When asking people about having their pets spayed (female) and neutered (male), we are always amazed to hear them say that they feel this will change their pets’ personalities. It is believed that a female dog or cat “should have one litter of kittens or pups before having them spayed”. This is not so. There is no need to bring unwanted pups or kittens into the world when there are so many that are already struggling to find homes, straying the streets or being neglected. Your pet’s personality will remain the same as it always has been with the exception of the possibility of reducing aggression within a male.
The female cat and dog can start reproducing at the early age of six months. A bitch will come into season (heat) twice-yearly whereas a female cat can have several heats. Unless you intend breeding from pedigree dogs or cats and it is done so with responsibility and a lot of knowledge, it is advisable to have your pet spayed. Fewer pregnancies will also improve your animal’s health, as taking care of numerous kittens and pups can take a lot out of your pet. It is advisable to have your female cat spayed at 4 or 5 months of age and a male kitten at 6 months. Be aware that if your cat does have a litter it can become pregnant again when the kittens are around 5 weeks old.
The benefit to neutering your male dog or cat is that they will be less inclined to roam. Male dogs and cats can travel long distances to a female that is in heat. Apart from the danger that your pet might meet from an accident, their general health will decline, they may lose their appetite and they will be very unwilling to stay at home with you. Having your male cat neutered will also prevent the spread of diseases such as feline leukaemia, which can be transmitted through bites and scratches during fights or by mating. Having your dog neutered may, apart from encouraging him to stay at home, reduce any aggressive tendencies he may have.
Numerous unwanted kittens and puppies are born each year. They are often abandoned only to die of starvation, illness, accident or abuse. As responsible owners, we have the ability to prevent the overpopulation of unwanted pets by having our dogs and cats spayed and neutered.
The cost of spaying and neutering may seem expensive but your pet is receiving the best medical attention while under your veterinary surgeon’s care. Equipment and medicine are costly and the professional ability of your vet must be taken into consideration. This operation will only happen once in your pet’s lifetime, which isn’t much when you consider the benefits. If you make the responsible decision to have your pet spayed or neutered try to save some money before the event. This will make the payment less painful.
Some SPCAs throughout the country can help people on a low income with the cost of spaying and neutering their pets. But remember, these organisations are voluntary and depend on the generosity of the general public to continue their good work. There may not always be funds available or funds may be needed for the care of other sick and injured animals.
For more information on spaying and neutering ask your Veterinary Surgeon.