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The number of cats owned as pets in the United Kingdom now exceeds the number of pet dogs and will continue to rise in years to come. Cat owners should consider surgical neutering as part of responsible pet ownership.
Cats become sexually active from five to six months of age. The reproductive cycle of the female is approximately three weeks long during which time she will come into season or come on call for two to four days. It is during this time that she will be attractive to male cats, will look to mate, and will very likely become pregnant. Cats are more sexually active in the spring and the autumn.
For behavioural and medical reasons, surgical neutering is recommended.
Surgical Neutering of female cats involves a full ovariohysterectomy, where the whole reproductive tract is removed under general anaesthesia. This is usually performed through a small incision in the flank. Patients are usually allowed home the same day and have their external stitches - if placed - removed after around 10 days. It is not recommended to neuter a cat during a season.
Surgical neutering of male cats involves removal of both testicles (Castration) under general anaesthesia. Patients are returned home the same day and are reviewed only as necessary.
Neutering may increase the tendency for male and female cats to gain weight. However, in our opinion, this will only occur if the cat is overfed, under exercised, or more usually, both.
At Sheriffs Highway Veterinary Hospital we are in favour of all male and female cats, unless intended for breeding, being surgically neutered.
Castration may be carried out for therapeutic reasons (treatment of orchitis, perineal hernia, testical tumours or prostatis), social reasons or as part of a neutering programme. Occasionally, castration is recommended to control behaviour problems such as roaming, excessive libido or aggression. Castration can have a positive effect on such problems but should never be done as a 'quick fix' as there is no guarantee that it will change what may have become a learned behaviour.
Castration involves making an incision just in front of the scrotum and removing the testes. The skin is then closed with suture. There are few complications associated with the healing of the surgical site. The patient is usually allowed home the same day.
Neutering or speying of bitches involves a full ovariohysterectomy, where the whole reproductive tract is removed. Patients are usually allowed home the same day, we see them back for a checkover around 3-5 days after surgery and again at 10 days after surgery.
Neutering may increase the tendency for male and female dogs to gain weight. However, in our opinion, this will only occur if the dog is either overfed or under exercised or, more usually, both.
At Sheriff's Highway Veterinary Hospital, we are in favour of all female dogs, unless intended for breeding, being surgically neutered.