Why should I have my cat neutered?
Castration is primarily performed to prevent the siring of unwanted litters. It offers a number of other advantages, particularly if performed at an early age. Following puberty, the male cat develops a number of “undesirable” behavioural changes. He will become territorial and mark areas by spraying urine (potentially including indoors). As he matures the urine develops a particularly strong, lingering odour which is very difficult to remove. In addition, he will start to enlarge his territory by straying ever further from the house, particularly at night.
For this reason “entire” males are at increased risk of road traffic accidents and also commonly fight other cats. Bite wounds from fights cannot only lead to abcesses and possible septicaemia, but also enable transmission of the FIV and FeLV viruses - which can cause AIDS-like syndromes and cancers in cats.
An important point to note is the longer a tomcat is left to spray, wander and fight, the less likely that neutering will stop it. This is because from an initial sexual drive it becomes a learnt behaviour which no longer needs sex hormones to be present to continue as a pattern.
Most obviously, spaying prevents unplanned litters. It also stops “calling” behaviour which from puberty occurs approximately 1 week in every 3 throughout the breeding season (usually January to September). Calling manifests as loud and persistent crying, and frequent rubbing and rolling on the floor. Such behaviour and the scent of a calling queen will attract pestering tomcats from miles around. Spaying eliminates the risk of uterine or ovarian disease, and may reduce the future risk of mammary tumours.
Are there any adverse affects?
In the vast majority of cases no adverse effects are noted following neutering. However, some neutered animals have a tendency to put on excess weight by storing surplus fat. Such pets require a balanced diet and should not be over-fed.
In certain cats, notably Siamese, the hair that grows back over an operation site may be noticeably darker, due to a difference in the skin temperature. This darker patch will usually grow out with the following moult as the hair is replaced. If you would prefer us to perform a mid-line incision for this reason, please indicate this on the admission form.
What does the Operation involve?
Neutering is a “day procedure” with animals admitted in the morning and going home later the same day.
Castration and spaying are both performed under general anaesthesia, which in young healthy animals carries a low risk. We ensure that any potential problems are minimised by physically checking your cat prior to anaesthesia and using the most up-to-date anaesthetic medications and techniques. Qualified staff monitor your pet throughout the procedure.
In male cats, both of the testes are removed in their entirety through a small incision in the scrotum. Stitches are rarely required in the skin.
In female cats, the operation is performed through a relatively small incision made either in the flank, or in the midline of the abdomen to enable removal of both ovaries and the uterus. Whenever possible dissolvable stitches are placed under the skin. There is no need to remove these stitches and the cat is less likely to interfere with the wound.