The myths & truths of spay/neuter
While it’s no myth that feline overpopulation leads to the death of thousands of healthy, adoptable cats every year, several myths about spay/neuter have cropped up. Read through the most popular below to be fully educated on spay/neuter, the simplest, most humane way to help end feline death due to overpopulation.
Myth: Spay/neuter is too expensive.
Lots of veterinarians and charitable organizations offer high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter options. When you consider the cost of an unexpected litter, expensive treatments for the cancers that spay/neuter eliminates and the value of the feline lives lost to overpopulation, a low-cost spay/neuter is the affordable option.
Myth: My cat is strictly indoors and does not need to be spayed/neutered.
In the lineage of every homeless cat is an unaltered housecat. Even indoor cats escape, find a mate and reproduce. Plus, foregoing spaying/neutering an indoor cat increases the risk of reproductive cancers and undesirable mating behaviors that spay/neuter prevents, such as yowling and urine spraying.
Myth: Spayed/neutered cats will always gain weight.
Feline weight gain is most often due to poor feeding habits. Spayed/neutered cats do require fewer calories than unaltered cats–sometimes up to 25% less–due to their lower metabolic rate. But simply controlling portions and ensuring enough exercise can help a fixed cat maintain a healthy weight.
Myth: Spaying/neutering can change a cat’s personality.
Research shows no change in a feline’s personality or level of playfulness following a spay/neuter. In fact, spay/neuter can often lead to happier cats, since the drive (and stress) to find a mate is gone.
Myth: My kitten is not old enough to reproduce.
Most cats reach sexual maturity and gain the ability to procreate by 6 months of age, some as young as 4 months. Many veterinarians perform spay/neuter in cats as young as 8 weeks.
Myth: My spayed/neutered female/male cat will no longer feel like herself/himself.
As emotionally driven beings, it is common for us to attribute human feelings and psychologies to animals, especially companion animals. But a sense of inadequacy or loss of sexual identity is just not the case in cats. Medical research shows no reason to believe fixed cats are even aware of their physical change.
Myth: My cat should have the opportunity to be a mother/father.
A cat’s drive to reproduce is fueled only by its instinct to breed, not by an emotional or psychological need. Instead, consider adopting a kitten. Cats are communal animals and many readily raise orphans as their own.
Myth: It is better for a female cat to have a litter before being spayed.
Medical evidence shows the opposite to be true. Females never allowed to have a litter or a heat cycle prior to being spayed are often healthier than their unspayed cohorts. Allowing a female cat to experience heat cycles and/or a litter prior to being spayed often leads to the development of undesirable behaviors that can persist post-spaying. Many veterinarians promote spaying before the first heat cycle and as young as 8 weeks.
Myth: My cat is purebred/designer and should not be fixed.
Even purebreds and designer breeds find their way into homeless cat communities, shelters and the death chamber. In fact, about 1 in every 4 pets in a shelter is purebred or a designer breed.