Sadly, many thousands of unwanted cats and Kittens have to be put down every year, because with the queen coming into season every three or four weeks in summer, there are just not enough homes to go round.
Luckily, much is being done to halt the birth of unwanted kittens by encouraging the neutering and spaying of cats not kept for breeding.
Neutering a torn cat is doing him a kindness, for undoctored he is a compulsive fighter, vulnerable to torn ears and other wounds and, in later years, as he finds himself in combat with younger partners, his injuries could be grave. After neutering, he loses the desire to fight, does not smell anti-social and prefers the comfort of his own fireside to a night on the tiles. The operation is such a simple one that it is possible to take torn to the surgery for neutering and bring him home with you a few minutes later.
Spaying a queen (female) cat entails a bigger, but routine operation, and a few days stay at the surgery. Between three and five months is the age recommended for the operation but, as in the case of the male cat, it can be done at almost any age. The fact that a female cat has had kittens is no deterrent.
A cat may spray with urine in order to mark its territory. This is much more likely in unneutered males, though, it is not unknown for neutered cats of either sex to spray if Feeling particularly threatened – for example, when a newcomer is introduced into the home. This is one of the reasons that it is recommended that toms which are not going to be used for breeding should be neutered early in life.
Q. How can I tell if a cat has sprayed rather than urinating normally?
The cat stands up to spray, rather than crouching, so small drops of urine will be found a few centimetres from the ground – against the wall, say, or perhaps on your valuable chair.
Q. I have an entire male cat, which sprays all over the place. Will it stop if I have it neutered?
One of the reasons for neutering toms which are not intended for breeding is to prevent spraying. If they are neutered late in life, though, this may not stop them spraying, though it will not smell quite as bad! Is there anything the vet can do to stop a cat spraying? He may be able to recommend a treatment with hormones, for either neutered or entire cats.
Tile problem of a cat marking its territory by spraying urine is most common in an entire male cat. Spraying is not totally unknown, though, in neutered cats of either sex, particularly if they feel anxious or threatened. It is more common, too, in a household where there is more than one cat. Entire female cats are more likely to spray in the breeding season.
If the cat has sprayed in the house, you must clean the area thoroughly. Quite apart from dealing with the unpleasant smell (and a tomcat’s urine is the most pungent of all!), leaving it will only encourage the cat to do it again to reinforce its scent. A strong solution of biological detergent in hot water should deal with the smell, followed by alcohol or vinegar.
There is no known deterrent for spraying, but you can try to feed the cat as near as possible to the sprayed area because cats rarely soil close to their feeding area. You
might also try aversion therapy, using a water pistol. The only sure way, though, is to shut the cat out of the room until it has stopped.
Rubbing a cat’s nose in its sprayed urine will only encourage it to do it again.
An unneutered tom may spray in dozens of different places all around his territory. This is as natural to him as sneezing, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent him.
Tomcats get into a lot of fights, so keen are they to service all the local females and protect their territory. This can mean a lot of torn ears for the cat and vets’ bills for you.
Neutering Cats is sometimes inevitable for economical and environmental reasons. Cats make excellent mothers, but having too many litters may have a detrimental affect on a female’s health. It will also contribute to the ever-increasing kitten population.
Every year thousands of unwanted kittens end up in rescue centres or become strays, abandoned by owners who had never had their cats neutered and then find they cannot cope with the extra feline mouths, nor the responsibility of finding homes for the kittens. This is why all non-pedigree kittens and cats should be neutered — to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unwanted kittens. The exception is if you intend to breed saleable pedigree offspring.
For a female cat, neutering involves abdominal surgery, under general anaesthetic, in which the uterus and ovaries are removed.
I’ve been told that it is cruel to have my kitten spayed without allowing her to have one litter. Is it true?
No, it’s a myth. In fact, females that have had a litter before being spayed often remain broody for the rest of their lives. Don’t forget you will also have to find homes for her kittens as well.
My five-month-old female is spraying around the house. I’m surprised, I thought only unneutered males did this?
No, females spray as well, although to a lesser extent, when they are in season.
I’ve just found a young female stray. How can I tell if she’s been spayed?
Take her to your vet, who may be able to feel the operation scar on her side. If necessary, you should ask the vet to neuter the cat.nless you plan to breed from your cat, you should have it neutered. This safe, painless operation is carried out under general anaesthetic. In females, it is known as spaying and involves the removal of the ovaries and the uterus. In males, it is known as castrating, and involves the removal of the testicles.
Timing of Neutering Cats
Both male and female cats are usually neutered at around six to eight months, or when their genitalia are fully developed. It is important not to neuter your cat too young, before its endocrine system is developed, or it may experience hormonal problems.
Because a general anaesthetic needs to be given, your vet will ask you not to give any food or water to your pet 12 hours before admission. You will normally collect your cat at the end of the same day. Spaying is a more complicated operation than castrating, as a small incision has to be made in the cat’s abdomen.
Cats (especially males) recover very quickly. Females may need 24 hours to convalesce. Make sure your pet has peace and quiet, its favourite food and lots of love. Because most vets use stitches that dissolve, you will not have to take your pet back to the surgery.
In males, castrating stops the unpleasant habit of spraying pungent urine everywhere and reduces fighting and straying.
Cats that have been neutered generally become more affectionate towards their owners and much easier to handle than they were before.
Contraception is available for cats, but it has side-effects. It is used occasionally for pedigrees and for precocious kittens.