The first thing I did when I brought Molly home was prepare her for a spay that she would have the next day. Moe hadn’t been neutered yet, and Molly was about 8 months old, so I wanted to make sure that I got her spayed as soon as possible.
There are several benefits for spaying a female cat, and for me the two most important include 1) not having a litter of kittens and 2) not having to deal with a cat in heat.
Other benefits of spaying a female cat include:
- Spaying before the first heat, reduces the risk of uterine, ovarian, and mammary cancer.
- Eliminates the stress of pregnancy and nursing kittens.
- Reduces the interest in going outside.
- Reduces the chance she’ll try to mark your home.
- Reduces urges that cause irritability and anxiety.
Cats can start mating as early as 6 months, which it is why it’s important to make the decision whether or not to spay your cat soon.
Some veterinarians will perform a spay procedure earlier than 6 months, as studies now show that kittens who are spayed as early as 8 weeks old do not have any health issues later in life. Plus, kittens tend to bounce back from surgery faster than older cats.
Waiting till your cat is 6 months old, won’t hurt your cat.
What’s the Process?
The spay procedure is an “ovariohysterectomy,” which means that both the ovaries and the uterus are removed, and then the cervix is tied off. Some veterinarians will leave the uterus, but generally it’s best to remove the entire reproductive tract.
It is very important that the ovaries be removed intact because the ovaries are responsible for the heat cycle, mammary tumor development, and various behavioral problems.
There is an alternative procedure called a tubal ligation, which makes the female cat sterile, but it doesn’t prevent the cat from having a heat cycle or attracting male cats. This procedure generally isn’t a option many people choose.
Many vets will keep cats overnight after a spay procedure, but the basic recovery process is simple. Keep your cat calm and watch for excessive swelling and any drainage. There may be some swelling, but there should not be any fluid discharge.
Some vets use surgical glue, which do not require any additional vet visits. If your vet uses sutures, you may have to return to the vet a week or so after the procedure to have the sutures removed.
How Much Does it Cost?
A typical spay procedure will cost about $125 to $200 depending on your veterinarian. The total cost generally includes, the pre-anesthesia exam, anesthesia, the surgery, and any medications such as penicillin and pain medications that the vet may prescribe.
If your cat is in heat at the time of the spay, your vet may not spay her, but if he does, the price may increase do to the increased difficulty because of engorged tissues and enlarged blood vessels.
If you cannot afford to spay your female cat, try looking around for a low-cost vet, or consult a local shelter to see if they can assist with the fees. Many veterinarians will offer specials throughout the year, and some shelters will offer a coupon for their vet or a veterinarian that they use.