Neutering In Good Time
It may not seem like late spring to us, but for the cats of Cambridge, kitten season is well underway. We are very much enjoying meeting lots of new feline bundles of joy. One of my favourite aspects of my job is watching kittens growing up and becoming happy and healthy adults in loving homes. I am always amazed how early kittens learn how best to manipulate their humans and how easily we are trained to do as we are told!
Of course not all kittens are lucky enough to end up with the right start and there are still far too many unwanted cats and kittens that need to find the right homes. This time of year really brings it to home for me as we see an explosion of requests for help with our subsidised neutering, often for cats that have just kittened, are pregnant or in season. The Egyptian god of fertility was a cat for good reason…
Apart from controlling the overall cat population, neutering your cat has lots of benefits for you and your cat. Neutered male and female cats are more content as pets, and less driven by their hormones. Cats in season are noisy and unsettled and males looking for ladies are prone to roaming and fighting which puts them at a greater risk of disease and injury! The risk of certain cancers is almost reduced to zero if cats are neutered, as are problems such as womb infections or mammary problems. Lastly, cats with kittens are more active hunters, as they instinctively kill to provide for their young. Indirectly, neutering may also reduce the pressure on our wildlife population.
It is a common fallacy that it is beneficial for a cat to have one litter. There is definitely no evidence for this and certainly no logical reason for it to be true. In fact, new research has shown that it is best for us to neuter our kittens before they reach sexual maturity. At the clinic, we would suggest that we stagger the stresses of kitten hood: rehoming, vaccination and neutering. This means that we tend to neuter at around 4 months of age; a couple of weeks after the vaccination course has been completed. Traditionally, vets would neuter cats from 6 months, which was not based on any scientific reason and meant that many cats were already showing signs of sexual behaviour. We perform what is known as ‘early neutering’, but hope with increased awareness of scientific advances, this is less unusual and more clinics adopt our approach.
The kittens we neuter seem to take the actual op in their stride:
We use very precise and modern anaesthetic protocols and monitoring and are very experienced with the somewhat more demanding surgical technique required for our little patients. In contrast to older kittens and cats, we have found that the young kittens heal faster and recover more rapidly. Most owners report that their kitten wasn’t even drowsy the same evening; often they were looking forward to a night off!
If you would like find out more about our neutering procedure, we can provide a step-by-step guide to what to expect when your cat comes in, through to their post op check. For the international cat group policy statement regarding early neutering, click here.