Spaying and neutering are probably the two most common surgical procedures performed in veterinary practice. The primary purpose of these procedures is to take away the ability of cats to reproduce.We use the term “spay” to describe the surgery performed on a female cat. The proper medical term for the surgery is an ovariohysterectomy – the removal of the ovaries and uterus. “Neutering” is the term we use to describe the surgery performed on males. The medical term is orchiectomy, the removal of the testicles. Another synonym would be castration. Frankly, neuter sounds less, um, aggressive.
SEE ALSO: Why You Should Spay/Neuter Your Cat
Reducing feline overpopulation is not the only benefit to spaying and neutering. If you spay a female cat before they ever come into heat, they will almost never develop mammary tumors in the future. After one heat, spaying still significantly reduces the risk. After two heats, there is no mammary tumor-sparing effect. Spaying also reduces the risk of developing ovarian and uterine cancer. Pyometra is a uterine infection that is potentially life-threatening. Spaying a cat removes the uterus, thus eliminating the risk of pyometra development. Neutering a male cat obviously eliminates the possibility of developing testicular cancer. Dogs that aren’t neutered are at significantly increased risk of developing prostate disorders. Male cats, for some reason, almost never develop prostate disease, regardless of whether they’re neutered or not.
SEE ALSO: Early Spaying and Neutering in Cats
Despite the health benefits listed above, some cat owners still harbor fears about neutering and spaying.