Spay and Neuter Up Close : An Overview of the Procedure And Its Benefits To Our Pets

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A spayed cat is a happy cat.
A spayed/neutered cat is a happy cat.

I’m a strong supporter of spay/neuter programs. For a developing country such as the Philippines, spay/neuter is a concept that is surprisingly not too common to the people. Taking the breeders out of the equation, based on my observation, there are 2 major reasons why this practice is not deemed common in the society. One is religion. For some people, it doesn’t feel right to desex their pets and taking their rights to reproduce.  And secondly, its just that not a lot of people know about it. I was even surprised to meet a person that thought spay/neuter only applies to dogs – but not cats. It is the lack of education on responsible pet ownership.

On a brighter note, spay/neuter is increasingly becoming popular in the last few years due to huge efforts of several non-government animal welfare organizations, funded by private citizens and volunteers. Ever since I rescued my first cat, Nishi, I have been a strong supporter of spay/neuter campaigns. I encouraged everyone that I know and acquaintances to the best that I can, to spay/neuter their pets, to the point that I have sponsored several people that I have convinced, and some that just didn’t have the means to do the operation in their beloved pets.

Setting my moral reasons aside why I support spay/neuter programs, I’d like to shed some light in the procedure itself, based on research and vets that I have consulted. There are a number of people that are hesitant to do the procedure to their pets because they do not have a clear idea what they are putting themselves, and their pets in to. I felt the same way too when I had Nishi spayed. I was afraid because I didn’t know. But knowledge is power, and gave me peace of mind. So here’s spay/neuter in details.

Nice to Know : Neuter or Cat Castration (for male cats)

  • Castration or Neuter procedure is performed when the cat is at least 5-6 months old.
  • Operation is performed with general anesthetic.
  • Pet is given an injection of antibiotic to prevent infection, and also a dose of pain killer.
  • Pet wakes up withint 30-60 minutes after the operation is finished. Note that they will be groggy and sort of disoriented – but worry not. This is a normal reaction. They will usually be groggy for the rest of the day.
  • Neuter procedure is a common procedure. You can bring home your pet and care for him the same day of the operation.
  • In rare cases, the vet will not allow you to take your cat home if your cat is still too sleepy and you may be asked to have your pet stay in the clinic overnight for observation. Your cat has too be 100% awake and responsive.
  • Your pet must be confined in the house for a few days to recover, until he’s fully coordinated. Neuter healing process is quite fast, to be honest. The cat is usually back in his old self as early as in 3 days.
  • After the operation, just offer small amount of food and water to your cat. Some animals may vomit after anesthetic, so just give them small amount of food until the next morning.
  • The cat will just have 2 small incisions and there will be small swelling around this area.
  • Your cat will want to lick the wound, but prevent it as much as possible as it may bleed. If it’s uncontrollable, put a cone of shame (Elizabethan collar).
  • You can clean the wound once a day with betadine or saline (1 tsp salt + cup cooled boiled water), and then let it dry.

Nice to Know : Spaying (for female cats)

  • Spaying operation should be performed when the cat is at least 5-6 months old.
  • It is recommended that your cat is spayed before it hits her first heat cycle. It is best to perform the operation on immature stage.
  • It is not recommended to undergo spaying procedure when the cat is currently in heat. Heat cycle usually last for a week, so you need to wait until the cycle has passed before you schedule a spay operation.
  • Procedure is performed under general anesthetic.
  • The vet will make an incision either on the side or on the abdomen. The most common practice is in the abdomen.
  • In a spay procedure, the ovaries and uterus are removed.
  • The incision is closed usually by an absorbable sutures in the muscles and under the skin, and non-absorbable sutures on the skin. The sutures are usually short and small, not too scary.
  • Pet is given an injection of antibiotic to prevent infection, and also a dose of pain killer.
  • Pet wakes up withint 30-60 minutes after the operation is finished. Note that they will be groggy and sort of disoriented – but worry not. This is a normal reaction. They will usually be groggy for the rest of the day
  • Spay procedure is a common procedure. You can bring home your pet and care for her the same day of the operation.
  • In rare cases, the vet will not allow you to take your cat home if your cat is still too sleepy and you may be asked to have your pet stay in the clinic overnight for observation. Your cat has too be 100% awake and responsive.
  • Your pet must be confined in the house for a few days to recover, until she’s fully coordinated. Avoid jumping and strenuous activities for a week. Unlike neuter, spay procedure is more delicate that requires more recovery time for female cats.
  • After the operation, just offer small amount of food and water to your cat. Some animals may vomit after anesthetic, so just give them small amount of food until the next morning.
  • There will be swelling around the sutures which is normal, and may sometimes induce inflammatory reaction. As long as there’s no discharge or puss, and your pet have a good appetite and in her normal behavior, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
  • Your cat will want to lick the wound, but prevent it as much as possible as it may bleed and remove the sutures.  If it’s uncontrollable, put a cone of shame (Elizabethan collar).
  • You can clean the wound once a day with betadine or saline (1 tsp salt + cup cooled boiled water), and then let it dry.

Some information and advantages of neutering/spaying your pet:

  1. Neutering your cat will prevent unfavorable behaviors like spraying urine and marking territories.
  2. Spaying your cat will avoid the messy heat cycle. Your female cat will no longer annoyingly meow ever so loudly to call for mates attention.
  3. It prevents aggression with other cats.
  4. Eliminates the possibility of having breast and ovarian (female), prostrate or testicular (male) problems that can lead to cancer.
  5. The desire of getting out and roam will be lessened because there’s no more urge to find mates. Thus, there will be less chances that your cat can get lost, get in to a fight outdoors, or worst, get hit by a car.
  6. Neutering/spaying your pet doesn’t alter his/her personality.
  7. Neutering/spaying your pet doesn’t make your pet fat. It’s always the diet that makes the cat fat. Applicable to humans. True story.

Special thanks to Ms. Rhea Asumen of VILLAGE VET Veterinary Surgery and Services in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Philippines, for providing the information shared in this blog entry.