This is a sponsored post by veterinarian Elizabeth Arguelles, owner of Just Cats Clinic at Lake Anne Plaza. She writes weekly on Reston Now.
It can be tempting for pet owners to forgo spaying or neutering their cats. Letting “nature take its course” by avoiding an “unnecessary” or “elective” surgical procedure can seem like a better option to many. However, it can pose serious health risks and unwanted behaviors and can cause unnecessary increases in your community’s cat population.
What does spaying or neutering entail?
Spaying (for females) is a surgical procedure in which the cat’s reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus) are removed. Neutering takes the testicles out of male cats.
What are the benefits to your cat?
Longer and healthier lives: In addition to preventing unwanted pregnancies, spaying helps keep female kitties from developing uterine infections and even breast cancer, which is fatal in approximately 90 percent of the cats who contract it. To ensure that the kitty gets the maximum protection, you should spay before its first “heat” or reproductive period.
In male cats, neutering prevents testicular cancer if done with in the first six months of life.
What are the benefits to your community?
Population control.Neutering and spaying reduces the stray cat population in your area and helps reduce the number of cats who are euthanized. Unfortunately, millions of cats are picked up off the streets every year, given to shelters and put to sleep due to overcrowding. This huge population of strays is largely the result of unplanned litters that could have easily been prevented by spaying or neutering the parents.
What are the benefits to you as a pet owner?
A quieter and cleaner house. An unspayed female cat will normally go into heat for four to five days every three weeks for the entire duration of its breeding years. During those periods, she will try to signal to male cats that she is receptive by yowling incessantly and urinating in your house. Spaying eliminates this behavior. Better behaved male kitties.
Unneutered cats tend to be more territorial and aggressive toward other cats. They are therefore more likely to urinate in the house and to get in fights with other nearby felines. Indoor cats will try to sneak out of the house to look for reproductive opportunities, exposing them to additional dangers outdoors and potential health risks. Neutering generally reduces these aggressive and unsafe behaviors.
Cost savings. The cost of spaying or neutering is usually far less than caring for a litter of cats. When having your cat spayed or neutered, always make sure to get labwork to ensure it is safe for them to undergo anesthesia and make sure you are sent home with pain medication to help them recover. Spaying or neutering your cat is an affordable, safe, and responsible decision that ultimately helps control populations, provides lifelong health benefits for your cat, and creates a better household environment for you.