Thursday, January 25, 2018

Having Cats Neutered (Males) and Spayed (Females)

by Karen Rose Smith

When we adopted two kittens this summer--a brother Zander and his sister Freya, we knew we'd have to have them neutered and spayed.  I've been a cat mom since I was in college in the 70's. My parents adopted cats before that. So I have a long history with veterinarians and what they believe.  I thought I'd share the thinking with you.

Back in the 70's, females and males were spayed and neutered when they were older. There wasn't a push to have it done as there is now.  My husband and I adopted a cat right after we were married and soon added a second.  They were about a year old when they were spayed.  Since then, practices have changed, depending on where you live.  We have family in Oklahoma.  The vet there who runs a feline rescue and clinic believes kittens should be spayed and neutered once they are two pounds!  She believes, especially in females, that spaying early cuts down the risk of cancer.

When we adopted my soulmate kitten in 2001, she was sick. Antibiotics didn't work and I took her to a wholistic vet.  That veterinarian believed females should go into heat at least once before being spayed so the correct growth hormones had been released.  Ebbie got well on a raw food diet and specialized vitamins.  She went into heat at nine months and after that was when we had her spayed.  With her half sister who we also adopted, we followed the same protocol.

With the kittens and their present day vet, he suggested we spay and neuter at six months.  He feels males need that long for growth hormones and development so males don't have a problem with crystal formation and UTI's later in life. He also suggested six months for our little female.  He felt it was better to spay before her first heat.  We're following his directions.

Last week, Zander was neutered.  He was six and a half months old and weighed 7 1/2 pounds.  We were suppose to keep him separated from his sister and our two other inside cats for 10 days.  I laughed.  We were hoping to do it for 3 days.  But Zander is full of energy.  He came home fully awake.  We were prescribed an anti-inflammatory Onsior for three days.  It was a pill, and the only anti-inflammatory approved for felines.  The vet practice had suggested a pill wrapping paste with a bacon taste.  We never had much luck with pill pockets, but the paste worked beautifully.  Zander gobbled it down.  The first night we kept him separated in an upstairs bedroom.  I was with him all night and I could tell he was uncomfortable.  But the next morning, there was no keeping him from jumping on the bed and chairs.  I took him to my office and kept him confined that day and night but we did let his sister "visit."  However, the third day, he was totally himself and was going stir crazy.  So we let him join the others with our vigilance.  But today, four days after neutering, he is acting completely normal.  Cats will be cats. 

We know that our little female, Freya, will have to be confined longer after she is spayed at the beginning of February. In the past, we tried to keep spayed cats separated for at least 3-4 days as we applied warm compresses and used pain medication and an anti-inflammatory Onsior. We'll see how Freya responds after her procedure.  But she's a firecracker like her brother and will be hard to keep quiet so she can heal.

I'm always stressed out during the procedures but I know they are necessary.  If you trust your vet, follow his/her directives about spaying and neutering.  If what they suggest doesn't feel right, get another opinion.  Cat patients need advocates too!

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