Some of you may still be wondering whether it is a good idea to neuter your cat. This is a topic that can be discussed at length with your veterinary nurse or veterinary surgeon, but here are a few things to think about.
The advantages of neutering:
To prevent unwanted pregnancies
This is probably the main reason for spaying your female cat, but may not be the first reason you think of when considering neutering your male cat. However, any accidental mating is the result of two un-neutered pets, and is therefore as much the responsibility of the tomcat owner as that of the queen-cat owner. You are probably aware how many unwanted cats there are in this country (you may even have rescued the cat you currently own), and we would ask you not to contribute to this ever-growing problem.
To prevent seasons (females)
Those of you who have ever experienced a cat in season will know how disruptive this can be. A female in season will howl to attract callers (day and night!), will desperately try to escape from the home to find a mate, and if let out will instantly submit to the first tom-cat she sees - becoming pregnant is never a problem in the cat world! If your cat does not find a mate when in season she will continue to ‘call’ for between six and nine months.
To prevent straying
This is probably the main reason for wanting to neuter your male cat. The tomcat can detect a queen in season over some distance, and this may encourage your cat to enlarge his territory further than he would normally consider safe. A female cat in season will be determined to mate. This may mean that a cat who has never before had the inclination to go very far, will suddenly be prepared to extend her territory to find a mate.
They may attempt to cross main roads, putting themselves at risk, and should you attempt to shut him/her indoors, he/she is likely to claw at doors and furniture until you give in. The un-neutered tomcat is also more likely to stay outside for longer periods of time, possibly even days, in search of a mate, and guarding his territory.
To lower the risk of mammary tumours (females)
Early spaying can inhibit the development of mammary tumours. These tumours can be malignant, so prevention is surely better than attempted cure at a later date.
To prevent unwanted urinary spraying (males)
This is also a major factor for considering neutering. As you are probably aware, un-neutered toms have a tendency to mark their own territory by spraying pungent-smelling urine at important points throughout their territory; this usually includes the home. This can be prevented in most cases by early neutering.
To prevent territorial fights (males)
Tomcats are renowned for defending their own territory. Cat bites are very common and often lead to abscesses requiring attention under general anaesthesia, as well as exposing the cat to potential infection with FIV (Feline “AIDS”).
The disadvantages of neutering:
Anaesthetic and surgical risk
These risks are minimal. Surgical and anaesthetic techniques have advanced greatly in the last few years. Your cat will have a thorough pre-operative examination, by the veterinary surgeon, before the operation to ensure there are no unexpected difficulties.
Your cat’s pre-operative examination will usually be carried out on the day of the surgery. At this time, their heart and lung condition will be checked as well as their general physical well-being, a pre-operative blood test may also be offered to assess kidney and liver function, as these two organs are vital when a pet is under anaesthetic.
The consent form
As with human medicine, we will require a signed consent form before we commence surgery. You will be provided with this form a few days before your cat’s operation, and we recommend that you read it through very carefully, before signing.
On the day of the operation, once your pet has been admitted to the surgery, he/she will be provided with their own kennel, and will be given pre-medication to calm them before the anaesthetic.
Your cat’s surgery will be perfomed in one of our theatres, where he/she will constantly be monitored by one of our trained nurses. If you would like to view our facilities, please let us know. Although this may not be possible on the day of your cat’s operation, we would be happy to arrange a time for you to visit us prior to your cat’s surgery.