This section discusses the benefits of early spay and castration of cats. This information comes from many references in veterinary medicine as well as my 16 years experience with our shelter and my experience as a cat breeder.
A spay is the sterilization of a female animal. Castration is the sterilization of a male animal. Neutering is the removal of the reproductive organs of either a male or female animal. In the pet world, castration sounds harsh, so most veterinarians will state that we spay females and neuter males.
Many people are concerned about the anesthetic risk with small and young animals. Veterinarian will usually want to wait until a kitten is 2 pounds before doing surgery. I have done kittens smaller, but there is some additional techniques used. We use only gas anesthesia in our kittens, and we use injections of pain control. This greatly reduces our risk of problems. The kittens are also well hydrated, and they have supplemental heat during the surgery. We feel that with the extra precautions, we can safely perform these procedures in very small animals. Our kittens are usually over two pounds when we do the surgery, but we still perform them all the same way.
We have found many health benefits from early sterilization. Females that come into heat usually have a reduction in immune status. Some cats become very ill during the heat cycle. Also, if females are not bred, they have a high risk of contracting an infected uterus that can be deadly. As cats age, intact females have a risk of mammary cancer and uterine or ovarian cancer. Early spaying, before any heat cycle (which I have seen in five month old kittens), stops these problems. In males, early neutering will almost eliminate any concerns of spraying, aggression, and loud calling. It will also reduce the risk of prostate cancer in older males. Without the hormones, both female and male cats tend to be friendlier and less moody. Many people and veterinarians have been taught that early spaying and neutering can cause some health problems, but the most recent research has found that early spaying and neutering cause no health or behavioral problems in both male and female cats.
Finally, spaying and neutering prevents accidental kittens. If kittens leave intact, some people may not have the pet sterilized in time to prevent breeding. Then the risk of spaying increases and there could be a litter of kittens with no homes. Also, many breeders invest a large amount of time and money to create certain genetic lines of cats. As a result, many breeder cat prices are double the pet price. Some people would like to pretend to be a pet buyer to buy a potential breeder cat at a reduced price. Therefore, spaying and neutering protects the investment many breeders have in their lines.
I hope this has answered many of the questions for spaying and neutering!
More information is found HERE.
Other articles can be found on the internet. Before any conclusion is decided on what you are reading, make sure the article is recent, and from a reliable source. Many people have an opinion and will write an article to make it look official, but if there is not research performed, it is just an opinion. Which is not really good medicine.
Johnny Gobble, D.V.M.
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