By: Kathleen Rodgers

One of the biggest expenses of owning a cat is the cost of spaying or neutering. Spaying is a surgical procedure to remove the uterus and ovaries of a female cat; neutering a male involves removing the testicles.

While spaying or neutering your cat (also called “altering” or sterilizing) results in lifelong health benefits for your pet, these procedures also have benefits for you, the owner. For instance:

  • Spaying a cat before her first heat cycle substantially lowers her risk of developing uterine, ovarian and breast cancer.
  • A spayed female is less likely to run out the door in search of a mate every time that door is opened.
  • Female cats come in heat almost constantly during breeding season, which lasts about nine months of the year. A cat in heat yowls incessantly which can set your teeth on edge, and will invite male cats in the neighborhood to hang around your front door. Some females will also urinate inappropriately to advertise their availability to male cats.
  • An unaltered male often sprays urine to mark his territory, even in the house. Neutering reduces this behavior.
  • A neutered male is less likely to want to roam in search of a mate and less likely to show aggression.
  • Neutering your male cat reduces his risk of developing testicular cancer and prostate problems.

Because spayed and neutered cats are more content to stay home, they aren’t as likely to get into fights with other cats and have a lower risk of being exposed to disease. Roaming cats are also in danger of accidents such as being hit by a car.

Some people believe that sterilizing their cat will result in a personality change, but any change will be for the better. Altered cats are calmer, more affectionate pets.

Spaying or neutering your cat also reduces overpopulation by preventing unwanted litters. An unspayed female cat can have two or three litters of kittens per year. Having litters this often – or, on the other hand, being constantly in heat if she’s not allowed to breed – puts a great deal of physical stress on her body. Spaying will extend your cat’s life.

Look at spaying and neutering as an investment in your pet’s health and happiness.

Low cost spaying and neutering is available through various clinics in Washington, Dc.  We will talk about those options in future blogs