Cats like to breed. According to figures from Geelong Council in Victoria, an un-desexed female cat and her male partner can potentially have two litters a year, with an average of three kittens per litter. If their offspring also produced two litters a year, over a four-year period it’s possible that the original pair of cats will produce more than 2000 more cats. That’s staggering.
Desexing your cat is an important way to reduce the numbers of unwanted cats that either end up as strays or have to be put down in animal shelters and by councils.
So, what’s involved?
Desexing a male cat is called castration and involves completely removing the testes from the scrotum where all the sperm comes from and most of the cat’s testosterone is produced.
Female cats are spayed, and like males they are put under a general anaesthetic for the operation. When a female is spayed, her ovaries and uterus are removed, preventing not only the possibility of her having kittens, but also the possibility of future infections in the uterus.
As well as preventing unwanted kittens, desexing has other advantages, including positive behavioural changes. Desexed cats, especially males, will be less inclined to run away or wander from the house. They are less likely to get into fights with other cats over territory and they are less likely to attempt to mark their territory, which is often your home. Desexed cats, both male and female, have a reduced risk of developing certain tumours and a reduced chance of picking up diseases such as flu and the FIV virus (which can result in feline AIDS) from other cats.
The operation for female cats involves a cut to the abdomen to remove the ovaries and uterus. A male cat’s operation is simpler, as it involves removing the testes from the scrotum. But both operations are performed under a general anaesthetic in a sterile environment. Talk to your vet about pre- and post-operative care, and any concerns you have about the operation and recovery.
It’s a big decision not to desex your cat and means extra responsibility on you not to let your cat stray. Your vet can address any concerns or questions you have about desexing.