Just as there are reasons to spay bunnies and dogs, there are also benefits of spaying your cat. Furthermore, there are more opportune times to have your cat spayed than others. But first, let’s discuss what spaying is.
Spaying is the common word for ovariohysterectomy. And it’s a surgical procedure removing the ovaries and uterus, thereby sterilizing the female cat. Therefore, she won’t be able to produce any offspring. So, unless you are a breeder, it’s recommended to spay your cat for the reasons below.
Also, I’m dividing this into two parts, medical and behavioral benefits. First, we’ll look at the medical benefits to spaying cats. And then go over the behavior advantages.
Medical Benefits of Spaying Your Cat
Spaying your cat
- removes the threat of ovarian and uterine cancers
- before her first heat cycle, greatly reduces her risk of getting breast cancer
Mammary tumors are the most common tumors in cats. And ~85% of them are malignant. Also, cats who are not spayed have a higher incidence of mammary cancer.
- decreases her risk for urinary tract infections
The risk of UTIs won’t completely go away if your cat is spayed. Although the threat of them is reduced.
- and it eliminates the chances of her getting a serious and fatal uterine infection called pyometra
Pyometra is a secondary infection of the cat’s uterus, occurring within weeks of her being in heat.
Behavioral Benefits to Spaying Your Cat
If you spay your cat
- she’ll no longer go into her heat cycle
No more yowling, meowing, or cat calling at all hours of the night. And no more of her trying to get her freak on with any of the other pets.
- and she’ll no longer spray urine, if she did that during her heat cycles
Other Benefits of Spaying Your Cat
- No extra mouths to feed or kittens to find homes for
Cats can mate and get pregnant quickly. And shelters are already overcrowded. Thus, by spaying your cat, you don’t have to worry about any of those issues.
Best Time to Spay Your Cat
As you can see, there are a lot of advantages to spaying your cat. But when is the best time to have it done? Most veterinarians agree that spaying your cat before their first heat cycle is the preferred time. And this is primarily to reduce any mammary cancer risks.
In a previous post I explained that cats can have their first heat cycle as young as 4 months old. Therefore, whether you have a cat that’s already had her first heat cycle, or you have a kitten, discuss spaying her with your veterinarian.
Weight Gain After Spaying
One reason pet parents cite for not wanting to spay their cats is the belief they will get fat. Well, those pet parents aren’t wrong. This co-relation has been studied: sterilized pets, including dogs, were 3 times as likely to be overweight than non-sterile pets.
The reason cats gain weight after being spayed is mainly due to hormonal imbalance. They lose certain hormones that not only control reproduction, but also affect metabolism and food intake. So they might roam less, have less physical activity, and eat more.
What You Can Do
After your cat is spayed,
- talk to your veterinarian about how much food you should feed her, because her caloric intake needs to be adjusted
- since she’ll feel hungrier, adjust her feeding schedule by giving her smaller, more frequent, meals throughout the day
- don’t give her any table scraps
- and play with your cat; wand toys, laser pens and fuzz balls are all great!
We have 2 cats that are spayed, and one that will be by October. Unfortunately none of our cats were spayed before their first heat cycle. But 2 were given to us as adults. And I tried to get Itty in before her subsequent heat cycles. However none of the offices I talked to would spay her unless she was done with her heat cycle completely. So this was the next best thing; waiting till it slowed down. (July didn’t work, because by the time her surgery would come up, each week she’d be back in heat.)
Meow Meow definitely is overweight. But I think it’s due to no activity. Cake is a good weight. And that’s because she’s still active. If you have cats, are they spayed? Did they gain weight after being spayed? Your comments are appreciated.
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