If you do not plan to breed your cat, you should seriously consider spaying or neutering. Ottawa has an over-abundance of cats that need homes, so adding to the numbers doesn’t help. We discourage the breeding of cats just to experience the “joys of birth,” as interesting as it is. Serious breeders invest a significant amount of money and time on breeding to reduce genetic problems and to promote positive conformational and behavioural traits. Unless you intend to make a career from breeding, you should consider the risks of not having your pet altered.
Female cats have seasonal periods of heats (times when they can breed), usually during winter and spring, during which time they will attract any males in the vicinity. Unexpected breeding accounts for many of the cats surrendered to shelters and humane societies.
Intact female cats are at a significantly higher risk for infections of the uterus called pyometra, which can be life threatening, and also for mammary cancer. Intact male cats may have a greater urge to “wander,” particularly if they sense a female in heat. Aggression between male cats can be a problem, as can excessive marking behaviour with urine.
Spaying is usually performed after six months of age and involves abdominal surgery to remove her uterus and ovaries. She will not have any more heats and cannot develop infections of the uterus afterwards. Neutering the male cat involves removal of both testicles.
Both procedures are performed under full anesthesia, but the pet goes home the same day as the surgery. We strongly recommend a pre-anesthetic blood test in the week prior to surgery to assess kidney and liver function, blood volume and sugar and protein levels, all of which are important for safe anesthesia. Pets are placed on intravenous fluids through a catheter in their front leg during the surgery to help maintain blood pressure. Their heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and blood-oxygen levels are constantly monitored to ensure a safe anesthetic procedure.
Following surgery, we advise the pet owner to keep the cat quiet, if possible. The sutures are absorbable, and buried below the skin, so there is no need for them to be removed once the healing has occurred.
Please ask us if you have further questions regarding anesthesia or surgery for your kitten.