Pet overpopulation continues to be an overwhelming concern across the United States. According to data from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately three to four million enter animal shelters each year. Of these, nearly 75% are euthanized.
Bearing the brunt of the increasing feline overpopulation, most human societies and animal shelters advocate for early cat spay and neuter. For decades, the recommended age for cat spay was after the female had a litter. Progressively, it changed to after the first heat cycle, and eventually, the vet services settled on six months or older.
Early cat spays and neuter procedures are now common. The ASPCA considering the period between eight weeks and five months old as safe to carry out the surgical intervention. As with any pet health issue, you may need to consult your local vet clinic to determine the best time for your feline friend.
Misconceptions regarding early neutering or spaying among the population held back most parents from taking their felines to the local veterinarian for the procedures. Twenty years or so of research by shelters dismissed some of the myths. It was found that cats neutered or spayed as early as six to twelve weeks had the same metabolic rate, type of growth, urethra diameter at adulthood, and behavioral patterns. Here are three reasons why you should consider early cat spay or neuter.
A survey by IPSOS Marketing for PetSmart Charities found that two-thirds of participants were unaware that pet overpopulation is a problem. With 1.5 to 2 million animals euthanized each year, US shelters are advocating for better control. In most shelters, the euthanasia rate is higher for cats than dogs. Pet owners that delay the process to the traditional six to eight months play a game of Russian roulette as unintended pregnancies can occur from as early as four months of age.
Vet clinics often perform a risk-benefit analysis before performing any surgical procedure on animals brought in. Epidemiological studies done between 1981 and 2005 show a lower incidence of mammary neoplasia among cats spayed before their first heat cycle. Mammary neoplasia is the third most common cancer in cats, with 96% of the tumors being malignant. Early cat spay or neuter eliminates diseases related to the uterus, ovaries, and testes. Another study published by the Vet Med Association showed that cats that underwent early neutering or spaying had decreased asthma, gingivitis, and hyperactivity.
Early age sterilization is surgically and medically safe. Veterinarians report much quicker surgeries and less trauma for kittens. There is better abdominal visualization as the vet doesn’t have to cut through extra layers of fat. The closure is a relatively simpler process with one stitch through the one-centimeter incision. Kittens have also been shown to shed the anesthesia faster than adult cats.
The evidence is pretty clear that early cat spay and neuter may be beneficial than waiting until your feline hits six months old. To determine if your cat is an ideal candidate for the surgical procedure, reach out to Brandywine Valley SPCA.
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