Most vets and animal shelters encourage pet owners to spay or neuter cats before taking them into their homes. Having a cat “fixed” is a great way to help limit the population of local strays. Most veterinarian clinics offer the procedure at a reduced price. Many pet owners find that the cost to spay/neuter a cat is less than having to pay for complications down the road as a result of not having the procedure performed.
Reasons to Spay/Neuter a Cat
Obviously, the main reason to spay/neuter a cat is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, having a cat fixed has additional benefits as well. Neutering a male cat will decrease its desire to wander, keeping it closer to home. Roaming cats have a greater risk of getting lost and of contracting diseases, such as feline leukemia. Additionally, neutering a male cat should help reduce its tendency to mark its territory or fight. For females, spaying will eliminate the heat cycle and normalize hormones. A spayed or neutered cat will also have a reduced risk of cancers of the reproductive organs. As a result, the cost of neutering has the potential to save a pet owner a substantial amount of money in the long run.
Spaying and Neutering Considerations
A spayed or neutered animal will not be able to reproduce. Pet owners wishing to breed a cat in the future should take this into account. However, having a cat altered will improve overall health and may even add years to its lifespan. Spayed and neutered cats tend to be calmer than unfixed felines. Many pet owners with children choose to have cats fixed to make feisty, aggressive felines more docile and less of a threat to toddlers and babies. Some fixed cats gain weight after the procedure. This is due to hormonal and activity level changes. Many cat owners find it necessary to monitor a pet’s food intake after the surgery has been performed. Otherwise, spaying and neutering are quite safe.
The Cost of Spaying and Neutering
The average cost to spay/neuter a cat can range anywhere between $50 and $100. Neutering tends to cost less because it is a less complicated procedure than having a cat spayed. The total cost of the procedure usually covers the surgery and anesthesia as well as hospitalization. Most vets will check liver and kidney function prior to surgery. This can add $30 to $50 to the cost of the procedure. Vets also tack on an additional $50 if the cat is pregnant, in heat, or overweight. To spay/neuter a cat helps ease the burden on animal shelters. As a result, many shelters and vet clinics are eager to fix pets at a reduced cost. Cat owners should get price estimates from several animal hospitals to find the best prices.
Pre Surgery Care
Before a cat can be spayed or neutered, the vet must ensure the animal has a clean bill of health. Weight, age, breed, and activity level are all factors that a vet will take into consideration when deciding whether or not a cat is ready for surgery. Cats under six pounds or that are younger than six weeks of age are not able to be spayed or neutered. Overweight or underweight cats may be required to follow a specific diet for a few weeks prior to the procedure to improve overall health and reduce post-operative recovery time. Cats that are recovering from unrelated surgeries or injuries may be required to heal completely before being spayed or neutered. Cats must also be up to date on all shots.
Some vets will keep cats hospitalized for a few days after the procedure to monitor for infection or complications. This is usually included in the initial cost to spay/neuter a cat. Owners of a newly fixed cat should keep the animal calm. Put the cat in a quiet room and keep it away from other pets. Provide the cat with a comfortable place to hide, such as a pet carrier. Ensure that the cat has plenty of fresh water to drink to prevent dehydration. Provide recovering cats with a covered litter box, and limit food intake for the first few days. It is safe to pet and dote on the recuperating cat. However, try not to let the cat run around or become hyper, as this can cause stitches to tear and delay recovery time.
While there are several considerations pet owners should take into account before making a decision, having a cat fixed has more advantages than disadvantages. The initial cost to spay/neuter a cat may prevent many pet owners from having the procedure performed. However, having a cat fixed helps improve the animal’s quality of life while also ensuring that it is a pleasure to have in the home as a family pet.