanted litters, which can be very costly, and may add to the already overwhelming number of stray kittens that are put down each year
- Prevention of testicular cancer and prostate disease in males, and it can help prevent pyometra (infection of the uterus) and mammary tumours (breast cancer) in females
- Stopping the “heat” cycle in females
- Being less prone to wander and spray, especially in males
- Reduction of council registration fees
Common questions about de-sexing
“Will de-sexing affect my pet’s personality?”
Your pet will retain their pre-operation personality, possibly with the added bonus of being calmer and less aggressive.
“Should my female have one litter first?”
No – it is actually better for her not to have any litters before being spayed.Her risk of developing breast cancer increases if she is allowed to go through her first heat.
“Will it cause my pet to become fat?”
Your pet’s metabolism may be slowed due to hormonal changes after de-sexing,however this is easily managed with adjusting feeding and ensuring adequate exercise. There is no reason a de-sexed pet cannot be maintained at a normal weight.
“Is de-sexing painful?”
As with all surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but most pets will recover very quickly. We administer pain relief prior to surgery and after surgery too. In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!
What to do before and after surgery
- Make a booking for your cats operation.
- Do not give your cat food after 8pm the night before the operation, however they can keep their water overnight to be taken away in the morning.
- A blood test may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function.
- The vet will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an anaesthetic.
- All cats will require intravenous fluid support during surgery. This will be discussed with you prior to the procedure.
- Keep your cat restrained and quiet as the effects of anaesthetic can take some time to wear off completely.
- Keeping them quiet is also essential to allow the wound to heal.
- Food and water should be limited to small portions only on the night after surgery.
- Follow any dietary instructions that the vet has provided.
- Ensure all post-surgical medications (if any) are administered as per the label instructions.
- Ensure your cats rest area is clean to avoid infection.
- Check the incision at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption (eg. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if these symptoms appear. Do not wait to see if they will spontaneously resolve.
- Prevent your cat from licking or chewing the wound. Special cone-shaped collars assist with preventing this problem.
If you have any concerns before or after your cat has been desexed, please call us immediately to discuss.