Desexing, or neutering, involves removal of the reproductive organs. In the female cat this surgery is called an ovariohysterectomy and involves removal of the ovaries and uterus. Desexing involved abdominal surgery performed under a general anaesthetic. Desexing the female cat will prevent the cat coming into season (on heat) and prevent pregnancy. Due to the prolific breeding nature of cats, it is wise to consider desexing to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Animal welfare organisations euthanase many unwanted cats and kittens annually and the feral and stray cat populations cause major damage to wildlife and compete with domestic cats for resources, often resulting in cat fights and the spread of disease. Responsible cat ownership involves reducing the number of unwanted animals being born. Desexing will help reduce these issues.
Desexing your female cat has numerous health benefits for the individual animal. Desexed female cats cannot suffer from disease and disorders of the ovaries and uterus. Feline mammary hypertrophy involves benign enlargement of the mammary glands in intact female cats. Desexing is curative. The incidence of mammary carcinoma in female cats is significantly reduced in desexed female cats. It is suggested that desexing female cats before 6 months of age and definitely before 12 months of age will give the greatest reduction in risk of this cancer developing with no risk reduction if desexing is done after 24 months of age when compared to intact female cats. Cystic endometrial hyperplasia (pyometra) is a condition seen in some non-desexed female cats and results in infection within the uterus and severe illness, especially in females after experiencing a pseudopregnancy. Pyometra does not occur in desexed females. These health benefits alone provide enough reason for owners to desex their pet cats.
Domestic cats reach sexual maturity on average between 6 and 9 months of age. Cats produce numerous offspring in each litter after an average 63 day pregnancy. The potential for large populations of unwanted cats being born is evident.
Desexing the female cat is performed by a veterinarian. The cat will be given a general health check, anaesthetised and the ovaries and uterus removed, thus preventing future pregnancy. The recovery period for the cat is reasonably short and the cat will resume its normal activities within a few days. Your veterinarian will advise on any required follow up pet medications, suture removal (if required) after surgery, and any changes in appetite or cat food requirements after surgery.
Responsible pet ownership involves helping reduce the population of unwanted pets in an area and also reducing the negative impact these animals can have on their surrounding environment. It is strongly recommended that all cats being kept as pets or which have completed their reproductive roles in a professional breeding establishment be desexed.