Becoming a pet parent is an exciting time.
However, there are also a great number of different responsibilities. Aside from deciding the most obvious things, such as where your kitten will sleep, what she will eat, and what vet in Cedar Park, TX you will register with, there is one other task that needs to be fairly high up the priority list - sterilization.
Unless you are prepared for a large litter of babies and all the expense and effort that it entails, preventing unwanted pregnancy in your female kitten should be a significant priority. Even if you have a male kitten, there are a variety of reasons why you should arrange to get your kitten sterilized. These include:
Reducing the Overpopulation of Cats
There are currently millions of unwanted pets living in shelters and temporary accommodation across the country, including countless cats. Many are euthanized every year as there are simply not the resources to care for them. Any responsible owner will be willing to spay/neuter their feline to ensure that they do not contribute further to the overpopulation of cats. Better still, adopt your kitten from a rescue or shelter.
Minimize the Risk of Certain Health Problems
Studies have shown that sterilizing both male and female kittens can have considerable health benefits, one of which is minimizing the risk of your pet developing certain types of cancer. This refers specifically to cancers of the reproductive system, and breast cancer, which is fatal in cats in about 90% of cases. Sterilizing your kitten also reduces her risk of catching feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) which is an incurable disease similar to HIV in humans, and suffering from an infection of the womb, known as pyometra.
Improvement in Behavior
Male cats whose reproductive organs have been left intact are much more likely to experience behavior problems such as urine spraying to mark their territory, aggressiveness to other male cats around them, and harassment of female felines. They are also more likely to roam in search of a mate and this makes them prone to becoming lost.
When Should I Get My Kitten Spayed/Neutered?
It surprises many people to learn that it is possible for a cat to get pregnant before they even reach six months of age. For this reason, it is recommended that felines are spayed/neutered by the age of four months and for females, before they come into their first heat. This maximizes the health benefits that your kitty can experience as well as preventing unwanted pregnancy.
Your vet will be able to tell you when it is time to get your kitten sterilized and will be happy to make that appointment for you at her initial wellbeing assessment when you first bring her home. If there is any reason why you might be delayed in having her spayed/neutered, your vet will probably tell you to keep her inside until the sterilization process is complete.
The Sterilization Process
The spaying/neutering process itself is fairly simple and complications are rare. For females, the incision is made into the abdomen while for males, unless the testicles are undescended then the incision can be made into the scrotum. In the case that they are undescended, access to the testes will need to be via the abdomen. Your vet will advise you on what to expect during the procedure and how best to care for your kitten in the days following her procedure.
If you would like more advice on the best time to get your kitten spayed/neutered or to schedule an appointment for your kitty's sterilization with our team, please contact our animal hospital in Cedar Park, TX at (512) 259-4200.