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Spay and Neuter - Frequently Asked Questions


What is Spaying?

A spay (ovariohysterectomy) is the surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries from the abdomen of an animal.

What is the purpose of spaying?

The spay is currently the only foolproof method of birth control for female cats, and it is a permanent method.

Will spaying eliminate heat cycles?

Spayed animals no longer go through heat cycles. Female cats normally come into heat several times a year, and can have their first heat cycle as young as 4 or 5 months of age. Spaying kittens by five months safely ends several problems associated with the heat cycle, including spraying urine and continuous howling, as well as the potential for an unexpected litter when a female kitten finds a way to escape confinement.

Are there other good reasons for spaying?

The risk of mammary cancer is reduced if a cat is spayed before her first heat. Also spayed pets cannot develop pyometra, a serious uterine infection. Finally, difficult pregnancy and delivery in older cats or ill cats is prevented.

Do cats gain weight after spaying?

Your cat will not gain weight, if you provide a balanced diet and encourage regular exercise.

Should cats have at least one litter before being spayed?

No. Your cat does not need to have a litter of kittens to mature.

What is Neutering?

Neutering (castration) is the surgical removal of the testicles from the scrotum of an animal.

What is the purpose of neutering?

Neutering is the primary method of sterilizing male cats.

What are other benefits of neutering?

Neutering a male kitten by 5 months prevents development of mating behavior and the obnoxious habit of spraying urine to mark territory around the house and yard. An un-neutered cat cannot control his mating instincts. Given freedom to wander, such an animal may become hurt or lost, and is almost certain to be responsible for unwanted litters. Humane societies cannot place all of the resulting kittens, and millions must be put to sleep. Countless others are abandoned.

See your veterinarian!

Discuss your questions about breeding and birth control with your veterinarian.

The answer is to SPAY or NEUTER your pet cat.

Reprinted in part from the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association.
Updated December 2014