If you’re a little hesitant to have your cat desexed, we can understand why. There’s plenty of misinformation out there that makes us feel like desexing a cat is the wrong thing to do. However, it’s quite the opposite, most of this information is based on myth! We are here to debunk those myths and give you the honest information on desexing your cat, why it’s important and how you can do it.
Here’s the first truth to get us started - desexing your cat will increase its life expectancy! I think almost all of us would do anything to give our cat a long & happy life and desexing is your first step towards this.
Myth: My cat is too young to be desexed
Not always true: Most of the time, the younger the better when having your cat desexed. Cats can safely be desexed from around 8 weeks of age or 1kg in weight. Cats can reach sexual maturity as young as 4 months so desexing your cat at a young age can prevent unwanted litters. Younger cats will normally recover better from the procedure as well, while possibly making it a cheaper procedure for you to pay for.
‘Early-age desexing’ is when a kitten is desexed between the ages of two-three months, and this is endorsed by the RSPCA Australia and practised by a growing number of Australian veterinarians. As soon as you become a pet owner, if your cat isn't already desexed, it’s best to give your vet a call and discuss when they would recommend to have your cat desexed and then book the appointment so it’s not forgotten about.
Myth: It will make my cat overweight
False: The age a cat is when it gets desexed is normally around the age their growth slows down and they would typically put on some weight, regardless of being desexed or not.The health and weight of your cat is totally up to you; what you feed your cat, whether or not you encourage it to be active, take it for walks outdoors, play with it indoors and give it plenty of entertainment at home while you’re away. In saying this, cats all have their own personality, some will play with you all day chasing a toy and others would happily turn their tail and sunbake by the window.
When feeding your cat, you’ll want to ensure you are feeding it high quality food in quantities appropriate for its body weight/age. Speak to your vet if you’re unsure about how best to feed your cat to maintain a healthy weight.
Myth: It will traumatise my cat
False: In all honesty, it’s probably more traumatic for us as a pet owner, than it is for the cat to be desexed. There are a lot of mixed emotions around desexing your cat, putting it in for surgery and the recovery period and often, feeling guilty is one of these emotions. But it’s important to remind yourself that you are preventing serious health issues in the future for your cat, as well as allowing it to live a longer and healthier life.
Desexing a cat is a quick operation and it’s always performed under general anaesthetic, so your cat won’t even know it’s happening, it’s just like going to sleep. The cat will feel no pain during the operation and the vet will administer analgesics before, during and after the procedure to ensure your cat is as comfortable as possible after the operation. You can take your cat home after the vet has cleared it to leave and give it plenty of TLC and cuddles. It may be a little sleepy and tired for a couple of days post surgery, but it will only take a few days before it recovers and will be back to its normal energetic and fun self!
Myth: It’s too expensive
Not necessarily: Yes, you do have to pay to have your cat desexed. But you can look at this like a small investment; the cost of desexing your cat now will far outweigh the cost of the possible future vet bills from associated health issues/injuries prone to non-desexed cats. The cost of desexing your cat will depend on it’s sex and age, the bigger the cat the more costly it can become, which is another reason to get your cat desexed early. Speak to your vet and they will be able to provide you with a price and you can ‘shop’ around if you choose. Some vets will also offer a payment plan or even AfterPay. If you’re thinking about buying a cat, a good option is to buy a cat that is already desexed, meaning you don’t have to worry about any of it at all.
The National Desexing Network (NDN) is a nationwide referral system for discounted desexing made available to pet owners in financial need. The NDN’s goal is to end pet overpopulation by making this service more affordable to those who might not otherwise be in a position to desex their pets. Discount desexing vouchers from NDN are available to individuals holding a pension, concession or healthcare card showing a CRN number. Apply online at www.ndn.org.au/apply-for-low-cost-desexing
Myth: It will change my cat’s behaviour
True: This myth can actually be true, but it’s normally always for the better! Desexing your cat will help to smooth out its moods and allow your cat to be more consistently behaved and relaxed. This has a lot to do with its hormones and once desexed, the fluctuation of hormones will stop, which will also decrease the fluctuation in moods. This isn’t to say your cat won’t be its playful happy self, it will still be lots of fun, but perhaps a little more relaxed and enjoy downtime too. Again, this is normally to do with the timing of your cat being desexed, the same time it’s going from a kitten to an adult cat, which is usually when you see them settle down a little more anyway.
For female cats, desexing will stop your cat from urinating near your front door in an attempt to attract males during heat, as well as stopping the yowling that normally occurs during their time of heat..
For male cats, it will reduce the chance of them engaging in fights with other males over a female on heat, as well as stop them from mounting, urinating and roaming around while looking for a female on heat.