Spay or Nay? The Pros and Cons of Sterilizing Your Cat

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Feline spraying, also known as sterilization or female neutering, is a procedure during which your cat’s ovaries and uterus are removed so that it wouldn’t be able to give birth to little kittens.

This is a useful procedure when it comes to preventing cat overpopulation, especially considering the fact that there are so many abandoned cats in the street with no one to take care of them, without enough food or water, or a cozy place to warm up when it’s winter.

It is a simple procedure performed at almost every veterinary clinic in the world. It is considered safe, but of course, as a cat owner you want to know all the pros and cons, so here they are.

PROS

1. Prevention of unwanted litters and reduction of stray cats.

Each year, thousands of kittens get thrown away because people who didn’t neuter or spray their cats don’t want them. So they dump them on the streets or somewhere else and let them die of starvation, predation or some disease. Even if they are accepted into some shelters, often they either stay there or are put back on the streets because the shelter workers couldn’t find a home for them. Considering this, you are actually doing good for the future generations of cats by neutering yours.

2. Prevention or reduction of hormone-induced diseases.

Although cats are at a lesser risk of getting a hormone-induced disease (such as vaginal hyperplasia, mammary neoplasia, cystic endometrial hyperplasia and pyometron) than dogs, there is a possibility of getting some of those and spraying your cat can prevent this. However, since the risks are very low, this is not a good enough reason to do so (if it is the only reason).

3.  Reduction of the spread of inferior genetic traits, genetic diseases and congenital deformities.

While breeding, cats obviously transfer genes and genetic traits to the new generations. That is why, for some cat breeders, it would be a good idea to neuter the cats with unfavorable traits while they are small so they wouldn’t pass their genes onto the future generations. 

CONS

1. Your cat may become obese.

Sprayed cats usually need 25% less calories than those unneutered because their metabolic rate slows down, and when they are fed the same amounts they are likely to become obese. Also, these cats become much lazier so they don’t move around as much and spend less calories. The greatest problem about this is not the weight, but what it brings along, and that is the risk of weight-related problems such as diabetes mellitus.

2. You won’t have small kittens.

Sterilizing your cat is a huge mistake if you would like to have her kittens some day. Obviously, when they are neutered, cats lose their breeding potential. This can be very sad if you are a cat person and enjoy their company.

3. Spraying is not entirely safe and it can be pretty expensive.

The spraying procedure conducted on female cats is far more invasive than the one done on male cats, and unfortunately it is not completely safe. Some complications may happen (although not so likely). Also, the cost of this procedure is very high and that is often the main reason why cat owners choose not to go through with it. If you’re having a pregnant cat sprayed, the veterinary costs will be higher because it is a high-risk procedure.