Spay and Neuter Facts

Learn the answers to common questions about spay and neuter surgery procedures.

Spay and NeuterA common excuse pet owners give for not altering their pets is that the surgery is too invasive or dangerous for their animal to undergo. You may be wondering how the surgery will affect your pet. The Doris Day Animal Foundation, in conjunction with the organizations annual Spay Day USA, helps answer common questions about spay and neuter surgery. Ease your mind by learning the facts about these routine veterinary procedures.

Q: What does it mean to spay and neuter?
Spaying and neutering, the most common surgical procedures performed on cats, prevent them from being able to reproduce. Females undergo spay surgery, called ovariohysterectomy, which involves removing the ovaries and uterus. Males have neuter surgery, called orchidectomy, where the cats testicles are removed.

Q: Does spay and neuter surgery hurt?
Veterinarians provide cats with general anesthesia so the surgery itself is painless. Any discomfort a cat experiences afterward is minimal and part of the normal healing process. Most cats recover quickly, resuming normal activity within three days.

Q: Does spaying and neutering provide any other health benefits?
Yes. Spaying greatly reduces the risk of breast cancer and prevents various reproductive tract disorders. Neutering often resolves undesirable behaviors such as aggression, spraying and roaming, and eliminates the risk of various testicular diseases.

Q: Does spaying and neutering make cats less protective?
No. Any changes brought about by spaying or neutering are generally positive. Neutered male cats usually stop territorial spraying. Neutered cats tend to fight less and are less likely to become lost due to straying from home in search of a mate. Spayed cats do not go into heat or need to be confined indoors to avoid pregnancy. Cats do not become less protective or loyal to their owners as a result of being altered.

Q: Is it really necessary to neuter males? Males don’t give birth!
The old saying “it takes two to tango” is as true for cats as it is for humans. Even if you can keep your male cat under control at all times, accidents do happen and he may escape. In fact, he will likely try repeatedly to escape. Male cats roaming in search of a mate are susceptible to being injured by traffic and in fights with other males. And while a female cat can only have one litter at a time, male cats can impregnate many females each day.

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