Cat Spaying Questions

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    Identification

    • The procedure to spay your cat is called an ovariohysterectomy and involves the removal of both the ovaries and the uterus in your female cat. The doctor makes an incision in your cat's lower abdomen to remove these reproductive organs after shaving the area and disinfecting it. The removal of these reproductive organs from your cat prevents it from becoming pregnant or giving birth. A licensed veterinarian performs this procedure under general anesthesia to prevent your cat from experiencing pain or discomfort during the surgery. Your veterinarian will close the surgical incision with external skin stitches, surgical staples or internal stitches. External stitches and staples require removal after 7 to 10 days, while internal stitches do not.

    Benefits and Effects

    • Spaying your cat prevents it from going into heat, also called estrus. During estrus, your female cat will howl loudly to attract a mate, try to escape regularly and behave more aggressively than usual due to the high amount of the female hormone, estrogen, in her system. Spaying eliminates this unpleasant behavior and keeps your cat more docile. The surgery also prevents your cat from developing cancer of the reproductive organs and decreases the risk of mammary cancer and urinary tract infections, according to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association website. It also prevents pyometra, a bacterial infection of the uterus that can become fatal in cats.

    Finding a Veterinarian

    • Contact your veterinarian to schedule the procedure to spay your cat. Most veterinarians perform this procedure. If you do not already have a veterinarian, or have limited financial resources, visit your local animal shelter to see if it offers low-cost spay and neuter programs in your area. Contact SPAY/USA, a program run through the North Shore Animal League America that has contacts for 1,000 programs across the United States that offer low-cost spaying for your cat. Speak to local veterinarians in your area, as some private veterinarians will work with you to finance the surgery and make it more affordable for you.

    Considerations

    • You can have your cat spayed as young as 8 weeks old, though some veterinarians prefer to wait until the kitten reaches 3 to 4 months of age. Have your cat spayed before 6 months to prevent her from going into heat or becoming pregnant. Some cities and states in the U.S. require you by law to spay or neuter your cat before 4 months of age, so check with your local animal control office about local regulations. Spaying is a relatively safe procedure, with health and behavioral benefits for your cat. Recovery from surgery takes approximately two weeks, during which time your cat will need to wear an E-collar to prevent her from licking or biting the incision while it heals. Some veterinary clinics will keep your cat overnight for her to recover, while others will release her on the day of the surgery. Keep an eye on the incision to make sure no infection sets in and follow up with the surgeon 7 to 10 days after the surgery to ensure your cat makes a fully recovery.

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