Everything You Need to Know About Neutering Cats, Costs, Benefits, and Aftercare

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Taking our beloved pets to the vet to be spayed or neutered can be a worrying time, but as February marks ‘Spay and Neutering Awareness Month’, and with searches for ‘neutering’ peaking at 20,000 in January, what better time to provide guidance on this important topic.

Catrin George, animal wellbeing specialist at Animal Friends Pet Insurance has shared everything you need to know before getting your cat neutered or spayed, including: the pros and cons, when they can be neutered, what’s involved in the process, and the likely variables on cost.

What is neutering?

Catrin says: “Your cat will undergo different operations when they are neutered, depending on whether they’re male or female. The males are castrated, which means their testicles are removed and the females are spayed, where the ovaries and uterus (womb) are removed.

“When the male’s testicles are removed it takes away the main source of testosterone, which means the effects of the hormone are also reduced, whilst removing a female’s uterus means she is unable to become pregnant.

“These operations are performed under general anaesthesia and pets will be carefully monitored during and after surgery. Cats might experience some discomfort following the surgery, but they will be given painkillers to help control this, and they’ll be back to normal before you know it.”

Why should I get my cat neutered?

Catrin says: “Importantly, having your cat neutered can help prevent your pet from developing serious health issues in the future, like certain cancers or pyometra, a serious infection in the uterus. In cats, neutering also greatly reduces the risk of mammary (breast) cancers occurring as well.

“Additionally, neutering your pet can reduce their drive to roam to look for a mate. Not only does this prevent unwanted pregnancies but your pet is also likely to stay closer to home, meaning they have less of a chance to go missing or be involved in road traffic accidents.

“For cats learned behaviours like urine spraying or mounting are likely to stay unless addressed by an accredited behaviourist. However, the urine smell from male cats can go away after castration, and early neutering can have a positive impact on your cat’s behaviour.

When should I get my cat neutered?

Catrin says: “Cats may be neutered from around four months old, and whilst it’s recommended to get your cat neutered earlier rather than later, they can be neutered at any age after four months. It’s recommended not to let your cat outside until they’re neutered as one female cat and her offspring can produce 370,000 kittens in just seven years.”

What happens to my cat after they’re neutered?

Catrin says:  “As your cat’s calorie intake requirements fall after being neutered, many owners notice that their pet gains weight after spaying. To avoid issues such as obesity, it’s important to make sure you change their diet accordingly by reducing portion sizes.

“You will be able to speak to your vet about their diet and daily calories after surgery so that your cat can remain healthy.

“Most cats will need to rest for at least a few days after the surgery until they’ve recovered fully. Your cat will need to wear a cone, inflatable recovery collar, or vet-approved body suit to stop them from licking their incision and prevent infections, too. During the first 24 hours, your vet may recommend giving your cat small amounts of water, and half a portion of their food, to lessen the risk of vomiting.

“It is also a good idea to keep a clean litter box available in an easy-to-reach location, so your cat doesn’t have to climb or move too far and you can also use shredded paper instead of cat litter, to prevent dust and dirt from irritating them. If your cat is prone to adventure when they shouldn’t be, consider using a suitably sized crate to keep them safe.”

How much does neutering cost?

Catrin says: “The cost of neutering will vary, however the average for cats tends to be between £170 and £195. In any case, bringing up a litter of kitties is an expensive business – and feeding these extra mouths alone can far exceed the cost of neutering.”

Whatever you decide, it’s important to discuss the options and advice with your vet to determine what’s best for you and your cat. All of your questions can also be discussed with a vet on the Joii app for free if you’re an Animal Friends cat policyholder.

For more information and advice on the spay and neuter procedure for cats please visit the Animal Friends site.


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