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Just for Kids: Spaying or Neutering Your Cat

By: Virginia Wells

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When your kitten is about 6 months old or maybe even younger, it's time to have an operation so that he or she won't have kittens. If your cat is male, we call it a neuter operation. If your cat is female, we call it a spay. Your new pet may already be neutered or spayed when you bring him or her home because many cats have the surgery very young – even as early as eight weeks.

Pet overpopulation is a serious problem and by allowing your cat to have litters, you are adding to the problem. Cats can have kittens twice a year. That's a lot of kittens. When people let their cats have kittens when there is no one to take care of them, the kittens become strays or end up in cat shelters. If nobody adopts them, they are eventually euthanized. Finding homes for your new family additions is not as easy as you may think.

Spaying and neutering do more than prevent your cat from having kittens. It also keeps your pet healthy.

Spaying

Your veterinarian calls spay surgery an ovariohysterectomy, which means removal of the ovaries and the uterus from a female kitten. These are the reasons to spay your kitten:

  • It prevents your cat from going into heat.
  • It prevents your cat from getting pregnant.
  • It makes your cat more gentle and affectionate.
  • It may help prevent your cat from getting breast cancer later in life.
  • It prevents your cat from getting an infection in the uterus later in life.
  • It prevents cancer of the uterus or ovaries.

    Neuter

    Your veterinarian calls neuter surgery an orchiectomy or castration, which means removal of the testicles from a male kitten. These are the reasons to neuter your kitten:

  • It prevents your kitten from getting a female kitten pregnant.
  • It makes your kitten more gentle and affectionate.
  • It will keep your kitten from roaming and getting into fights with other animals.
  • It prevents your kitten from getting cancer of the testicles or prostate gland later in life.
  • It helps prevent your cat from spraying urine in the house.

    The Surgery

    Your veterinarian will do the operation in a veterinary hospital. This takes about 30 minutes and is very safe for your kitten. There are some simple things you will have to do to get your kitten ready:

  • Take away all food and water when you go to bed the evening before surgery.
  • Do not give your kitten anything to eat or drink during the morning of the surgery.
  • Take your kitten to the hospital at the time specified by your veterinarian. This is usually around 7:30 a.m.
  • Give your kitten lots of hugs and praise to make him or her feel safe.
  • Pick your kitten up later in the day or the following day when your veterinarian says it's all right.
  • Follow instructions when you get home concerning care of your kitten.

    Home Care

    When you bring your pet home, he or she will feel fine, but may be tired and want to sleep. Keep your kitty quiet and don't play rough until your veterinarian says it's okay. This is usually about two weeks.

    Don't let your kitten lick or chew any stitches. If this happens, you may have to use a special collar called an E-collar so your kitten can't reach the surgery area. Have your parents check the stitches or surgery area every day to make sure they are healing properly. Your doctor will remove them in 10 to 14 days.

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