If you have adopted a new kitten or adult cat, you may be wondering if you should get your new fur baby fixed. Our Riverside County vets explain why having your cat spayed or neutered is beneficial for your cat and your community.
Should you get your cat fixed?
Animal shelters throughout Riverside County are filled with homeless cats and kittens. According to one estimate from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), around 3.2 million cats enter US animal shelters annually.
Not only will having your new kitten fixed help to reduce the number of homeless cats in your area, but it can also lower your cat's risk of disease and help to curb many undesirable cat behaviors.
When should you get your cat fixed?
Spaying and neutering kittens before they reach sexual maturity, at the age of four months, provides the best protection against a variety of health risks. Adult cats, on the other hand, can be spayed or neutered. If you're unsure about when to have your cat fixed, simply ask your veterinarian; they can advise you on when to have your cat spayed or neutered.
How are spaying and neutering different?
When we talk about getting a cat 'fixed' what does that mean?
Female cats are spayed when they are fixed. Spaying your cat means that the vet surgically removes the uterus and ovaries, or sometimes just the ovaries, preventing your cat from having kittens.
Male cats are neutered or castrated when we get them fixed. This means that the vet surgically removes the cat's testes so that your cat is no longer able to father kittens.
Benefits of a Spayed Cat
Controlling the number of unwanted cats in your area
Your beautiful new kitten may be able to have kittens of her own before she is even six months old. Not only that, female cats can have up to four litters a year, and each litter can be made up of as many as 10 kittens! That means your cat could have as many as 40 kittens every year! That is a lot of unwanted cats.
Reduce your cat's risk of disease
Spaying your kitten before her first heat cycle can lower your cat's risk of developing breast cancer later in life and eliminate the possibility of pyometra (a potentially fatal infection of the womb).
Protect wildlife in your neighborhood
In the USA it is estimated that cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds annually. By reducing the population of homeless cats, you are also helping to protect birds and other small animals.
Deter unwanted behaviors
Spaying your female cat can help to keep male cats out of your backyard. When female cats are unspayed, they attract the attention of neighborhood male cats. Unneutered male cats hanging around your house and garden can be problematic since these males tend to spray, fight and howl.
Benefits of a Neutered Cat
Reduced numbers of unwanted kittens
One unneutered male cat can make many female cats pregnant. Having your male cat neutered can play a significant role in helping to reduce the number of homeless cats in your neighborhood.
Reduced risk of many common health issues
Neutering can help to reduce cat aggression and may mean fewer injuries from cat fights, and a reduced risk of your cat contracting FIV (immunodeficiency virus) or FeLV (Feline leukemia virus). Neutering can also curb your male cat's tendency to roam, reducing his risk of being injured by a vehicle.
Helps to reduce the incidence of spraying
Typically, unneutered male cats will spray urine inside the home more often than neutered males, and often try to get outside more. Having your male kitten neutered while he's young can help to prevent spraying and other territorial and mating behaviors from starting.