With the large number of homeless and feral cats in the world, it is no wonder that people are beginning to realize the importance of neutering their cats. After all, since cats can reproduce several times a year and mature quickly, just two feral cats can quickly become twenty.
These feral cats are often actually unaltered pet cats that were released by owners who no longer could care for them. A colony of feral cats can spread diseases to pet cats and dogs in the area. Even when the cats are fairly healthy, they are often infested with fleas. When female cats are in heat, the colony can literally keep people up all night with their fighting and crying. Hungry cats will raid the trashcan and playful kittens will destroy shrubbery and soil lawn furniture.
Besides reducing the number of unwanted kittens, spaying and neutering cats provides several other important benefits. Many people cannot handle the racket caused by a cat in heat. Soon the sound of your female house cat mewling pitifully at the door is joined by the yowling and fighting of every tom cat in the neighborhood. Un-neutered tom cats have a tendency to roam far from home if they are outdoor cats. Both indoor and outdoor tom cats will mark every new object with their odorous spray.
Unaltered cats are also more prone to certain types of cancer than altered cats. These cancers of the reproductive organs are very rare in cats that are altered by one year of age. In addition, unaltered cats can develop several contagious reproductive diseases.
Of course, there is also a downside to altering your cat. Unlike altered dogs, cats that are altered can compete in the show ring. However, if your cat wins a championship, other people may want one of your cat’s kittens and you will not be able to have a litter.
Cats can be altered at quite a young age. Some humane societies will alter kittens as young as eight weeks. However, most veterinarians agree that it is healthier to alter kittens at five to six months, unless they are feral kittens who are trapped to be altered and then released back into their colonies or they are in a home with other unaltered cats.
Neutering is harder on female kittens than male kittens, so if you have both male and female kittens, you may want to neuter the males at a younger age and wait to neuter your females until they are six months old.
Although cats rarely have problems after being neutered, sometimes their incisions become infected. Check your cat once a day to be sure the area has not turned puffy and red. If you notice your cat licking and chewing at the stitches from the surgery, you may need to talk to your veterinarian about using a surgery collar to keep the cat from being able to reach the stitches. In addition, while male cats can be active and bouncy without injuring themselves, female cats will need to be confined indoors for three to five days after the surgery.