In an ideal world, all domesticated cats would be spayed or neutered as soon as they hit eight weeks of age. Even though eight weeks may seem very young, the veterinary community has deemed this age suitable for the surgery, as long as they are also at least 2.5 pounds. While the majority of animal advocates encourage everyone to have their cats sterilized as soon as possible, there are restrictions to be aware of.
When Not to Fix Them
Kittens or adult cats can undergo sterilization as long as they are healthy. If they are ailing, they may not be able to withstand the drugs administered in this type of procedure. In adult cats, heart conditions or advanced diabetes would certainly preclude surgery of any type, even one as “minor” as sterilization. If you have adopted an older, unfixed cat, your veterinarian will want to check her for some medical issues which make surgery too perilous. Assuming she is healthy, there is really no reason not to have her fixed.
Common conditions in kittens include malnutrition, low weight, and respiratory infections. Even though said conditions are not out of the ordinary, they can still be life-threatening, and thus prevent the kitten from undergoing the surgery. Most of the time, the kitten can recover from these ailments with the proper care.
Some people decline to fix their cats, stating that they will only be indoors. Even the most sheltered indoor cats are wily enough to slip outside and escape, where all kinds of troubles and dangers await them. If your female cat accidentally escapes, you do not want her to be impregnated, among other conceivable threats. Too many unwanted kittens being born in this world is the cause of cat overpopulation.
Why Should They Be Fixed?
One of the primary reasons for fixing cats is to decrease the feline population without the use of euthanasia. Sterilization is a much more humane way of trying to solve the problem of overcrowded shelters. Nonprofit cat rescue groups strive to decrease the outdoor cat population by fixing feral strays, and then releasing them.
Sterilizing your feline companions could make their lives so much more enjoyable for them, and thus for you too. Neutering is said to prevent males from spraying (although this benefit is much more apparent if the cat is neutered at a young age). He may also be less inclined to run away, in an attempt to impregnate females. Spaying the females will eliminate the estrus cycle. To ensure that your cats cannot procreate, sterilizing them before they turn five months of age is advisable.
I have heard quite a few people say that sterilization is “bad” for their pets. I submit that sterilization, if done early enough, will drastically decrease the chances of getting cancer. The females in particular have a high risk of cancer if they are not spayed; uterine and mammary cancer is correlated with the estrus cycle in cats and dogs. While spaying and neutering will not eliminate all behavioral or health problems, it is the surest way to increase your cat’s chances of a living a long, healthy, and happy life.
By Gabrielle Allemeier
ASPCA: Spay/Neuter Your Pet
About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.