By: Dr. MG Mohamed Ali and Dr. B Nagarajan
New Delhi: Do you have a cat who is 6 months or older? Then, it is time to get it sterilized or neutered. It offers benefits to both you and your beloved companion. Why is it important to sterilize a cat? You will have fewer unwanted litter and fewer worries as a parent.
Sterilization is a process by which your veterinarian will render your cat sterile and it is different for a female cat and a male cat. When a female cat undergoes this process, it is known as spaying, while when a male cat receives the same treatment, it is known as neutering. However, the surgical procedures for both use anaesthesia to make your pet more comfortable.
The reproductive cycle of a cat is unique. A cat can have several oestrous cycles, especially in darker months of the year and multiple pregnancies within a single reproductive season. The queen in its breeding life easily can give birth to more than 100 kittens! Hence, it is important to control breeding in cats, shares Dr. B Nagarajan.
A lot of pet parents contemplate whether they should get their pets sterilized or not. It is completely safe, and your vet can guide you through the procedure. Sterilization of pets early in their life prevents the development of hormone-mediated diseases like mammary gland cancer, which in cats is more than 90 to 95 per cent malignant. In the case of male cats, it prevents the development of unacceptable behaviour like urine spraying and marking if performed at a young age tells Dr. MG Mohamed Ali.
Why is it important to spay or neuter?
Sterilization helps to curb the overpopulation of cats, as a result, it reduces the chances of unwanted mating, unfair euthanizing, and unhealthy strays. According to the Statista Research Department, in India, there were nearly two million cats in the year 2018 and the population is forecasted to reach approximately two and a half million by the end of 2023. Stray cats make up a majority portion of said figure. To reduce the number of homeless cats, it is important to ensure that sterilization takes place. If sterilization is not undertaken, a large percentage of the cat population will not only suffer from homelessness, but also have an increased probability of suffering from germs and parasites, exposure to the elements, and injuries from vehicles and predators.
Sterilization of your cat will increase his/her chance of a longer and healthier life. Altering your canine friend will increase his life by an average of 1 to 3 years and up to 3 to 5 years in felines. Sterilization of cats helps prevent health problems related to the secretion of sex hormones. Neutered animals have a low risk of falling prey to tumours in the uterus and ovaries, further preventing testicular, mammalian, or ovarian cancer.
Several studies show the advantages of spaying or neutering a cat before it turns 5 months old, or about the time it achieves sexual maturity. Earlier it was at the age of their first litter, but now veterinarians prefer to neuter cats at the age of sexual arousal. Pet owners sometimes believe that the best age for spaying and neutering is 6 to 9 months or older. However, spaying or neutering your cat before 5 months of age is important.
Neutering a cat reduces or eliminates the urge to spray urine on vertical walls and other areas which leads to a pungent odour. Female cats also pass bodily fluids with scents when they go into heat. By spaying, this problem will get solved. Neutered cats are at a lower risk of contracting infectious diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV). FIV is spread through fighting and biting (via infected saliva and blood).
Do cats behave differently after spaying/ neutering?
Mostly No. Your cat will quickly return to her old, playful self after neutering. Be assured she will stay the same cat you’ve always loved.
Recovery after sterilization in cats is brilliant. The typical feline responds to having reproductive organs removed with quiet behaviour and decreased appetite for a day or two. Rather than being affected by pain, most cats appear to be more impacted by the calming qualities of anaesthesia and painkillers.
Healing of male cats typically takes 5-7 days for basic neuters. Healing time following abdominal surgery is typically 10–14 days. Some of the common signs of recovery in cats are sleeping more, slow walking, jumping less, and feeling zoned out due to medications.
The benefits of sterilizing your cat will always offset its drawbacks. Yes, it can be a little scary to take your beloved cat to the vet for surgery, but the risks of unwanted kittens, your cat escaping outdoors and getting into trouble with other animals are far greater. Talk to your vet about neutering your cat if you haven’t already.
People should be educated on this sensitive issue of sterilization and make a better world for pets tomorrow to lead a happy and healthy life.
“Post-sterilization, the pet may have a tendency to put on more body weight leading to obesity and related health issues which can be avoided by diet modification and lifestyle changes. Sterilization of male cats reduces their tendency to wander out of their houses and also leads to a lower incidence of attacks from other male cats. The procedure also does not predispose the cats to feline lower urinary tract disease in the future. If weight management is followed adequately, then sterilization does not alter the levels of activity of the pet. On the whole, sterilization of cats is beneficial for their health and is strongly recommended”, said Dr. MG Mohamed Ali.
Nutritional management is crucial:
Dr. B Nagarajan added, “Weight and body condition score should be regularly assessed for the neutered cat. In response to that, rations adjustment and exercise should be followed. Within 48 hours of neutering, the cat’s food intake will increase by around 30 per cent, as your pet will not be able to regulate its hunger. Food intake will be peaked 10 weeks after neutering. The intake will then be reduced until 18 weeks post-neutering. By 52 weeks of age, the neutered kittens might be 24 per cent heavier with a body condition score (BCS) 16 per cent higher.”
A diet specifically formulated with reduced energy content, along with high protein levels and L-carnitine for neutered cats helps to control body weight after the sterilization. Royal Canin sterilised cat food, both dry and wet, will meet all the nutritional needs of neutered cats in a healthy way. Diets high in L-carnitine can help with healthy weight loss, as it promotes the use of fat stores for energy which also helps to preserve muscle mass and further encourages weight loss”.