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Cat Spay or Neuter - Everything You Need to Know About Cat Spaying and Neutering

What is cat neutering?

Neutering cats, or any animal, is removing the testicles. So that's in male cats. It's stopping that hormonal influence.

Dr. Julia Zuercher
Animal Hospital of Statesville

What is spaying a cat?

Spaying is in females, and that is removing the ovaries and the uterus so that she doesn't have the hormones in her body, but she also cannot get pregnant.

How does spaying or neutering impact the health and wellbeing of my cat?

Spaying and neutering cats can have a bunch of health benefits. For males, especially, as they start to grow into their hormones, they can get those classic Tomcat attributes, like the bigger face structure, but also the smell that comes along with it. If you're not planning to breed your cat, then it's just not worth it. I recommend neutering before that.

I think once you smell what that smells like, everybody would neuter their cats because it's just something that doesn't really go away. It doesn't seem to affect some people, strangely enough.

How soon should you bring your cat to the veterinarian to get spayed or neutered?

We recommend spaying and neutering pets around six months of age, especially our cats. We can do it before then if there's a particular concern or depending on their size. We can do it at any point throughout their life, but cats tend to mature faster than dogs. So six months tend to be a reasonable estimate for most cats.

How will spaying or neutering affect my cat's behavior?

Similar to what we talked about in dogs, stopping the hormonal influence can also stop some of the issues we see in pets. Sometimes it stops some of the aggression, but the bigger thing is a behavior related to mating. Females in heat will vocalize and want a boy. Males try to get to the female, wander, and do urine marking. Things like that are all at play with the hormone.

I would recommend doing a cat spay before all that happens. When cats go into heat, unlike dogs, they cycle much more quickly. So it can be for weeks. They can come out for a few days and go right back in, unlike in dogs, where there tends to be more span between heat cycles. Cats tend to go throughout the warm months.

How should I care for my cat before and after spaying or neutering surgery?

The biggest thing with the procedure is keeping them quiet for a few days after. Allow the incisions to heal. If they run around and jump in or are too crazy, the concern is always that they could loosen a stitch. So keep them quiet. We give pain medication after surgery that's long-lasting, so you don't need to do anything on your end, but that does keep them comfortable. And, of course, make sure that they don't lick or chew at the incision since that could also cause some problems.

Outdoor cats should be kept inside for ideally about a week after this procedure, just to prevent anything from getting into the incision, allowing for an infection. Keeping them in a warm environment, like even just a garage, can make a big difference for outdoor cats after the procedure.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (704) 802-1280, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Cat Spaying and Neutering - FAQs

Dr. Julia Zuercher
Animal Hospital of Statesville

After the surgery, will my veterinarian give me postoperative instructions?

Yes, definitely. We will send you home with written instructions. Our technicians will go over everything, and we'll talk with you on the phone after the procedure as well. So you'll get it in lots of avenues to help. I know it can be overwhelming sometimes, so if you have questions, write them down. That way, you won't be all flustered and try to remember what the questions were that you needed to be answered. The technician or the doctor will answer it for you.

How long is the recovery time after my cat's spay or neuter?

Since neuters are a little bit less invasive, they tend to heal a little bit quicker. We don't put stitches in the male, so it's just keeping them a little quiet. It's usually about five to seven days of keeping them quiet. We will get them back to normal. Sometimes they act like nothing happened the second they wake up, but I recommend treating them with kid gloves for a couple of days since they did have surgery. They deserve to be spoiled. In females, since we do go into the abdomen to take out the uterus, it's a little bit more invasive. It's about a week to 10 days of just keeping them quiet and comfortable. We do a good job managing pain, so they tend to stay comfortable. Again, it's more about keeping them from being too active. That's the problem more than anything else.

Will my cat need pain medication at home after the spay or neuter?

We give pain medication before, during, and after the procedure, and we give a long-acting pain medication after surgery so that you guys don't have to worry about pills or liquid or anything, especially with outdoor cats. We don't send you home with anything unless you feel they need it.

Will my cat gain weight after a spay or neuter?

It's possible. Usually, that has less to do with the spay and neuter itself and more that we tend to do those procedures around the same time their metabolism is slowing down anyway. They're maturing and becoming an adult. It's kind of like hitting your thirties. It's the same thing in our cats. We do watch their diet, but we do that regardless of their age, making sure they don't put on too much weight.

Will my cat's personality change after being spayed or neutered?

Usually no. We get this question from two angles. Some people have very sweet, loving cats, and they worry that will change, and it doesn't. Or, they have a little more rambunctious animals that they're hoping will change after the surgery. While some behaviors can change, a lot of the ones people want to change, like hyperactivity and those attributes, are not affected by the procedure. Some of those behaviors are learned and not affected by the lack of hormones. So it's not a cure-all for behavioral problems. It doesn't hurt, but it may not help.

Will my tomcat stop running away if I neuter him?

He'll have a lesser chance. Some behaviors are learned. So especially in older male cats, it may become a pattern, which is why we recommend neutering younger ones before these have a chance to become a pattern. By removing the testosterone, they will not want to chase a female or at least not be hormonally directed to chase a female or mark with urine because we'll be removing that influence. But if you wait too long and they've already learned that it's not guaranteed. Sometimes it does get better, but it doesn't always go back to zero if you have a 10-year-old tomcat who's outdoors and used to doing his thing. Although, it certainly doesn't hurt. I still recommend it for numerous other health reasons. Behavior is always one of those things, but it's not guaranteed to fix all problems. He may be adventurous, and he'll stay that way.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (704) 802-1280, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Cat Spaying and Neutering - FAQs 2

Dr. Julia Zuercher
Animal Hospital of Statesville

Why is spaying or neutering a cat so important?

There are numerous reasons why spaying and neutering a cat is so important. With our females, the concern is always unplanned pregnancies and some medical conditions like uterine infection, which can be life-threatening. In our males, again, unplanned pregnancies, but also some of the hormonal influence leading to urine marking, trying to find the females when they're in heat, and that general tomcat smell.

My cat sprays all over the house. Will neutering help?

It certainly can. We recommend neutering sooner, as early as six months, sometimes a little before then, because as it goes on, sometimes behaviors can become habits. So a 10-year-old cat who's used to doing it may be driven by more than the hormones. Especially in our younger pets, it should help since a lot of that is a hormone-based behavior.

Should I let my cat have a litter before I spay her?

I would recommend against it. This time of year, especially. This is filmed in spring. There are so many cats out there that need homes and have kittens, especially in denser populations, where there are more cats than we have homes for. So cats don't have that maternal need like some people feel. It's more just hormones telling them to do things. Unless you really have a plan for the kittens, there are so many kittens in shelters that need homes. I would recommend against doing it for the sake of doing it. Mom doesn't need it, and we have more kittens.

Don't wait because they become sexually mature very early.

You don't want to think of your little kitten as having those tendencies, but suddenly they're pregnant, and then that's not the time you want to make that decision.

Along those lines, there can be complications with pregnancy, like needing C-section and emergency situations. So it can be stressful to have kittens and a financial strain, more so than just simply having the kittens. It's not all just, they have them, and they all go away and find their homes. There's a lot more to it.

Will spaying or neutering make my cat less vocal?

It can. That is especially true for females. When the hormones kick in, they tend to tell you, and removing the hormones and the ovaries can help prevent that or at least minimize how vocal they are. Females come in and out of heat during the warmer months. So it can be several weeks, and they go out for a couple of days and come right back in. Unlike dogs, where they go into heat and come out for several months before going back in, cats can be in heat the whole summer long.

Why do the female cats scream all the time?

It's a mating call. The thought is basically that they're trying to alert the males, "Hey, I'm here. I'm ready. Come get me."

It's loud, to say the least, but the boys come running in, so I guess it works.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (704) 802-1280, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Cat Spay Fees

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:

The cat ovariohysterectomy, or spay surgery, includes:

  • Surgical removal of the cat’s ovaries and uterus,
  • Monitoring of your cat’s temperature, EKG, heart rate and blood pressure during surgery by a highly-trained technician.
  • An anesthesia IV catheter
  • Post-op pain injection
  • Send-home medications to control pain
  • K-laser post-op therapy to help the surgical site heal more quickly.
  • Monitoring during recovery by a technician.
  • Complimentary pedicure
  • A hazardous waste disposal fee

Cat Basic Spay Fee: $235.40*

*In-heat or pregnant cats will incur an additional fee. It is also highly recommended that owners opt for the Co2 surgical laser, especially in these cases, as it helps decrease blood loss and pain and helps the surgical site heal more quickly.

Highly Recommended Optional Services:**

  • Co2 Surgical Laser: $73.50
  • EKG: $27.00
  • Blood Screen (PREA): $75.50
  • Blood Screen (PREB): $146.50
  • Microchip & registration: $71.50

**Your veterinarian will recommend the blood work panel, PREA or PREB, depending on the age and the health of your pet. The PREB is more comprehensive than the PREA. The EKG screens your pet’s heart BEFORE surgery. The Surgical Laser is used to make incisions and sear the blood vessels and nerve endings which means less blood loss and decreased pain for your pet. A microchip is a permanent form of identification implanted under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades.

Cat Neuter Fees

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:

The basic cat surgical neuter includes:

  • Surgical removal of the cat’s testicles
  • Post-op pain injection
  • Send-home medications to control pain
  • K-laser post-op therapy to help the surgical site heal more quickly.
  • Monitoring during recovery by a technician.
  • Complimentary pedicure
  • A hazardous waste disposal fee

Cat Basic Neuter $ 65.00*

*Your male cat may incur an additional fee if his testicles are not descended (where they’re supposed to be). This charge varies, depending on whether the testicles are close to the surface or buried deep in the abdomen.

Highly Recommended Optional Services:**

  • EKG: $27.00
  • Blood Screen (PREA): $75.50
  • Blood Screen (PREB): $146.50
  • Microchip & registration: $71.50

**Your veterinarian will recommend the blood work panel, PREA or PREB, depending on the age and the health of your pet. The PREB is more comprehensive than the PREA. The EKG screens your pet’s heart BEFORE surgery. A microchip is a permanent form of identification implanted under the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades.

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