Spring is the season of the birds and the bees. Maybe it is the emergence of verdant foliage or colourful blossoms appearing across the countryside or butterflies awakening from their chrysalis. Whatever it is, springtime is the season for new life and love is definitely in the air. Breeding seasons vary between different animals but for cats it is generally from January to August. Given the wet and miserable weather we experience through the winter, the likelihood of your cat mating with another increases dramatically in the more pleasant days of spring. If you have an adult cat that ventures outside the house, then it is advised you get them neutered.
Why should I get my cat neutered?
Neutering is part of responsible cat ownership. Cats reproduce quickly, each pregnancy lasts just 63 days. Female cats cycle every three weeks during the breeding season, meaning they can have several litters in one year. There are problems with cat population in UK, leading to a rise in unwanted cats and kittens. Entire cats (cats who have not been neutered) fight and can spread diseases such as Feline Leukaemia Virus and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, and they are also more likely to stray from home. Neutering will reduce spraying within the house and can decrease incidence of uterine infections and some forms of cancer.
When should they be neutered?
If you have your cat from a kitten then you will want them to have the most enjoyable life possible. This will include letting them outside to roam around, should this be possible. It is advised that you make sure your cat is neutered prior to this, as this is when they will begin to come in contact with other cats. Typically, most veterinary practices neuter from five months old, however, research conducted by cat charities indicate that kittens can be neutered safely from as young as twelve weeks old. Once the procedure has been completed, your pussycat will be free to prowl as much as he pleases!
When male cats are neutered, it is known as castration. This is a short procedure, performed under general anaesthetic, and is minimally invasive. Two small surgical incisions are made over the testicles, which are then ligated and removed. Male cats recover very quickly from the procedure. They must be kept indoors for at least 48 hours following the operation but following that they can go as they please. Once your male is castrated he will stop spraying his territory around the house, which can be unpleasant, and it will also decrease the likelihood in him getting into serious fights.
Female neutering is known as spaying. Female cats are spayed under general anaesthetic, as it involves the surgical removal of both ovaries and the uterus and the ligation of the associated blood vessels. The most common technique used in this country is a flank spay, where the left flank of the cat is clipped and a small surgical incision is made to access the abdomen. Female cats require more aftercare following the procedure. She may have skin sutures, and be prescribed post-operative pain relief, so she might be feeling pretty sorry for herself. You’ll need to give your female cat lots of TLC following the operation and make sure she’s kept indoors for several days.
A necessary solution
You might think that neutering is unkind to the cat but the truth is that the procedure is relatively painless and it is the responsible and kind thing to do. In 2014 the RSPCA revealed that the UK was reaching the point of a “cat crisis” and the charity had been struggling to deal with the number of cats that have been abandoned. The number of cats entering the RSPCA increased from 29,269 in 2010 to 31,556 in 2012. Whilst the campaign may have raised awareness, every cat owner has a responsibility to ensure that they don’t contribute to the problem. Let’s see every UK cat homed and happy shall we?!
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