Benefits of desexing your cat
Cats can begin their reproductive lives at the very young age of 4-5 months.
It has been calculated that, in just 7 years, 1 female cat and her offspring can produce as many as 420,000 kittens. This problem highlights the importance of desexing pets at an early age and reducing the number of unwanted animals in our communities.
In addition to preventing unwanted litters, desexing may result in a positive behavioural change in your cat. Desexing may also minimise the chance of your cat developing reproductive organ-related health issues that can threaten your cat's life.
A desexed cat is less likely to:
- Wander or run away. Especially males.
- Contract Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Also known as Feline AIDS, this can be contracted through territorial fighting with other infected cats.
- Develop tumours such as uterine, ovarian and mammary (breast) cancer in females and possibly testicular cancer in males.
- Become involved in fights over territory or mating partners. This reduces the likelihood of injuries such as abscesses, injuries from being hit by a car and infected wounds which may be fatal.
- Display anti-social behaviour towards people or other animals. This makes pet ownership less enjoyable and disrupts the human-pet bond.
- Spray or mark its territory, which is usually the house. This often has the same effect as the point above.
There are significant costs involved in caring for a litter of kittens.
A cat can have an average of 4–6 kittens per litter. Each kitten must be fed, wormed, and treated for fleas. It is also a legal requirement that each kitten must be microchipped before they are sold or given away. They should also be vaccinated at 6–8 weeks of age (this is repeated at 12–14 weeks and 16–18 weeks depending on the vaccine and the protocol used).
These costs can add up to $180–$250 per kitten for the first 8 weeks alone. Desexing your cat is a much easier and less expensive option.
If you are having difficulties meeting the financial requirements of desexing, you may qualify for a financial assistance program offered by some organisations.
For further information contact:
Myths and facts
There are many myths about desexing. Following your cats recovery from what is a routine and reasonably straight forward procedure, there are only positive side effects for both you and your cat to look forward to.
Myth: My cat will get fat and lazy
An overweight cat is the result of too much food and lack of exercise. It has nothing to do with being desexed.
Most pets are desexed at an age when they are becoming an adult and therefore they don't exercise as much as they did when they were a kitten. Some people then interpret this change as being a result of desexing. The simple explanation is the changing energy requirements of your cat at this life-stage.
Myth: She/he should have one litter
There is no medical or behavioural advantage for a cat to have a litter. It is stressful, expensive and provides no positive benefit to the queen (mother cat).
It is actually more beneficial if a cat does not even have their first heat cycle as this reduces the chance of your cat developing mammary cancer to almost zero.
Myth: The surgery is too painful
It is also painful giving birth to several kittens and then feeding them several times a day for up to 6 weeks. Any surgical procedure will cause some discomfort around the surgical site and your cat should be kept quiet in the immediate post-operative period.
Pain management is an important part of the surgery and your vet will ensure that this is adequate. Most problems after any operation are related to a cat's resilience - they feel they have recovered and want to run around as normal, thus disturbing the surgical site.
Myth: I want my children to see the miracle of birth
It would be more educational to teach children the benefits of desexing their pet cat and promoting responsible pet ownership. In more than 80% of cases, the birthing process takes place in the middle of the night and a large amount of human contact with newborn kittens is strongly discouraged. Though most queens have their kittens unassisted, a caesarean section, if needed, will result in a vet bill upwards of several hundred dollars.