Sterilization of the cat: why, advantages, disadvantages

  Sterilization of the cat: why, advantages, disadvantages

Sterilization of the cat: why, advantages, disadvantages

Sterilization of the cat is an important choice to make for the future life of your kitten: you are probably wondering why this intervention is recommended, and the advantages and disadvantages it entails.

In addition to its price, which may set some owners back, sterilization is really beneficial for practical aspects but also, and this is less well known, for your pet's health. This file will provide you with the necessary elements to weigh the pros and cons, and make your decision with all the cards in hand.

Why has your cat been sterilized?

If the first reason seems obvious – to prevent reproduction – sterilization has the advantage of completely eliminating heat, which can last up to 8 consecutive months. During this period, the cat will seek to breed and often adopt embarrassing behaviors, starting with repeated meowing that can make life difficult for the whole household...

The first heats take place at the puberty of the cat, between 6 and 9 months, and the signs are generally not wrong: your kitty is more cuddly than usual, in constant demand for attention, rubs everywhere, and turns away from food and games. It also happens that she tries to get out insistently, defecates next to the litter, and above all, she will let out desperate meows, sometimes day and night, intended to attract males. Thus, the problems encountered in unsterilized cats are primarily behavioral, but there are also medical issues.

What are the health benefits of the cat?

Contrary to popular belief, the cat will not experience sterilization as mutilation and does not need to have babies to be happy and balanced. On the contrary, an unsterilized female who is never able to mate can develop disorders due to frustration (irritability, distant behavior, obsessions) as well as hormonal disorders that can cause ovarian, uterine, and mammary tumors. However, sterilization performed before the first heat considerably reduces the risk of the appearance of mammary tumors.

The later the intervention, the less benefit it offers and it will no longer have any beneficial effect beyond 2 years. Sterilization also has the advantage of reducing the risk of contamination by sexually transmitted diseases such as FIV, a fatal disease known as cat AIDS.

The disadvantages of sterilization

Sterilization has the disadvantage of promoting weight gain in most cats. In addition to this physiological reaction, the kitty risks becoming more greedy and demanding more. It is important not to give in and give him food at regular intervals, without starving him because the hormonal change due to sterilization can really increase his appetite.

The best solution is to invest in less rich croquettes and mix them with mash made from low-fat meat (chicken, lamb, game, duck) or fish (tuna, salmon). Combining kibble with wet food has the merit of satisfying enough, and therefore limiting bulimic behavior. In general, a well-adapted diet will be enough to avoid being overweight.

How is the operation going?

Sterilization consists of an oophorectomy: the veterinarian will remove the cat's ovaries under general anesthesia. The animal must be brought on an empty stomach the morning of the operation and will remain half a day in the practice. At the time of anesthesia, an analgesic injection is performed to limit pain upon awakening. Then, the doctor makes two small incisions on the sides of the cat (or sometimes a single incision below the navel) and proceeds to the extraction of the ovaries.

The wound will then be sutured with threads which will fall out on their own after a few weeks. You can come and pick up your kitty once awake, even if she may remain a little "groggy" in the following hours! She can resume her normal life immediately.

How much does it cost?

The cat ovariectomy costs between 100$ and 200 $. This operation is also offered by dispensaries (through the SPA or other departmental or regional associations) where it is often less expensive or even free subject to income conditions. 

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