Spaying/Neutering Your Cat? Don’t Fall For These Common Myths

Most households in the U.S. have at least one pet, and as a pet owner, you have to be responsible when it comes to keeping your furry friend healthy. Cats, especially, can suffer when it comes to having their needs recognized. As more independent animals, many cat owners believe they don’t need to intervene in their health as often. From good dental hygiene to keeping those claws trimmed, cats still need to be looked after. Many people believe that spaying and neutering is something that doesn’t affect their cat’s health; however, this isn’t the case. Here are a few more common myths about spaying and neutering your cat that you just shouldn’t believe.

Myth #1: All veterinary clinics will spay or neuter my pet in the same way.

Even though cats and dogs can get pregnant once they’re five months old, you can’t just walk into any vet clinic and expect them to be able to perform a spaying or neutering procedure. This procedure should only be performed at a clinic fully equipped for surgery, so take your time in researching instead of picking among cheap vets. Additionally, some low-cost places will do a spay for extra cheap, but most of them are not doing any blood work on your pet, and there are often questionable or unmonitored anesthesia protocols. At The Pet Vet, no animal undergoes any anesthetic procedure without full blood work assessing many parameters including liver and kidney function, white blood cell counts and ensuring there is no anemia or hidden infection present before surgery. It is definitely worth paying a little extra for the safety of your beloved pet.

“Both neutering and spaying … must be performed only by a licensed veterinarian. Most cats are able to resume their normal activities within a few days, and the stitches are removed after about two weeks,” writes The Purrington Post.

Myth #2: Spaying or neutering won’t change my pet’s demeanor or personality.

Both kittens and puppies can be spayed or neutered when they reach six months old, and the procedure typically does change their behavior — but not for the worse. Most of the time, spaying or neutering will make your cat calmer and more affectionate. Female cats will no longer have heat cycles every three weeks during their breeding season. Male cats, who are prone to aggression and marking their territory, typically become calmer and less territorial after neutering.

Is your cat aggressive towards other cats? After a spaying or neutering procedure, this will likely change also, fortunately for the better. In fact, cats are typically more friendly to other cats after the procedure.

Myth #3: The procedure is traumatizing for cats.

This myth could not be less true — spaying and neutering are both low-risk procedures, and there are no known negative psychological effects on male or female cats! Most animal doctors agree that it’s in your pet’s best interest. Not only does it prevent unwanted litters, but it can also help reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer and infections. Plus, if your cat roams outside, you won’t need to worry about contributing to overpopulation in your neighborhood. Countless stray cats suffer on the streets or are euthanized as a result of overpopulation. Spaying or neutering one cat could save so many others!

Myth #4: The procedure is expensive.

This is another common misconception — in most cases, the spaying and neutering processes are very affordable. The only exception would be if you have a cat that needs special treatment during the process due to other conditions. The spaying and neutering processes are important to the overall health of your cat, so the majority of animal doctors aim to make the procedure as affordable as possible. That being said, if you’re on a strict budget and are worried about having trouble financing the procedure, don’t panic. You may be able to find payment plans or finance the procedure. It may even be covered by your pet insurance. The bottom line: don’t let perceived costs deter you from making the right decision for your pet’s health.

Myth #5: My pet stays indoors, so they don’t need to be spayed/neutered.

This major misconception can actually cause health issues for pets with owners who don’t know the facts. Getting your pet spayed or neutered doesn’t just prevent accidental litters: as mentioned above, spaying and neutering present a multitude of health benefits for your cat. In female cats, there is a lower risk of mammary cancer, uterine cancer, and infections. In male cats, neutering effectively eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and prevents spraying behaviors that can cause problems in the household.

Furthermore, the aggression issues that lead to fights and injuries? They’re not limited to outdoor cats. If you have more than one cat living in the same household,  there can be an increased risk of physical injury for all cats involved even with only one unaltered cat present. Spaying and neutering can help ease these aggressive behaviors and ultimately protect your cats from some real physical harm.

Understanding the facts about spaying and neutering procedures can help you make the most informed decision for your furry friend’s health. For more information about spaying, neutering, or any other procedures your cat may need, please book an appointment with one of our veterinarians today.

Senior Pet Care Tips from our Veterinarians:
How to Care for Your Pet During Their Golden Years

Dr. Kaitlin Agel, DVM, MPH

All pet parents want their fur babies to live long and happy, healthy lives.  As veterinary care expands and improvements in preventive medicine are developed, more and more pets are living well into their senior years.  This is excellent news!  Senior pets are amazing!  They have been deeply integrated into their owner’s lives over many years, through all kinds of life experiences.  The bond that an owner shares with a senior pet is truly something special.  As veterinarians, we want to preserve that bond, and keep the owner informed and well-prepared for changes that senior pets might experience.  Most of these animals have been seeing a veterinarian at least once a year throughout their adult lives for wellness care and vaccinations.  Just as in human medicine, normal aging changes require more intensive health screenings and additional testing should be performed.  Yearly bloodwork should be performed throughout the life of a pet, and after the age of 7 a urinalysis and thyroid scan should be included as well.  Auditory and ophthalmologic testing should be performed to address any possible hearing or vision changes.  Blood pressure and electrical activity of the heart (EKG) should be assessed.  Depending on the size, breed, or sex of the pet; performing x-rays of the hips, chest, or other area may be warranted.  These tests should be performed annually, and your veterinarian may recommend more frequent screenings for some pets. Your veterinarian may also recommend other testing based on location, history, or lifestyle.  All of these screenings are designed to catch health issues early so that treatment or management can begin as soon as possible.

One aspect of senior pet care that some owners struggle with is the fear of diagnosis.  As pets age, owners begin to notice changes in mobility or energy and may avoid going to the veterinarian.  Many people do not even consciously realize this avoidance is happening, so it is important that you make an effort to address any changes noted with your veterinarian.  There are a multitude of therapies available to ease the aging process and make life easier for senior pets and their owners.  Additionally, do not fear judgement from your veterinarian.  We are here to help you and your pet enjoy the best quality of life possible for as long as possible, by using our own medical knowledge and resources.  Think of your veterinarian as a tool you can use to make your own well-informed decision on how to best manage your senior pet’s daily life.

One part of senior pet living that most people are unaware of is the number of senior pets available for adoption.  When most people think of adopting a new pet, they consider all the responsibilities and time involved in training and caring for a new puppy.  Long nights with little sleep, vaccination appointments, play time every day, and so many trips outside for potty training! This is a big job and can deter some people from adopting a new pet, even if they want one!  Luckily, there is a viable alternative to a new puppy or kitten, and November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month!  Many of these animals ended up in adoption services due to owner health issues or living arrangement changes that force owners to surrender the pet.  These dogs and cats can have many years left and could be an amazing addition to a household.  Often these pets are already trained and they like to live life at a slower pace.  These are the golden years of leisurely walks, gentle play times, and lots of lounging around.  Consider adopting a senior pet next time you are looking for a new family member, and you might meet your perfect match!