Why should I have my cat neutered?
Male cats in particular can display sex-based aggressive behaviour, straying and especially urine marking in the home, which is particularly unpleasant for humans. By neutering male cats, this behaviour diminishes in most animals within a few weeks. Neutering makes sense for cats if they live in a household with a number of cats and are not to have kittens. When very strong heat symptoms are a problem neutering also helps. It is a good idea for owners of freely roaming cats to have their pets neutered: unneutered male cats rapidly produce a lot of unwanted progeny, females come home pregnant and the outcome appears weeks later in the form of kittens.
How is neutering performed in cats?
Since neutering is performed under general anaesthetic, the animal must be fasting. Otherwise, vomited food can cause problems. Your pet will first be examined and if its health is good, it is given an anaesthetic and prepared for surgery.
In male cats, hair is removed from the scrotum, it is disinfected and an incision is then made in the skin. The testicles are removed and the blood vessels supplying them are closed. Wound suture is not usually necessary. In female cats, neutering is a bit more complex as the ovaries are inside the abdomen. The animals are shaved on the belly and the operation area is disinfected. Through an incision, which is kept as small as possible, the vet will then find the ovaries, tie them off and remove them. The abdominal muscles and skin that were divided for the operation are then sutured. Your pet is given a pain-relieving injection during the anaesthetic to lessen the pain after she wakes up.
Once the cat has woken up from the anaesthetic after the neutering procedure and is fully conscious, he or she can be brought home without problem. The sutures can usually be removed after about 10 days. Depending on the animal’s disposition, a neck collar may be useful to prevent chewing and licking the wound. In a healthy young female, the neutering wound is usually only 1-2 cm long.
Endoscopic spaying of female animals is so far possible only in dogs.
What are the risks of neutering in cats?
Although these are absolutely routine operations, neutering in cats is associated with risks. If the animal is healthy, this greatly reduces the risks of anaesthesia. Animals with chronic previous disease such as heart failure have a greater anaesthetic risk. Problematic bleeding rarely occurs when a cat is neutered and the wounds usually heal well. Intensive licking and chewing of the wound can cause inflammation, however.
When should I have my cat neutered?
Male cats should generally be neutered with the onset of puberty, that is, at about 6 - 9 months. Female cats are usually spayed before puberty, which occurs after the age of about 6 months. The onset of puberty can vary individually, depending on breed. Ask your vet when the optimal time for the operation in your cat is.
Are there special situations?
In cryptorchidism in male cats, one or both testicles are located in the abdomen or in the groin as they have not descended into the scrotum in the course of development. Before the operation, they are sought by ultrasound and then removed accordingly. Operating on these undescended testicles is thus more complex than normal neutering of a male cat.
In female cats, the womb (uterus) is sometimes removed as well. This is the case when there is disease in it such as womb infection (pyometra), when tumours occur in ovaries or uterus and often in the course of a caesarean section.
Chemical neutering of cats: how it works
Chemical neutering of male and female cats is the term for hormonal interruption of sexual function. This is used especially for stud males. Every few months, they are given an injection of a progestogen (female sex hormone), which suppresses sexual behaviour. However, this is not without side effects. The use of a different hormone which is also used for chemical neutering in dogs is not licensed for cats.
For female cats it is also possible to prevent heat hormonally. For this, she is given tablets regularly or likewise a progestogen injection every few months, thereby suppressing the sexual cycle. Since this treatment involves side effects, it is not suitable for long-term use.
How will my cat behave after neutering?
Both male and female cats will largely cease their sex-specific behaviour following neutering. Females no longer come into heat. Males are less aggressive against other cats, mark their territory less and usually also stray less. If their feed remains the same, they will usually become more or less overweight. To prevent this, your vet will be happy to advise you on feeding your cat correctly after it has been neutered.
What will neutering cost?
How much it will cost to neuter a cat depends on various factors. Vets have a fee schedule within which they charge for services, from a single to a triple rate. The highest rate is intended for very complicated procedures or an emergency service. Medication consumption is measured by the animal’s height and weight. A cryptorchidism operation will be dearer than normal neutering. In addition, there are technical details such as the form of anaesthetic or wound closure, which incur different costs. If you have any questions, you can ask your vet to explain the individual items.
Difference between sterilisation / neutering of cats
Unlike neutering, sterilisation prevents reproduction, but sexual behaviour is maintained. This involves dividing the fallopian tubes in females and the spermatic ducts in males. Egg cells or sperm cells can thus no longer be transported to the site of action. The ovaries and testicles stay in the animal and continue to produce sex hormones. Sterilisation of a cat is performed only rarely and at the owner’s request.
Neutering cats: conclusion
Neutering of male and female cats is even more widespread than neutering of dogs and is generally accepted. Freely roaming cats in particular should be neutered to contain the wild (feral) cat population. The procedure is a routine operation and is usually well tolerated. The right time for your pet, the cost and the exact neutering procedure differ individually and will be adapted appropriately by the treating vet.