There are many advantages of neutering pets and, especially for cats, the main reason is to prevent overpopulation. Other reasons include attempting to reduce certain behavioural problems, prevent or cure some diseases or simply for the aesthetics of future generations. Overall, in addition to increasing the life expectancy of the cat, stress levels will be reduced thus increasing the quality of that life.
It will prevent overpopulation
Sterilising female and male cats means that they cannot produce offspring. As a result, this will reduce the number of potentially unwanted kittens becoming strays and roaming the streets. Attempting to re-home kittens can be time consuming and possibly expensive if there are any complications. The majority of even the most responsible owners do not have the time or energy to cope with a litter of what can be around five hungry kittens. Thousands of cats, including unwanted kittens, are being put down every year as a result of too many cats and too few owners. Reducing this problem will allow animal charities and centres to concentrate their efforts on older cats in desperate need of new owners.
Modern breeders produce aesthetically desirable cats in order to sell on these pets for high prices or to enter and win competitions. Sterilising cats with unfavourable characteristics will result in economic losses for these breeders. However, not all selective breeding is for this purpose. Neutering tomcats with genetic disorders, such as cryptorchidism, means that the diseases cannot be inherited by future generations.
The advantages of castrating a male cat
It can reduce spraying
In order to mark their territory, tomcats “spray” their urine on particular areas and unfortunately this occurs within the home, especially on furniture. After castration, the cat will no longer be able to produce the hormone which accounts for its territorial instincts. As a result, the cat should stop this behaviour.
It can reduce roaming
Without the instinctual drive to search for a mate, castrated males are less likely to wander for long distances. As a result of this, the likelihood of the cat getting lost or being hit by a car should be significantly reduced. Due to the removal of the source of its sexual behaviour, the cat is often less stressed and has a lower anxiety level since the attempting to escape and find a female cat will be decreased.
It can reduce dominant, aggressive behaviour
Many owners of entire male cats will be aware that their pets are defensive of their territory. This will lead to the tomcats fighting or trying to dominate female cats in the area. The cat will therefore be more likely to get injured which can sometimes be fatal. Wounds resulting from the cats involved in the fights are open to infection from the opposing tomcats and as such, diseases including feline leukaemia may be transmitted. Thus, the castrate is estimated to have a longer life expectancy as this behaviour is reduced. It does not, however, affect the cat’s playfulness or hunting activity.
It can prevent certain diseases
Body malfunctions such as testicular cancer or prostate diseases can be prevented following the removal of the testicles. Unfortunately it is not an uncommon disease and so veterinary surgeons often advise castration as a result of this.
The advantages of spaying a female cat
It can prevent certain cancer
Mammary cancer is mostly the result of the reproductive hormones in the female cat and so removing the main source of the problem reduces the risk of the disease. Other cancerous tumours can occur within the reproductive tract and, though they are not seen particularly often in cats, spaying will prevent them from occurring.
It can prevent pyometra
Pyometra is an infection in which the uterus can become filled with pus. It is a very uncomfortable, painful and generally fatal disease which can be treated by an emergency spaying operation. The cost of the emergency spay is very expensive and the procedure in itself can be difficult to perform. Even if the operation encounters no complications, the stress caused for both owner and animal could have been avoided had the cat originally been spayed. Also, problems lasting for the remainder of the pet’s life can occur despite the possible success of the operation.
It can prevent some behavioural problems
When a female cat is on heat, it will call or search for prospective mates. This can occur in the middle of the night and the owners can find themselves woken up due to frequent howling. Furthermore, tomcats will be attracted by this calling and those within hearing distance will attempt to come into the home and will crowd the area surrounding it. During this period it is also not uncommon for the female cats to spray urine. After sterilisation, female cats no longer go on heat and so these problems will be averted.