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The importance of neutering
With thousands of unwanted cats in the UK, one of The Friends Of The Cat’s key aims is to champion the neutering message. Cats are effective breeders, so making sure your cat is neutered/spayed is particularly important. Aside from preventing unwanted kittens, neutering/spaying has plenty of health benefits too
What is neutering?
Neutering (also called spaying) is a surgical operation to prevent female cats from getting pregnant and male cats from making females pregnant. This simple operation will be performed by your vet, with your cat being under general anaesthetic. Cats are fairly resilient and in most cases you'll be able to drop off and pick up your cat from the vet the same day. They'll recover quickly from the operation, although your vet will be able to advise on the best care during this stage.
Cats Protection recommends that kittens are neutered at four months old or younger, although cats can be neutered at any age.
What is the process for neutering?
You’ll need to book an initial appointment for the operation. Vets may require the cat to be brought for a pre-anaesthetic check before the day of the operation. The cat will normally be admitted between 8am-10am in the morning and able to be picked up that evening and will need to have been kept indoors without food for some of the night before. Your vet will advise.
Modern anaesthetics and pain relief mean that the process is really quite painless these days.
Many vets also operate using a tiny incision on the left side of the cat, reducing pain in comparison to the equivalent procedure in dogs or humans. Vets will also give the cat pain relief injections covering the period after surgery. If you are unsure, please speak with your vet.
Vets usually advise that the cat is kept indoors for a few days after surgery and may need to wear a lampshade shape collar to stop it from chewing its stitches.
Stitches might need removing after seven to ten days, or may be dissolvable. In the longer term, cats have a much lower energy requirement and as a result will need less food.
Why does my cat need vaccinations?
Vaccines are usually developed for diseases that are debilitating or life-threatening and easily spread. They are not available for all infectious diseases, although vaccines should protect against some severe infectious diseases commonly found in felines.
When should my cat be vaccinated?
The first vaccinations should be given to kittens from around eight to nine weeks of age. This timing is important - too early and the antibodies they receive from their mother will interfere with the immune response to the vaccine, preventing it from working properly. Too late and kittens will be left susceptible to infection. Two vaccines are usually needed - three to four weeks apart. Giving vaccines twice ensures a satisfactory level of immunity. A booster vaccine should be given one year later to keep immunity levels high. Further needs should be discussed with your vet.
Should all cats be vaccinated?
Vaccination has greatly reduced the incidence of life-threatening infectious diseases within the cat population. Whether or not your cat needs to be vaccinated will depend on its lifestyle and risk of infection, so make sure you talk to your vet.
Cats with FIV have a weakened or suppressed immune system and may be at greater risk of developing other infections if they are exposed to them. FIV positive cats can be vaccinated to offer some protection. Speak to your vet for more information.
If your cat is microchipped remember to keep your details up to date with the registration organisation and your vet.
If your planning on travelling with your feline companion remember to ensure vaccinations are