There are just too many cats that are either homeless or feral, and people are starting to notice that it is important to neuter their pet cats. Cats mature quickly and can reproduce several times every year, so two feral cats can soon produce twenty or more.
Most feral cats are often pet cats who were not neutered or spayed, and released by their owners when they couldn't take care of them any longer. Feral cats live in colonies, and they can spread diseases to any pet dogs and cats in their vicinity. Even if they are otherwise healthy, they may be flea-infested. When the females come into heat, the colony can disrupt the sleep of an entire neighborhood with their crying and fighting. Cats who are hungry enough will raid garbage cans. Feral kittens can destroy landscaping and soil your yard or outdoor furniture.
Neutering or spaying your new kitten in the long run can obviously reduce the number of unwanted kittens that are produced, but it also can provide other benefits. A female cat in heat is very loud. Her crying is quickly drowned out by the fighting and yowling of any local tom cats in the vicinity. Toms that are not neutered tend to roam far away from home if they are allowed outdoors and may get injured or killed. Unaltered tomcats that are kept indoors or outdoors will tend to mark all objects in their territory with urine, which is extremely strong-smelling.
Cats who are unaltered may come down with some types of cancers more frequently than altered cats. These cancers affect the reproductive organs. They are extremely rare in cats that have been altered by the age of one year. Unaltered cats may also catch any of several contagious diseases of the reproductive tract.
Unlike some animals, neutering or spaying your new kitten can be done at a very young age. Some humane societies and rescue groups recommend altering kittens at the age of eight weeks. Many veterinarians, however, suggest you wait until five or six months of age in most cases. The exceptions may be feral kittens who are trapped and then taken to be altered before being re-released to their colonies. By the time they are five or six months old, they may already be pregnant.
However, that doesn't mean that you can't alter your adult cat, it is just better to do it as young as possible.
If you have both male and female kittens in your home, you may want to neuter the males at a younger age, and wait until the girls are around six months old. This is recommended in many cases because the procedure is more difficult for females than males.
Most cats rarely have any problems after neutering, but sometimes incisions can become infected. Be sure to check your cat daily to make sure the incision is healing well. Symptoms of infection are puffiness and redness around the incision site. If your cat is licking or chewing at the stitches, you may need to have the cat wear an Elizabethan collar. This will prevent them from being able to reach the stitches. Male cats can go about their business quickly after the surgery, while females should be kept indoors for up to five days afterwards as they may injure themselves.
As with any type of surgery, there are some risks. In very, very rare occasions, cats might be allergic or have a fatal reaction to the anesthesia. However, statistically, the risk is minimal.
Neutering or spaying your new kitten is really a rather simple procedure. With a little extra care during recovery, your pet will have a happy, healthy life without worrying about unwanted litters and reproductive health.
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