Why Should You Desex your Cat?

As I mentioned in a previous article, the Government is bringing in laws that will make it a requirement for you to desex your pet (both dogs and cats) as of July 2018. You’ll also need to have your cats microchipped by the age of six months.

As I discussed in the article on dog desexing, there are actually very good reasons behind this new legislation, and these are as follows:

In cats, desexing will help prevent the following:

  • Anti-social behaviour, particularly in ‘Tom’ cats (urine spraying, yowling, territorial aggression)
  • Fighting and the resultant injuries or infections – intact males can be seriously unpleasant creatures when confronted by another male.
  • Spread of FIV – Feline AIDS (passed on through saliva so by fighting or ‘rough’ mating)
  • Spread of cat flu and Feline Enteritis.
  • Female cats are simply horrible to live with when ‘in season’ – yowling, rolling, agitation
  • Unwanted litters of kittens – cats are extremely precocious and can fall pregnant as early as six months of age. Left to their own devices, they just keep on reproducing!
  • We frequently see house cats suffering from ‘stress’ conditions (often shows up as urinary tract irritation or infection) because of roaming Tomcats hanging around outside. Having the offending Tom desexed is usually part of our treatment recommendation!

Should you let your cat have a litter before desexing?

  • No, it’s much healthier for them if they’re desexed prior to coming in season!
  • We routinely desex kittens for our breeder clients as early as 11 weeks of age without any problems
What’s involved in desexing?
  • For both males and females, the surgery is a day procedure.
  • For females, we remove the uterus and ovaries through a small incision into the abdomen.
  • For males, we take out the testes through a small incision in the scrotum
  • In both cases, the surgical wound is minimally invasive and heals very rapidly
  • Sutures are buried so there’s nothing for you to see and nothing much to bother your cat post-surgically

Does it hurt?

  • Just like dogs, cats are incredibly resilient and will bounce back to normal almost by the time they leave the hospital
  • We provide loads of pain relief medication both during and after surgery so, no, it really doesn’t bother them at all!

What about microchipping, how does that work?

  • We implant a microchip through a small needle in the back of the neck. The chip can be read by a scanner (all pounds and vet clinics have these) and lasts for ever.
  • We can do that in the consult room or while your cat is anaesthetized for surgery, in which case it doesn’t hurt in the slightest!

Is there any reason not to desex your cat?

  • Desexed cats can’t have kittens (seems logical but not everyone fully understands the terminology)
  • For cats, particularly, the costs of surgery are pretty minimal and far outweigh the negative effects of keeping an intact cat.

We find that most cats are desexed, already, before they reach a ripe old age. The new legislation will probably give owners a reason to do this a bit earlier. The good news is that many registered breeders are now desexing and microchipping kittens before they go out to their new homes so you may not need to worry about any of this! For costs and for further information, the best thing would be to give our lovely receptionists a call on 8522 3500 or go online to book an appointment directly.

Picture of Anne Crouch

Anne Crouch

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Gawler Animal Hospital

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