I want to talk about something today that most people don’t want to talk about. The reason is that it can become a controversial topic, which leads to angry people and makes people uncomfortable. Well, I’m okay making people feeling uncomfortable. Mostly because I think this is something we SHOULD be talking about. I would much rather people feel uncomfortable for a little bit and save more animals than avoid the situation and hope it goes away.
What is this topic you may be asking? It is why you should be spaying your cat(s), all your cats! Regardless of if they are indoor only, outdoor only, or anything in between. I want to talk about some of the reasons why I think you should be spaying your cats. I truly hope this sparks some true conversation. Remember, if you ever have questions, or need more information, you are welcome to contact me and ask me any questions.
What is Spaying a Cat?
Let’s talk about the basics of spaying. What does it mean to spay a cat? Or neuter a cat for that matter? Spaying and neutering is the removal of the reproductive organs within your pet. For females, it is termed spaying, and males neutering. This prevents your pets from having kittens in the future. Spaying and neutering are procedures that are required to be done by a professional licensed veterinarian.
Me, when I am talking about this process, I tend to lump spaying and neutering into one. For this post, when I refer to spaying, I am not only talking about the female spaying process, but also the male. I just prefer to use the word spay instead of neuter. And you all now know what I mean!
Reasons to Spay
Spaying your cat can seem like a scary thing. For someone who has not owned cats before, you may be thinking that you are hurting your cat. This could not be further from the truth, but if you haven’t had a cat before, how would you know? You wouldn’t. And that’s okay. That’s what I am here for. So let me start by saying all the reasons, and then I will go into more details on each of those reasons. You should not spay your cat because it saves you stress, protects your cats, saves you money and prevents behavioral problems. Are you ready? Let’s get rolling!
Saves you the stress of heat
For those of you that don’t know, when you do not spay your female cat, she then goes into heat. What does it mean when a cat goes into heat? In non-medical terms, going into heat is the equivalent to PMS and getting your period for human girls. Your cat’s body does something similar to what a female body does. Only chocolate and sweatpants don’t fix it. (Actually, sweatpants may help…I feel like they solve anything so I will keep you updated on those).
The first time your cat goes into heat can be a scary thing. They will start sticking their butts up in the air and meowing. And not just a little meow here and there. A constant low bellow of a meow. They are calling to tell males that they are in heat. They also can be agitated and mildly aggressive when they are in heat.
When I first got Phoebe, she was very sick and had to be on antibiotics for a while. This meant we had to wait to get her spayed. This also meant that she went into heat for the first time before she was spayed. Her heat was stressful for both of us. She wasn’t sleeping as much because she was uncomfortable, and I wasn’t sleeping because…well, she wouldn’t let me. I wished so badly that I could take the discomfort away from her. And it made me mad that some people would let their cats go through that unnecessary feeling every month because of their own selfish reasons.
Phoebe was agitated and wanted to get out to find a mate, which also caused me more stress because I had just rescued her from being outside. I just wanted to keep her safe and who knows where she could get to if she got outside. Which actually leads me into my next reason, protecting your cat.
Protects your cat from running away
When female cats are in heat, they have a strong desire to find a mate. Hence the constant meowing and sticking up of the butt as I had mentioned earlier. If they have seen, or smell a male cat outside, they will want to get outside to mate with it. Much more when they are in heat than normal. This means that your cat is more likely to sneak outside without you knowing and be lost forever. They don’t know any better. At that moment, their bodies are telling them they need to find a mate.
The same thing is true for males, well partially. Obviously, males don’t go into heat. However, a male that is not neutered can sense when a female cat is in heat. Their instincts will tell them that they need to go mate with the cat. You could have the calmest, lovable male indoor cat. but if your neighbor’s female cat goes into heat, you better believe he will know about it. And he will want to do something about it. This means that your beloved male cat will be at risk of running away as well. His instincts are taking over and telling him he needs to help. He doesn’t understand that he could be lost from you forever.
Protects them from having a stray’s babies
Male and female cats both run risks of regardless if they are spayed, neutered, or not. However, that risk gets large when you choose not to spay or neuter them. As I mentioned before, this is largely because they have the instinct to mate and find others. Sometimes that means other neighborhood cats, but sometimes that means strays.
If you have a female cat, and she gets out one night and comes back pregnant, then you now have anywhere from 3-6 kittens that will need to have a home in that near future. If you know people who are looking for kittens, or you plan on keeping them yourselves, then that is completely fine! As long as those kittens have a good home and you can support all of them. If that’s not what you intended, you now have the responsibility to find a home for them. You chose to not spay your female cat, therefore it is your job to find a home for her children!
And if you have a male cat, then he runs the risk of getting a stray cat pregnant. This portion makes my blood boil, so I apologize in advance if I sound crass. But when you do not neuter your male cat, or the stray female population goes without being spayed, this only increases the stray population. You are letting these kittens be born into a life of being outside. Did you know that outdoor-only cats, strays especially, typically only live for around 5 years?! The average indoor cat lives between 15 and 20 years. These kittens are typically given shorter lives because there was no one there to help them.
Now, this is not to say that is the case for all kittens. Some get found, some get rescued and saved. But if you go to your local shelter, I am sure you will see the shelters are full of cats. This is in part because there was no spaying or neutering done for cats, which led to so many kittens. In a lot of cases, a Good Samaritan found them and brought them in for a chance at a good life. But think of how many more are out there? Because why? Because you didn’t want to spay or neuter your cat? What if the roles were reversed and you were doomed to short life outside hoping someone would come to rescue you? Think about that for a second.
Saves you money in the long run
One reason that people always give when asked why their pet isn’t spayed or neutered is that they don’t want to pay the money for the procedure. Spaying a female cat usually runs between $300 to upwards of $500 and males usually are a little less. Each vet is unique but the average cost to spay or neuter your pet is a least a couple hundred dollars.
Listen, I know that’s a lot of money. I’m not telling you it’s not. But if you think about the cost to feed them when they’re pregnant, their medical bills being pregnant, caring for the kittens and the processes that follow, it adds up.
The average cost of breeding a cat (I know this isn’t technically breeding but it’s a form of breeding so go with me) is anywhere from $500 to $1000 while the cat is pregnant and at least 8 weeks after. This means that for a few months, you could be paying as much, if not more to give basic care for your cat that you didn’t want to spend the initial $300 for.
When you think about it that way, it really makes swallowing that check or credit card payment much easier. Because cats don’t have one litter and then they’re done. They could have multiple litters over their lives, which results in a continuous payment for your family. Or, a one-time cost that sucks initially.
There are also vet that will do free spaying or neutering if you find a stray cat that you want to save, and some even offer payment plans to help make the one time purchase less frightening. But, being mean again if the thought of dropping an extra hundred dollars on your cat has you completely beside yourself, then maybe you should not own a cat. I’m sorry if that sounds means, but you can read my post titled ‘Why You Should Not Own a Cat’ to really understand why that frustrates me so much.
If you can’t handle a planned bill from your vet about basic health care, what are you going to do when your cat gets sick when they need food, or anything else? Tell your cat no? It doesn’t work like that. So if you honestly cannot afford a cat, and I am not judging if you can’t, but you should not own a cat at this moment. I apologize for the rant, but as you can see that topic is something that I find quite frustrating.
Prevents behavioral problems in the future
This one I obviously have last because if I am honest it can be hit or miss. Obviously, if you spay your female cat, she won’t go into heat. You will automatically forgo the grumpy cat in heat. But also male cats can tend to be more territorial when they are not neutered. This can lead to your cat spraying, acting out, and not being the sweet cat you know that can be.
Now, spaying or neutering your cat will not turn your meanie kitty into a perfect angel. It’s not as simple as that. But, if you get them spayed it could help with some base level problems that you would have to deal with as they grow up and as other cats come into the picture.
This, again, is hit or miss. So this shouldn’t be your sole reason for spaying or neutering your cat. But this is a nice little perk if they come out a calmer, more relaxed cat because of it.
How to Spay Your Cat
Simple. Take it to the VET! There are no ‘at-home’ ways to do this. PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! You will cause more damage or potentially even kill you cat by doing this yourself.
If you want to spay your cat, talk to a vet. If you don’t have a vet yet, find one! Okay, silly response but you can go on Google and find vets in your area. If you have questions about spaying and neutering your pet, you can talk to a vet 24/7 at ‘Just Answer’.
As I mentioned before, there are even some clinics that do free spaying and neutering for strays or people who are struggling. If you are wanting to help with this, check and see if there are any in your area! This could be a great way that you could help with the stray population in your neighborhood. (Or just adopt all the cats…whichever you prefer J )
At the end of the day, spaying your cat is the responsible thing to do. There are so many reasons why spaying your cats keeps them safe, healthy, and with you forever. And it helps the environment around you.
I would love to get a point one day in our lifetime where this post is inaccurate because there are so few strays, the shelters are empty, and the only way to get a kitten is through a breeder. If we ever reach a day when that is the case…I take it all back. But until then, help us get there. Help save some little kittens from dangerous worlds or adding to the already growing kitten population. Spay or Neuter your cat.