Seven myths about neutering your cat

You have probably heard some, if not all, of these completely untrue myths surrounding the neutering debate:

‘They get fat’
Females of any animal tend to carry more weight than males. This is simply a fact of nature. Your cat will only become obese or grossly overweight if you over-indulge her in treats and goodies and do not ensure your furry friend receives a well balanced diet and some exercise.

A vet conducts a routine spaying operation on a domestic cat

‘My female cat will never experience the joy of bearing a litter of kittens’
This is pure nonsense. I have always had female cats and have always, without fail, had them neutered since I believe it is morally wrong to bring yet more unwanted animals into this often cruel and unkind world. Did you know that a high percentage of pregnant female cats don’t actually survive the birth of large litters, especially when they can have three or four litters each and every year of their lives? This is another reason not to risk your much loved friend’s life.

Female cats do not need to give birth to show their maternal instincts. They are natural nurturers (as are most females) and will turn to their human companions, other family pets, and even toys, on which to exercise their love and attention and maternal skills.

One spayed female pet of ours used to turn her attention to our three-legged (male) cat and would regularly groom him from top to toe. He enjoyed the attention having grown up without a mother, and it benefited everyone as he was less particular about his personal hygiene than she was.

‘I Can’t Afford It – It’s Too Expensive’
Almost everyone is on a tight budget these days. But there are plenty of animal charities that are willing to help. If you have a male cat to neuter, the cost is minimal, and the benefits to you and your cat are huge. Even if you have a female and the cost is slightly higher, again, the cost and care for each kitten born from this unspayed female cat is going to be significantly higher than a one-time fee for the vet.

And in the UK, cat owners are lucky enough to have access to many charitable organisations and clinics that will help by providing low-cost neutering. If you do not know how to find helpful organisations like this, have a chat with your vet or Google ‘animal charities’ for your specific area.

Several myths which stop pet owners from doing the right thing and having their pets neutered include these old clichés which, again, are absolutely untrue:

‘My pet will change character and get lazy’
Having your pet neutered will not change his or her character. It is not physically possible. Pets who have been neutered sometimes have a slightly increased appetite and this is probably because they no longer have to worry about fighting for their territory or worry about mating. Thus they turn their attention to their family, and their food. This is perfectly normal.

‘My cat will become anxious, neurotic and stressed out if they cannot have sex’
Of all the myths that are wrong, this is the most completely incorrect. After surgery, sex hormones do not flood the animal’s body, causing it anxiety and stress and forcing it to spend most of its time and energy plotting how to escape to procreate.

As a result of being neutered, the cat will have no stress, anxiety or become neurotic about lack of sex simply because the need to have it has been removed. Animals that have not been neutered experience considerably more stress and anxiety than neutered pets. If you take a second to think about this, it is perfectly logical.

Neutering your pets will also reduce your anxiety. You will not be constantly worrying about your female cat coming home pregnant and a very short time later producing a large litter of kittens for you to feed and re-home. De-sexing your cat also goes to reducing your own anxiety and stress, which is important for you.

‘I might have my female cat spayed after one litter’
Female cats do not lose anything by being spayed before they have a litter of kittens. Quite the contrary. Spaying them after they have produced kittens or when they are older is statistically proven to put the animal at much higher risk of gynaecological and mammary gland diseases, most of which are fatal.

‘Are the vets really right to suggest I neuter my cat’
This is like asking your doctor whether he is sure you should have your leg amputated. Vets are highly trained and qualified professionals. They actually spend considerably longer studying than human doctors do in their training.

They will usually be meticulous about making sure you understand what the operation is, and explain in great detail how to take care of your pet afterwards. You should be proactive and ask for clarification on any point on which you are unclear. Follow your vet’s advice to the letter and be clear about his instructions before you leave the surgery.

Vets are unanimous in agreeing that pets that are not being used for breeding purposes should all be neutered. This improves your life as well as that of your beloved pet. It ensures you will enjoy the company of your companion for more years than if you had never neutered them in the first place.

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