Desexing Your Cat: Everything You Need To Know

Being a pet owner comes with significant responsibility as you are in charge of a beautiful life that must be protected. Desexing is a big part of caring for your cat as you are protecting them from diseases and potential dangers that could harm them otherwise.

As a veterinarian committed to educating owners about the well-being of their pets, we always recommend desexing because it is better for your cat, for you, and the general cat population in Australia. However, we know it can be scary to see your feline friend into the operating theatre, so we have compiled some frequently asked questions and addressed the concerns. If you have any more, please feel free to contact us.

What Does Desexing Your Cat Mean?

Desexing is a surgical procedure where a vet removes the reproductive organs of your cat, preventing unwanted pregnancy and decreasing possible health problems. It is also known as neutering for a male cat or spaying for a female cat, so don’t worry if your vet starts mixing those words.

Much like registration and microchipping, cat desexing is mandatory in Western Australia (and other states) by six months of age unless you are a cat breeder. So, it is essential that you seriously consider the desexing of your cat.

Is It For Male Or Female Cats?

The answer is both! It takes two to tango, so both female and male cats should undergo desexing at your local vet. The procedure and benefits differ slightly due to their different reproductive organs, but altogether, it is still the best route for your cat, no matter the gender.

Male Cats

For a male cat, desexing means removing both testicles to prevent the risk of impregnating a female cat. Not only does this reduce pregnancies in female cats, but it is also helpful to control hormonal behaviours in your male cat.

Desexed male cats are far less likely to display anti-social behaviours such as roaming and fighting. In this sense, desexing keeps them safe from a physical injury that could result in an infection and a hefty vet bill for you.

Female Cats

To desex a female cat, your veterinarian will remove the ovaries and uterus to eliminate the risk of pregnancy and stop your cat from experiencing heat going forward. It is crucial to desex your female cat as soon as possible because it can be tough to tell when your female cat is in heat, so preventing pregnancy the ‘old-fashioned way’ can prove challenging.

Desexing is the most effective method to prevent unwanted litter, but it also has many incredible benefits for your cat’s health, behaviour and peace of mind as a pet owner.

Why Should You Desex Your Cat?

One of the top reasons to desex your pet is that desexed animals are at less risk of developing diseases that could diminish their quality of life and have fatal consequences.

Desexed male cats are less likely to develop prostate cancer and cannot get testicular cancer after the procedure. At the same time, a desexed female cat is less likely to get mammary cancer and cannot develop cystic ovaries or uterine infections that pose serious complications.

Desexed animals live longer and healthier lives overall with loving owners and without producing unwanted kittens that hugely contribute to animal overpopulation in Australia. For all cats to have better lives, desexing is the right choice for pet owners to make.

How Does Desexing Your Cat Impact Behaviour?

A cat’s personality cannot be changed entirely by desexing, but it can significantly impact its behaviour. In male cats notably, desexing reduces problems such as territorial behaviours where they produce horrid smelling urine and act aggressively towards people and other animals. This is great for your cat’s safety and for anyone in your house with a sense of smell.

When Should You Desex Your Cat?

From as young as six weeks old, you can desex your cat, but it must be done by the time they reach six months. At six months old, most cats reach sexual maturity, increasing the risk of pregnancy and little kittens running about without warning. Early age desexing is best as you can avoid desexing cats in heat and decrease the health problems that fertile cats can experience.

How Much Does It Cost To Desex Your Cat?

Like any surgical procedure, desexing your cat does incur costs because of the expertise and medication required for this operation. It may cost slightly more to desex your female, due to the more complex procedure that requires more time and a different level of proficiency.

Nevertheless, compared to the costs of pregnancy and kitten care, desexing your cat is very cost-effective and a sensible expense.

What Happens During The Desexing Procedure?

On the day of the operation, the first thing to know is that your cat should not eat any food as it will be undergoing abdominal surgery. Once at the vet, your cat will be taken into the operating room and laid under anesthesia while the vet removes its reproductive organs. Post-surgery, your cat will be closely monitored until they wake up, and soon after, you’ll be able to take your cat home and let them rest.

Desexing is a standard procedure with rare complications, so the operation should happen smoothly and promptly so you can reunite with your furry friend.

How Long Is Recovery?

After the procedure, your pet may be a little more fragile than usual, so some TLC is necessary for a speedy road to recovery. We recommend separating them from other pets and avoiding excessive exercise like running and jumping where possible. This is all to protect their wound and allow them time to heal properly and peacefully.

As caring pet owners, you should not bathe your cat until their stitches are removed and check these stitches daily to make sure that the wound is healing well. If there are any signs of infection or missing stitches, contact us as soon as possible because your cat’s health is most important to us.