What is Spaying and Neutering?
Spaying and neutering are two terms that are used to describe the surgery the prevents animals for reproducing. Spaying is used for female dogs, and neutering is used for males. These surgeries prevent unwanted pregnancies, keep your pup healthy, and reduce the number of homeless animals in our country.
How Old Should My Cat Be Before Spaying or Neutering?
Some people don’t know when their cats should be surgically sterilized. This confusion has led to more unintended cat pregnancies. Female cats can go into heat as young as 4 months old, but the average age is 6 months of age. This means that as young as 6 months old, your female cat can get pregnant.
Male cats reach sexual maturity between 4 and 8 months of age. As young as 4 months old, your male cat could start to reproduce.
Early spaying and neutering are promoted by shelters and rescue groups to guarantee that adopted pets won’t reproduce. Most pet adoptions are only done once this procedure has been completed. This surgery can safely be performed on pets as young as 6–8 weeks old. As soon as they reach the proper weight, which is normally 2 pounds, they can be altered. Animals in rescue are spayed and neutered as soon as possible so they can go on to find forever homes.
A standard spay or neuter surgery for your pet should be performed when they are 5–6 months old. Waiting until after the cat’s first heat cycle, when they are 8–12 months old, is a belief that has been a cause of many unintended pregnancies and unwanted kittens. The surgery can be performed at this age and older, but the risks for health problems and reproducing increase as the cat gets older.
Why Does It Cost More to Spay Than Neuter?
Spaying is a major surgical procedure that involves removing the ovaries and uterus of a female cat. Before the surgery takes place, your vet will want to draw the cat’s blood for testing to make sure she is healthy enough for the surgery. Diagnostic testing, anesthesia, pain medicine, and time in the operating room using resources all cost money. These things are factored into the price of the surgery.
There is more involved in the operation for spaying than neutering. Neutering is the removal of the testicles of a male cat. Removing them requires less work than removing a cat’s uterus. The operation does not take the same amount of time or resources. The recovery time can also vary greatly. No matter which operation your cat needs, the cost of both will always be higher at a private veterinarian’s office.
Low-cost spay and neuter surgeries are subsidized by tax dollars and donations. While the cost is much lower at these places than at a vet’s office, there is typically no bloodwork done beforehand. The cost is significantly lower because the clinics performing the operations are high-volume facilities. They spay and neuter all day, every day, intending to reduce the number of homeless and unwanted pets. Many of these facilities offer no other veterinary services besides spaying or neutering. Have your cat examined by your regular veterinarian to make sure they are healthy before bringing them to a clinic for their surgery.
For 26 years, PetSmart Charities has been partnering with nearly 4,000 nonprofits and governmental entities across the United States and Canada to transform the lives of people and pets. It’s helped over 9 million pets get adopted and has provided low-cost spay and neuter services to prevent millions more from adding to the overpopulation crisis.
Find a PetSmart Charities low-cost spay and neuter clinic in your area. Prices at these clinics will vary depending on your location and the type of surgery that your cat needs. Average prices at low-cost facilities start at $20 and can go up to $125 in some areas.
Some clinics offer blood tests for your cat to check for FIV and feline leukemia. They may also offer vaccinations and microchipping. These services can be added for an additional cost.
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