Some people are surprised when I tell them that my female cats are spayed. They have this misconception that only male dogs and cats can be fixed or neutered. I am always glad to reassure them that female cats, as well as female dogs, can be fixed. The female pets are the ones who must be spayed to prevent unplanned pregnancies. On average, a female cat can give birth to one to eight kittens per litter and approximately two to three litters per year. This is how fast the number of cats in one household can multiply in a year and the reason why spaying or neutering your pet cats is very important.
Some fur parents are worried that the spay/neuter procedure is painful for their pets. The procedure is generally safe. The vet will check first if the pet is healthy enough to get spayed or neutered. During the procedure, the pets are anesthetized so they don’t feel any pain. They might be groggy after the procedure but they will be okay provided the pet owner will j follow the post-surgery instructions of the veterinarian. I, too, was apprehensive when my cat Diego was neutered back in 2014. I was expecting him to take it slow for the next few days, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was his old playful self the next day.
How can a cat parent tell if their cat is in heat? These are the common signs that indicate the cat is looking for a mate:
– vocalization (the cat “talks” a lot)
– wants to go outside (if the cat is an indoor cat)
– more affectionate than usual
– rolls on the floor
– raises their rear end into the air when stroked along the back
Admittedly, getting your pet cat fixed can be expensive. Some private veterinary clinics charge from 5,000 to 10,000 pesos. Fortunately, some clinics offer low-cost spay/neuter procedures. There are also local government units that offer these procedures for free. You can inquire at your city veterinary office if they offer such a service.
These are the benefits of spaying or neutering your cat:
The life span of a fixed cat is noticeably longer than that of an unfixed one.
In 2013, Banfield Pet Hospital examined the medical data of 460,000 cats. The study showed that spayed female cats live 39% longer and neutered male cats live 62% longer. Furthermore, fixed cats have lower chances of getting life-threatening illnesses such as mammary gland tumors/cancer, prostate cancer, uterine infections, and pyometra.
A fixed indoor cat has less desire to roam outside.
A fixed cat is unlikely to look for a mate so there is less tendency to sneak out of the house. Additionally, there is a reduced risk of your cat getting hit by a vehicle or getting lost.
Helps eliminate urine spraying.
Urine spraying is a common instinct in male cats. Getting your cat fixed can prevent this occurrence.
Helps prevent cat aggression.
Unfixed cats tend to mark their territory, so they often get into a fight with other cats. Some cats, not all, have less inclination to fight with other cats after they’ve been fixed.
You are helping reduce the stray cat overpopulation in your community.
Hundreds of newborn cats and kittens are abandoned every day because pet owners can no longer afford to keep them. Most abandoned kittens do not survive, and those who do will eventually get pregnant when they’re old enough. Unless they are rescued or fostered, they will give birth on the street. This is how the number of stray animals increases every year. By getting your pets spayed or neutered, you are ensuring that no unplanned pet pregnancy will ever occur in your household.
There are animal welfare volunteers who do TNR (Trap-Neuter_Return) within their community. These dedicated volunteers capture stray cats so they can take them to a vet clinic for spaying or neutering. The cats are returned to their original location after a few days of recovery. These cats have clipped ears or a tattoo inside of their ear to distinguish them from unfixed ones. This is an effective method of preventing community cats from getting pregnant.
About the author: Rowena David is faculty member at College of Computer Science in the University of Makati, is a freelance writer (Tagalog short novels), admin of Philippine Pet Lovers Society Facebook page, an animal rescuer and animal welfare advocate.