The recommended age of sterilization of cats is currently considered 5 - 7 months and older.
There is no upper limit of age, but it must be understood that the earlier a cat is sterilized, the less likely there is an accidental pregnancy and the development of diseases of the ovaries, uterus and hormonal disorders. In addition, it is believed that the cat is best sterilized before the first heat, as this reduces the risk of future development of malignant tumors of the mammary glands.
Most of the arguments in favor of sterilization when the cat reaches 5-7 months of age are associated with a reduction in the risk of anesthesia required for sterilization. Most veterinarians believe that at this age during surgery you can refuse general anesthesia, in addition, the kidneys and liver of cats are already much better developed than in small kittens, and, therefore, better tolerate the effect of anesthetic drugs, more effectively decompose organism. The recovery period in older cats is shorter, the risk of developing postoperative complications in the liver and kidneys is reduced.
However, the achievements of anesthesiology to date (2008) have led to the fact that the risk of adverse effects of anesthesia on the health of the cat has decreased significantly. Recommendations for sterilization age were developed at a time when anesthetics could put a significant strain on the heart, kidneys and cat liver, so these organs had to be mature enough to cope with the load. Since the means used now is much safer, in many clinics sterilization is carried out much earlier.
Disadvantages of sterilization of cats aged 5-7 months.
- Some owners are inconvenient to wait 5-7 months until the cat can be sterilized,
- Some cats that grow up early may become pregnant, leading to the appearance of unplanned kittens. At this age, the cat is neither psychologically nor physically ready to have offspring, she herself is still in many ways a kitten.
- Owners who want to chip a cat during sterilization while it is under the action of anesthesia are afraid that the cat may get lost until the time of sterilization comes,
- The emergence of behavioral problems in non-sterilized cats, such as urine spraying or vagrancy, may begin earlier than the cat is five months old. If the behavior has time to gain a foothold before sterilization, its correction may later become a difficult task.
The advantages of early sterilization of cats.
After the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) decided in 1993 to support cat sterilization at 8–16 weeks of age, the number of early sterilizations increased significantly. In Australia, for example, due to the excessive growth of the population of stray cats in many states, the law prescribes the sterilization of cats up to the age of 12 weeks, and owners waiting for the recommended five-month age directly violate the law.
The advantages of early sterilization of cats include the following:
- The kitten gets to the new owners already sterilized. If not, then there is no need to wait until the cat reaches 5-7 months of age,
- A sterilized cat cannot accidentally get pregnant, so she definitely will not have unplanned kittens,
- A cat that is sterilized at an early age, until it has reached puberty, does not develop sexual behavior. The cat will not seek to mate, saving the owners from ethical torment - should she be allowed to have kittens,
- Sterilized cat can not participate in breeding programs, allowing breeders to achieve the best results in improving the breed,
- Owners who want to chip a kitten do not have to wait a few extra months, there is no need for re-anesthesia,
- Behavioral problems characteristic of non-sterilized cats are avoided - urine spraying, vagrancy, cat calls, aggressiveness,
- Part of the diseases associated with the characteristics of the body of a cat, is completely prevented. This, for example, breast cancer (almost never occurs in cats that have been sterilized before the first heat),
- The duration of the operation and, accordingly, being under anesthesia are much less for a kitten than for an adult cat. The operation lasts about 5 minutes for a 9 week old cat, for an older one not less than 10 minutes, and for a mature cat even longer, Exit from anesthesia is faster, bleeding during the operation is less,
- Since the duration of the operation is reduced, and drugs are spent less - the cost of sterilization also decreases,
- In-person early castration in shelters and nurseries eliminates the need to conclude an agreement on subsequent mandatory sterilization with the future owner of the cat. In addition, even a signed contract does not guarantee that the cat will not have kittens (especially if it seems to be a “purebred” owner), which often leads to an increase in the number of useless abandoned and homeless kittens,
Disadvantages of early sterilization of cats:
- The body of the kitten is worse tolerated by concomitant surgery anesthesia. Although modern anesthetics have become much safer, the liver and kidneys of small kittens (less mature than in older ones) are more difficult to tolerate the effects of anesthetic drugs and less efficiently process, decompose and remove them from the body. The likelihood of postoperative complications affecting the kidneys and liver of a cat, although insignificant, remains. On the other hand, reducing the time of anesthesia, to some extent, reduces the likelihood of complications,
- While the cat is under anesthesia, the risk of hypothermia (decrease in body temperature) for a kitten is higher. Also, kittens are more likely to have hypoglycemia (lower sugar levels). Hypothermia is due to the fact that the kittens' body surface relative to the mass is greater than that of adults, so the heat transfer is higher. In addition, kittens have a smaller layer of fat, which helps retain heat, and the ability to shiver (producing heat) is lower. The predisposition to hypoglycemia is a consequence of the kittens ’lower body's ability to produce glucose from glycogen and fat stores, as well as a smaller amount of these stocks,
- Due to the cessation of the production of sex hormones after sterilization at an early age, it may cause insufficient development of the "female" organs in the cat. In particular, the vulva and mammary glands are poorly developed. Vulvar hypoplasia (small, childish vulva) can cause problems in cats suffering from obesity, as due to fatty folds on the vulva, urine burns and vulvar skin infections are possible. In addition, these cats are more susceptible to urinary tract infections,
- Early sterilization can lead to the preservation of the adult cat behavior, characteristic of a kitten,
- Since it is problematic at an early age to determine the prospects of using a cat in breeding programs, some breeders prefer to sterilize cats at an older age, when the breed traits, color features and body structure become more pronounced. This allows, to some extent, to reduce the risk of loss of the genetic potential of the breed,
Note:Note: while writing the article, the author (Dr. Shauna O'Meara) worked as a veterinarian at an animal shelter in Australia with a large number of pets. Since the policy of the shelter did not involve the use of their animals for breeding, all cats, including very small ones, were sterilized without fail. Therefore, sterilization at the age of 8 weeks was common. Hundreds of kittens annually endured this operation before they acquired their new home, while complications directly related to sterilization were extremely rare.
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The best age for sterilization
The most optimal age for sterilization is a period from 9 months to a year, before the first estrus begins. The sooner an operation is performed, the better for the health of the animal, but only when the animal is fully formed and strengthened. Pedigreed cats are also sterilized after the end of the "breeding career", approximately 6-7 years. At the same time, to reduce the risks and evaluate the work of the kidneys and other organs, preliminary urinalysis and blood tests are mandatory.
How does sterilization work?
The operation is best carried out in a veterinary clinic, where there is all the necessary equipment. When a cat is healthy and young, then you can only remove the ovaries, and if she has already given birth, then you will need to remove the uterus, then there will be no cancer or suppurative diseases. Sterilization is not only surgical, but also radiation. With radiation sterilization, the cat's ovaries are exposed to a certain directed dose of radiation.
Sterilization requires a small abdominal surgery. During the procedure, the doctor makes a cat a small incision on the stomach or on the side, hooks up the ovaries, uterus and removes them. Such an operation is not dangerous to the life of the animal. It is performed under general anesthesia and takes half an hour. Before surgery, you should not feed the cat for 12 hours.
At home after the operation, the cat will need care and attention. Antibiotics are administered for a couple of days to prevent infection. It is better not to close the seam, so it will heal faster, but if the animal begins to actively lick it, you will have to wear a special blanket. No need to allow the cat to move a lot, jump. After getting out of anesthesia, you can give your pet some water, and it’s better to wait with food. You can grind the cat paws and ears to stimulate blood circulation. On the 10th day, the vet removes stitches. Sterilized cat is prone to obesity, so do not overfeed it. It is also necessary to monitor regular physical activity.
In the future, the sterilized cat will be active, cheerful, fun again. Attraction to cats will decrease or disappear altogether. The cat will stop losing weight due to heat, the wool will be normal. After sterilization of the cat, the owner and the pet will feel comfortable in the company of each other, thus prolonging the life of the animal.
How is the cat sterilized?
Most often in veterinary clinics sterilization of domestic cats is performed surgically. This operation involves either removing the ovaries from an animal, or removing both the ovaries and the uterus, the second option is used if there are any tumors on the tissues of the cat's uterus.
On the day of surgery, the cat should not be fed, otherwise, after giving anesthesia, she can begin an indomitable vomiting. After the anesthesia has worked, a cut is made on the cat's tummy, through which the veterinarian removes the reproductive organs of the animal. After surgery, a cat is put on a cat so that it cannot damage the seam. Full restoration of the animal takes from several days to two weeks.
Sterilization of a cat can be not only surgical, but also medical or radiation. However, these types of sterilization have many negative consequences, due to which they are used quite rarely.
Caring for a cat after sterilization
Under the influence of anesthesia, the cat's body temperature can drop by several degrees, which is very dangerous for her health. Therefore, after the operation, the cat should be carefully wrapped in a blanket or a large towel and only after that take it home. At home, place it on the floor near a heating radiator or in any other warm place. Do not lay the animal on a sofa or bed - when it comes to life, it may fall and be injured, because the cat's mind remains clouded for some time after the effect of anesthesia has passed.
Until the postoperative suture on the cat's abdomen has healed, make sure that the cat does not “lick” it. For this, it is better for her to be in a special bout, which you can buy at a vet clinic or pet shop.
Sterilization of pets is the most humane and harmless way to control their numbers. In sterilized cats, there are no tumor formations of the reproductive organs, to which 4 out of 5 pets that have not passed through this procedure are exposed. The sterilized cat does not leave tags throughout the apartment and does not torment its owners with an incessant cry. Such animals do not feel at all disadvantaged in something, on the contrary - they live a long and happy life to the joy of their owners.
Positive aspects of animal sterilization
Many believe that such an operation is harmful and dangerous to the life of the nursery. We will try to dispel this myth.
- Experts say that the sooner a cat is sterilized, the easier it will undergo surgery, which will have a beneficial effect on its future life activity.
- Surgery is possible not only at an early age, but also in older animals. Late age for surgery almost does not exist.
- Cats that have gone through such an operation are much less likely to get cancer and their body is less susceptible to various inflammatory processes.
- Home favorite does not have to constantly torment hormonal pills, trying to extinguish her natural, physiological desire.
- Your pet will have problems with early childbirth, and in fact they can cause dangerous pathologies in the life of the animal.
- The pipe will no longer cause discomfort, so you will save the cat from suffering during puberty.
Having dealt with the advantages of sterilization, you will understand that such an operation will prolong the life of pets, and will save you from the search for an animal that escaped during estrus.
She will not strive to run out into the street in search of an active cat, but on the contrary will be a sweet and affectionate homebody, waiting only for her owners, in contrast to unsterilized pets. And of course there will never be problems with the distribution of offspring after the next birth.
The main disadvantages of sterilization
Positive moments are not few. Are you ready to start the search for an experienced veterinarian and are motivated to it? Remember that every owner should know not only about the advantages, but also about the disadvantages of such an operational intervention, for example:
- Intolerance to anesthesia (anesthetic risk).
- Complicated way out of anesthesia.
- Sterilized cat is prone to obesity due to hormonal imbalance. Proper nutrition will help solve the problem of excessive weight gain.
All the disadvantages are individual, most of these problems are easily avoided by choosing a competent veterinarian for sterilization. One can learn from him how to properly feed a sterilized cat so that it does not gain excess weight, and also from how many months it is possible to sterilize the cat.
Sexual development of the animal occurs at about 6-9 months of life. Physiological development is slower. To understand when you can castrate a cat, you need to consult a veterinarian. He will inspect the pet, tell the owner about its development and select the optimal method of operation:
- If the cat has not yet been in heat, then the ovaries will be removed (ovariectomy).
- If the animal already had offspring, both the uterus and the ovaries are removed. This will help to avoid inflammatory processes in the future.
- Having found out the physiological moments of sexual and physiological development, the owner will understand when it is better to sterilize the cat without harming it. But besides the development of the nursery, you need to know exactly how surgery and preparation for it takes place.
A day before sterilization is necessary to do the preparation. 12 hours before the start do not feed her. Stock up on medicines that will ease the postoperative period. And do the cleaning in the house. Although the animal will be in a bandage, she still can not be in unsanitary conditions. Follow all the recommendations of the doctor, then no problems will arise.
Features of the operation
Having decided on the physiological subtleties and deciding to sterilize a cat at the age of early or more adult, find out in advance exactly how the procedure takes place:
- The operation is carried out in a veterinary clinic, where experienced doctors are equipped with all the necessary tools and preparations. Here the animal will be safe and comfortable.
- During abdominal surgery on the abdomen, a small incision is made, the uterus and ovaries are pulled out with hooks. After that they are removed with a scalpel. Then suture and sterile bandage. Abdominal surgery lasts up to half an hour.
- After 10 days, the doctor removes the bandage, it’s absolutely impossible to do it yourself.
The owners should not only care about the surgery, but also its methods. There is another way - radiation. Some dose of radiation is sent to the ovaries. This method is completely painless, but possible complications in the further life of the cat.The drug method also has its negative aspects, you can disrupt the entire hormonal health, which is a danger to the lives of cats.
Caring for a sterilized cat
A sterilized cat will need special care. After the operation, you take the pet home to its home walls. She will be away from the anesthesia here. Stay near her and support her so that she does not fall and do not hit. When she completely withdrawn from anesthesia, it can not be immediately fed. Keep it clean. Do not forget about the drugs prescribed by a doctor.
All medications must be given on a clear schedule, the time of which will be written out by the veterinarian. Do not let your favorite tear the bandage, make sure that she does not comb the wound.
Of course, the operations are successful and thousands of cats please their owners with their health. But the cat genus also has its contraindications for surgical interventions:
- It is not necessary to operate on an already too adult cat, in old age it is difficult for them to undergo surgery.
- If the animal is ill or has recently suffered from complex diseases, sterilization will be superfluous. Wait until the pet recovers, gain strength and energy, then feel free to go to the doctor.
- No examination can not operate the animal.
Now you know all about the sterilization of cats. If it is still early to sterilize the cat, the doctor will tell you about it. Try not to miss the right moment, so as not to torture the animal and not to suffer yourself. Search for a good doctor in advance. Ask friends, read advertisements and reviews, try to choose the best veterinary clinic. From the competence of the doctor depends on the life and health of pets. Sign up for a consultation in advance.
For what and when it is better to do sterilization
For many years there has been a dispute between veterinarians about the need for sterilization and when it is better to do the manipulation. There is no single answer to this question. So, some tend to say that to conduct castration (sterilization), it is necessary when puberty does not occur. Others believe that the operation should be carried out not earlier than 9-12 months from birth.
Note! Despite many years of controversy, there is a hypothesis that the best age for sterilizing a cat is before the start of the first heat.
Sooner or later, the owners of a fluffy beauty face heat and the irresistible desire of the cat to meet with the cat. In most cases, the owners do not consult with the experts, but go to the veterinary kiosk and acquire medications to stop the night cries and the excited state of the nursery.
Such an approach can have serious consequences, as the incorrectly chosen dosage of the agent, as well as the age of the cat, the characteristics of the animal’s body are not taken into account. In addition, when taking hormonal drugs, the health of the cat can suffer greatly and cause complications.
The most negative consequences arising from such self-treatment are:
- malignant neoplasms in the area of the pelvic organs,
- cystic changes
- disruption of the body systems.
It is important to understand that in the absence of the desire to receive from the cat in the future litter, it is necessary to sterilize the animal. This will avoid the consequences of choosing the right moment. It is not worthwhile to indulge in the hope that sterilization is an absolutely harmless intervention. But with the right approach and high qualification of a veterinary specialist, the consequences can be easily avoided.
With all the rules, the probability of complications after sterilization is reduced to 0.3% of cases and the cat's body is fully restored after 7-10 days.The manipulation of the cat, which is at the age of sexual maturity, will allow the animal to become more tame, domestic and to some extent lazy.
That is why it is important to ensure proper care and diet of the pet in order to avoid such consequences as obesity from overeating, disruption of the cardiovascular system on the background of obesity and lack of physical activity.
Features of sterilization of British and Scottish breeds
British and Scottish breed cats experts recommend sterilizing between the ages of 8 to 12 months. This is due to the fact that at this age the animal reaches sexual maturity, and the body is sufficiently developed to withstand the operation and to undergo anesthesia.
In addition, the British and Tartans ripen a little later than their relatives, but sterilization in the early period avoids the psychological factor. Cats, after removing the uterus and appendages, may begin to show signs of sexual desireThis is due to the fact that after the removal of the genital organs, the function of hormone production can completely take over the pituitary gland. Therefore, in case of late sterilization, the owner can not get rid of the annoying behavior of the cat.
Special attention should be paid to the nutrition of these breeds. They have a predisposition to a large set of weight, and after surgery, obesity in these cats occurs very quickly. In order to avoid obesity in a cat, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian on the preparation of the correct diet, as well as to ensure active exercise for the animal to spend stocks energy.
When purchasing a kitten or an adult, the owner must determine the purpose for himself. The cat can be purchased for further breeding and receiving offspring. In such cases, you need to understand the responsibility for the fate of kittens when they are born and grow up.
In another case, the cat is acquired simply in order to become a true friend and favorite, and waiting for the offspring is not included in the plans. It is recommended to immediately take care that the cat has been sterilized, because using drugs and contraceptives for animals, the owner condemns the animal to suffering and suffering. Often the result of the use of drugs that reduce sexual desire is the development of dangerous diseases and death.