Updated: Feb 9
So you have just acquired an adorable kitten and you have been to the vets for vaccinations and check ups and they say....'so its about time the wee one was neutered'.
Kittens usually get neutered from 4 months of age in the UK. Many vets prefer waiting a bit longer until they are 6 months of age so they are a we bit bigger and mature.
Neutering for those who haven't really thought what it involves is the removal of the testicles in the male or ovaries and womb in the female. It is a routine procedure carried out under general anaesthetic by your vet.
There are many reasons to neuter your new member of the family, these reasons differ slightly between male and female.
I will start with the male.
Removing the testicles prevents testicular cancer
Can reduce territorial fighting with other cats, minimising injury and war wounds.
Reduces the transmission of FIV/FeLV which can be transferred from fighting in saliva
Helps minimise roaming (hunting for a girlfriend) if your cat goes outside
Helps reduce spraying which in a tom cat can be particularly pungent and disgusting!
Can help reduce hormonal behaviour such as aggression.
Population control- your wee guy could be to the stud to numerous females and you would be none the wiser!
Some benefits in the female.
Prevents unwanted or unplanned pregnancy
Prevent ovarian and womb cancers
Prevents a life threatening condition called pyometra where the womb becomes infected and full of pus.
Stops your cat coming into heat/ season which can trigger unwanted behaviours.
Reduce unwanted behaviour related to hormones such as aggression.
What actually happens when I drop off my beloved kitten to get neutered?
Your vet will instruct you from when to withhold food from your kitten before their surgery, I usually recommend no food from 10pm the night before the surgery and they are allowed
water up until they are dropped off. I also advise the kitten is kept inside overnight incase it gets wind of your plans are and decides to be a no show in the morning to escape the vet visit!
The kitten is given a check over prior to surgery, weighed and settled in a comfortable kennel.
The cat is given an injection to sedate and relax them to get them ready for the procedure along with a pain killer. This is a quick injection.
The surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic. The male procedure is very quick and involves 2 small cuts in the scrotum and the testicles are removed. Usually no stitches are required in the skin and surgery is over and done with in minutes.
The surgery in the female is called a spay, it is a slightly longer procedure. A small cut is made usually in the left side (flank) of the abdomen and the ovaries and womb have their blood vessels tied off then are removed. Depending on the vet the stitches in the skin may or may not be visible.
female flank spay wound
After surgery your cat will be monitored by a nurse and will wake up slowly over the next few hours. Once home it is recommended they take it easy for about 10 days or so to prevent any complications. Your vet will usually check the wounds a few days later. Usually the female, and sometimes males are sent home with pain relief and the 'cone of shame' (buster collar) to prevent them licking and pulling out stitches. Your cat must not be allowed outside with one of these on. Although annoying they really help minimise self trauma to the wound and help healing.
I have seen a number of other methods owners have created instead of the buster collar- a common one is putting a baby grow on the cat to stop them licking at the wound and there are a variety of 'outfits' online..... each to their own!
Depending on what type of stitches are used they may need removed or may dissolve. stitch removal is quick and painless.
See my blog on 'Reducing stress when taking cat to vets'.
So one last thing to be aware of is that after neutering your cat maybe more prone to gaining weight.
It is important to make sure your cat is active and you monitor their weight. There are foods out there designed for neutered cats tailored to what they need so this is always an option.
The benefits of neutering your feline friend far outweigh any drawbacks. if you have concerns or questions about the procedure contact your Vet.