Why Is Spaying or Neutering Your Cat Important ?



You may have a new kitten or even an older cat that isn’t spayed or neutered yet. Why should you spay and neuter your pets? In addition to the reduction of pet overpopulation, there are a few reasons why it’s important to spay or neuter your cat. However, this procedure also brings with it some unique nutritional needs to be aware of.

What Is Sterilization?

Sterilization, or spaying and neutering (spaying for females, neutering for males), is the act of removing the reproductive organs. Often, this is done in pets around 6 months of age, before their hormones trigger an initial heat cycle. However, sterilization can be done at any time in a pet’s life. For female cats, it involves surgery that goes in through the abdomen and is then sutured closed. For male cats, surgery involves external removal of the testicles, however, for cats with retained testicles, may involve abdominal surgery. Recovery usually takes 1-2 weeks before your cat can return to normal activity.

Spaying and neutering is done for more than just the prevention of kittens. The decrease in hormones and removal of reproductive organs can reduce certain cancers such as testicular and mammary tumors, and the change in hormones can help reduce marking and roaming behavior. This also leads to disease prevention of some cat to cat illnesses such as FeLV and FIV. There is some debate over whether this procedure also helps with inter-cat aggression, however, in some cats it can help.

The Needs of Spayed and Neutered Cats

After a cat is spayed or neutered, they do have some different nutritional needs. Feeding the proper food can help address these issues and prevent weight gain and related health issues. Many cats that are spayed or neutered are also indoor cats and are usually less active than their outdoor counterparts. Feeding a regular diet that is too high in calories can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and joint issues over time.

How to Choose a Food for Spayed and Neutered Cats

You want to pick a food that is designed specifically for neutered pets. These diets are balanced to be lower in calories and higher in fiber to help your cat feel fuller without eating as much. These diets can also help prevent weight gain that can lead to health issues such as arthritis and diabetes.

Be sure to check the feeding table on the packaging of any cat food you buy. These give a general guide for how much to feed. You can then reduce the amount of food (or increase it) depending on your cat’s body condition and nutritional needs. If you’re switching to a new food, be sure to transition over a period of 7-9 days, gradually increasing the amount of new food and reducing the old, to reduce the chances of digestive upset.

There are many benefits of neutering and spaying for your cat that go beyond preventing kittens. By keeping their changing nutritional needs in mind, you can help prevent disease and provide a healthy life for your cat.


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