Strong arguments for early neutering and neutering of cats
Although the concept of early spaying and neutering of cats and dogs is not new, its use by veterinarians in the mid-20th century was limited due to many misconceptions:
- It is best to let the mother cat have a litter of kittens before neutering.
- Female cats should not be neutered before their first estrus.
- As a result, growth metabolism may be hindered.
- The final urethral diameter may shrink, especially in male cats, eventually leading to urethral problems.
- Female cats, in particular, may become incontinent later as a result.
- May cause some behavioral issues.
Most people should know by now that failure to spay and neuter is the number one reason for the surge in pet numbers. In fact, female cats usually rarely give birth to kittens themselves, and male cats as young as four months old have been known to impregnate willing queens. Cat caregivers who wait six to eight months for traditional surgery are playing a game of Russian roulette that only exacerbates the problem.
Cutting-edge Humane Society
Humane societies and other sanctuaries are bearing the brunt of the exponentially growing problem of feline overpopulation, and these groups are at the forefront of taking positive action.
Anyone who runs a shelter knows that the kittens they adopt today can produce offspring that will refill the shelter in a short period of time. In the past, shelters have tried many tactics to prevent this, ranging from contracts (statistically, non-compliance rates are between 10% and 50%), deposits for later sterilization/neutering (easy to forfeit ), and other equally unproductive incentives.
Many shelters decide to stop relying on adopted “parents” and guarantee that kittens are spayed/neutered by working with veterinary staff or working with a veterinarian prior to adoption. In the ensuing two decades or so of research, both in the United States and Canada, shelter operators and veterinarians were able to refute previous misconceptions.Studies have found that cats are six to twelve weeks, compared to cats spayed at 6 to 12 months, with:
- same metabolic rate
- same type of growth
- The urethra has the same diameter in adulthood
- the same behavior pattern.
Despite the most obvious (and crucial) benefit of helping reduce population growth, some of the side effects of early neutering and neutering also have an impact on the cat itself, such as less invasive surgery, faster recovery, and fewer complications .
I watched a video produced by the UCDavis College of Veterinary Medicine in association with AVAR on the benefits of early neutering and neutering of cats. This video is intended for use by veterinarians to demonstrate the relative simplicity of the technique on kittens, as well as the attendant benefits. Also, I watched a video produced by the American Humane Society showing traditional, age-appropriate kittens and cat procedures (including spaying and neutering). The criteria used for kitten suitability are a clear health examination, at least two pounds of body weight, and descending of both testicles in male kittens.
In preparation for the surgery, because the kittens were prone to hypoglycemia, they were not fasted like older cats before surgery, but only ate a small meal. They were also wrapped in towels and placed on heating pads due to possible hypothermia. Aside from those preparations, the surgery is the same, including the type of anesthetic used for induction and maintenance. However, there are two key differences:
- The procedure is faster and less traumatic for the kitten because there is no excess fat layer to cut. For the same reason, closure is a relatively simple procedure with one stitch through a one centimeter incision.
- Due to the fragility of the organ at that young age, gentle tissue handling is critical.
Kittens get out of anesthesia faster than adult cats. In a video comparing neutering operations at two different ages, fifteen minutes after the procedure, the kitten woke up and started walking around. One year old cats are still cold. Within an hour, the kittens were walking around, playing and eating. They didn’t show the adult cats after an hour, but according to my recollection our cats were still quite lethargic when we brought them home a few hours later.
The evidence seems clear that not only is early sterilization and neutering safe for teens, but the procedure creates less tissue trauma, less stress, shorter recovery periods and lower risk of complications. On the other hand, there is no working study to support the appropriateness of waiting for the traditional period.
The concept has been slow to enter the mainstream of small animal practice. However, it is being taught in a growing number of veterinary schools, coupled with endorsements from authoritative groups such as the AVMA, which has 64,000 members. The Canadian Veterinary Association, with more than 8,000 members; the state veterinary associations in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Wisconsin; and many humane societies, promising new progress every day. One fact is certain: The people who run the shelter can attest that their NBA (sterilization before adoption) program helps boost the morale of the shelter staff.
In my book, this is a real plus.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your veterinarian right away. For health-related questions, be sure to consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know your pet’s health history, and can provide the best advice for your pet.