What is neutering?
Also known as desexing, or castration, neutering is the removal of the testes in the male cat, rendering him infertile.
How much does it cost to neuter a cat?
It is generally cheaper to neuter a male than spay a female, as the operation itself is much simpler with no invasive surgery required. I recently phoned 5 veterinary practices and prices ranged from $100 to $189, with the average cost being $140.75
Sometimes animal shelters will have a day where they perform spaying and neutering at a greatly reduced rate, so if cost is a factor, try your local shelters, they may have plans to run such a day in the near future, or speak to your veterinarian, most are willing to discuss payment options.
What age should my cat be neutered?
Vets can neuter cats from 8-10 weeks of age. It should definitely be done before your cat is 6 months, as some cats can become sexually active as early as this.
Before the surgery:
As with any anesthetic, fasting is necessary the night before. Your veterinarian will give you instructions but it is generally advised to remove food the evening before the operation and water the morning of the operation.
Many veterinarians recommend performing a pre-op blood panel a few days prior to surgery to check the overall health of your cat. It is a very good idea to have this done.
You will need to book your cat into the vet ahead of the surgery.
Try to get to the vet around 20 minutes before the appointment to fill out any necessary paperwork. You will be asked to sign a consent form to verify that you consent to the anesthetic and are aware of the risks.
During the operation:
Your cat will be given a light sedative, this will calm him down and make him relaxed and somewhat drowsy.
He will then be given a general anesthetic of either gas or injection. Once unconscious, he will be placed on his back on the operating table, his scrotum will be shaved and cleaned with a surgical disinfectant, a small cut is made in the scrotum, the testicles are brought out, clamped, cut and removed. The cords are tied off. The incision is usually so small that a stitch isn't required.
An injection is given to reverse the anesthetic and your cat is taken to recovery. The actual surgery only takes around 10 minutes.
Post surgery care:
In most cases, your cat will be allowed to come home the same day. Your cat may be a little sore for a day or two after the operation. Keep an eye out for any signs of swelling or infection.
Benefits of neutering a cat?
Entire males are more likely to roam in search of a female to mate with. This exposes him to the risk of injury (or death) from cars, dogs and other cats.
The risk of testicular cancer is eliminated in neutered males.
Neutered males are less territorial and this reduces the likelihood of them spraying.
Neutering helps to keep the cat population under control. There are more cats needing a home than there are homes on offer, and every year too many healthy cats are euthanised purely because there's just not enough home. We need to all do our part to help with the cat overpopulation problem.
Entire males are at greater risk of catching FeLV and FIV due to fighting and sexual activity.