Keep Your Feline Friend Safe with Sterilisation

Sterilisation is a blanket term used to describe the process of rendering a pet incapable of reproduction. Read on to know it is safe for your feline friend and what are the methods of sterilisation in cats

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Dr MG Mohamed Ali
Dr MG Mohamed Ali

Reproductive cycle of cat is unique. Cat can have several oestrous cycles especially in darker months of the year and multiple pregnancies within a single reproductive season. The queen in its breeding life easily can give birth to more than 100 kittens! Hence it is important to control breeding in cats shares Dr B Nagarajan.

A lot of pet parents contemplate whether they should get their pets sterilised or not. It is completely safe and your vet can guide you through the procedure. Sterilisation of pets early in their life prevents the development of hormone mediated diseases like mammary gland cancer, which in cats is more than 90 to 95 percent malignant. In the case of male cats it prevents the development of unacceptable behaviour like urine spraying and marking if performed at a young age tells Dr MG Mohamed Ali.

Get it done at the right age

The appropriate age to sterilise a pet cat is a few weeks after the completion of the vaccination schedule which roughly translates to 4.5 to 5 months of age. Preoperative blood tests and a thorough physical examination are usually performed to evaluate the patient’s fitness for anaesthesia and surgery.

Why is it important?

Some of the main benefits of sterilisation according to Dr B Nagarajan are :

  • Increases the longevity of life in cats.
  • Decreases the risk for mammary carcinoma, cervical cancer and eliminates the risk for ovarian cancer.
  • Eliminates reproductive emergencies such as pyometra and dystocia.
  • Prevents unintended pregnancies which may occur as early as 4 months of age.
  • Potentially decreases behavioural problems.
  • Neutered cats are at a lower risk of contracting infectious diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV). FIV is spread through fighting and biting (via infected saliva and blood).
  • Reducing fights by reducing their aggressive instincts.
  • Neutering a cat reduces or eliminates the urge to spray urine on vertical walls and other areas which leads to pungent odour. Female cats also pass bodily fluids with scents when they go into heat. By spaying this problem will get solved.

Ways to get your cats sterilised

According to Dr MG Mohamed Ali, Sterilisation can be achieved in two ways – one is by surgical procedures and the other is by medical management.

Surgical method – safe & secure

Dr B Nagarajan
Dr B Nagarajan

The surgical method is a standard procedure where under general anaesthesia a small incision is made on the ventral abdomen and the ovaries and uterus are removed. Great emphasis is laid on animal welfare and pain management. This procedure is simple and can be performed as a day procedure with the patient discharged on the same day with basic medication for pain and antibiotics. An Elizabethan collar is applied to prevent self mutilation of the surgical site by the pet, which allows for uneventful wound healing. In case of male cats, the procedure is even simpler with two very small incisions being made on the scrotum and both the testicles removed. The pets will be able to resume normal eating and elimination habits in less than 24 hours after the procedure.

More about medical management procedure

The approved medical management of reproduction in females involves the administration of Proligestone , a long acting synthetic progestin injected subcutaneously. It offers a temporary resolution by delaying the inter oestrus cycle and the treatment has to be administered at certain intervals and it is preferred by breeders where the heat needs to be delayed for practical reasons. Regular administration of this medication may lead to development of a condition called Pyometra. Hence, surgical options of sterilisation are safer and preferable.

Post sterilisation care

“Post sterilisation the pet may have a tendency to put on more bodyweight leading to obesity and related health issues which can be avoided by diet modification and lifestyle changes. Sterilisation of male cats reduces their tendency to wander out of their houses and also leads to lower incidence of attacks from other male cats. The procedure also does not predispose the cats to feline lower urinary tract disease in the future. If weight management is followed adequately, then sterilisation does not alter the levels of activity of the pet. On the whole, sterilisation of cats is beneficial to their health and should and is strongly recommended’ said Dr MG Mohamed Ali.

Nutritional management is crucial

Dr B Nagarajan added, “Weight and body condition score should be regularly assessed for the neutered cat. In response to that, rations adjustment and exercise should be followed. Within 48 hours of neutering the cat food intake will increase by around 30 percent, as your pet will not able to regulate its hunger. Food intake will be peaked 10 weeks after neutering. The intake will be then be reduced until 18 weeks post-neutering. By 52 weeks of age, the neutered kittens might be 24 percent heavier with a body condition score (BCS) 16 percent higher.”
A diet specifically formulated with reduced energy content, along with high protein levels and L-carnitine for neutered cats helps to control bodyweight after the sterilisation. Diets high in L-carnitine can help with healthy weight loss, as it promotes the use of fat stores for energy which also helps to preserve muscle mass and further encourages weight loss.”

Royal Canin sterilised cat food, both dry and wet, will meet all the nutritional needs of neutered cats in a healthy way.

(Dr MG Mohamed Ali, MVSc – Chief Veterinarian is from Pasteur Pets Clinic, Chennai and Dr B Nagarajan, MVSc, PhD (Clinical Medicine) is from Ballo Pet Clinic, Chennai)