Spay & Neuter Information

Is the spay/neuter surgery for my cat free?

The surgery is not free. However, many places have very low-cost surgeries, especially for people with low income. Some programs and clinics are open to all regardless of income. Each program is different there are thousands of programs nationwide. Clients are required to pay the veterinarian at the time of surgery.

How much will the spay/neuter surgery cost?

Prices vary by region and veterinarian. The price for vaccinations, which are often required will also vary by region and veterinarian. If you have researched the going rate for spay/neuter surgery in your area, we think you will find a a vet that offers affordable rates!

How old does my pet need to be in order to be spayed or neutered?

For many years, veterinarians were taught that cats had to be a year old to be spayed or neutered. Later, they were taught that six months was appropriate. Today we know that kittens can be spayed or neutered at the age of two months (or two pounds). The American Veterinary Medical Association has endorsed this practice called Early Age Neutering; the animals recover more quickly from surgery when they are young. Today some vets will spay/neuter at eight weeks of age, while other adhere to the old practice of six months of age. With a little research you can always find a vet that will work with you.

How young can a female cat get pregnant?

"Adolescent" cats and as young as four months can get pregnant. For many reasons, it is important to spay or neuter BEFORE the first litter is born - before six months and preferably before 3 months.

Can brother and sister from the same litter mate?

A brother and sister from the same litter can create their own litters by the age of four months. It is not a good idea to allow this to happen.

How long after my female cat has had kittens can I get her spayed?

Mother cats can become pregnant while nursing. It is important to keep a nursing mother away from other adult cats of the opposite sex. One can spay a mother as soon as the kittens are weaned, (5 to 6 weeks) and because of the risk of pregnancy this should be done.

Will neutering my male cat stop him from spraying?

It is best to alter males before they reach three months of age, and before they start "spraying" or "marking." Even if a cat has started spraying, neutering may help. It usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks for the hormones to subside after the neutering. Neutering helps prevent spraying, roaming and aggressive behavior.

I want to have my cat declawed?

We are very opposed to declawing cats. It is the equivalent of cutting off the tips of our fingers. It can be painful even after the surgery is long done, and may even lead to the kinds of rebellious behavior only cats can devise. We suggest offering different kinds of scratching posts - corrugated cardboard, hemp, etc, throwing sheets over sofas that are claw targets, using the new sprays that discourage scratching.

Will my cat feel pain during surgery?

Your cat will be under anesthesia during surgery, and will feel no pain. You should keep the animal quiet after surgery while she or he heals. Cats should be kept indoors.

Will my animal's behavior change after being altered?

Your animal's behavior will not change except that male cats will be less likely to fight, roam and spayed females will no longer go into heat.

Will my animal become fat and lazy after being altered?

Your animal will not get fat and lazy after being spayed or neutered unless you feed him/her too much. To keep your pet healthy they should get regular exercise: walking for dogs, toys and scratching posts for cats.

Spay/Neuter Terminology:

Heat - Estrus ("heat") is the mating period of female animals. When estrus occurs, animals are said to be "in heat" or "in season.

Cats normally have their first estrous cycle between 4 and 6 months of age, with the average age around 5 months. The female cat has 2-4 estrous periods every year, each lasting 15-22 days. If she is bred, estrus seldom lasts more than 4 days.

If successful mating does not occur, estrus may last for 7-10 days or more and recur at 15-21 day intervals. It is possible for an unmated female to cycle every 3-4 weeks indefinitely.

Cats also have an estrous period 1-6 weeks after giving birth, so a female may be nursing one litter while pregnant with another.

Behavior- Since there is usually no obvious vaginal discharge or swelling of the genitals during estrus in cats, as is seen in dogs, behavioral changes are the only obvious signs that your cat is in estrus.

A cat in estrus often carries her tail to one side, keeps her hindquarters elevated and seems unusually affectionate. She will rolling on the floor and seems much more restless than usual. The cat's voice seems more piercing than usual and she may "call" for 1-2 days before she accepts the male.

Spay - the medical term is ovariohysterectomy. In this major abdominal surgery the pet's ovaries and uterus are removed. There is no evidence that a pet suffers from any personality or emotional harm by having their ovaries removed. The uterus is also removed to insure that it does not become a source of infection over a period of time. If the surgeon simply tied or obstructed the Fallopian tubes (the channel where the eggs must pass into the uterus) in order to make the female dog or cat sterile, she would still come into heat, attract males, and attempt to breed. Experience has shown that the best procedure is to perform a complete ovariohysterectomy.

Neuter - another term is castration. In this surgery the doctor makes an incision in front of the scrotum and through that incision accesses each testicle. The fibrous coverings of the testicles are incised and each testicle is removed after securely ligating the blood vessels that attach to each testicle. The benefits of having a dog and cat neutered are well documented. And to simply do a vasectomy to render the male sterile would not alleviate the scent marking, desire to breed, territorial defense and other testosterone driven behaviors. Even in guard dogs and hunting dogs, many owners report improved behavior and manageability when the dog has been neutered.

Alter - Another term for spay or neuter.

Cryptorchid/Undescended Testical - An improperly developed testis may never leave the abdomen, and it may not produce the hormones that induce secondary sex characters. A testis lodged in the canal may well produce these secondary sex characters, but cannot produce spermatozoa. Failure of both testicles to descend is uncommon. Usually only one testis is involved and the other produces sufficient spermatozoa to render the animal fertile.


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