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To Spay Or Not To Spay  

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I did a search and didn't really find an applicable answer, so my apologies if this has been covered in some capacity recently.

I have a 4 month old kitten and guess I should plan to spay her at around mid jan/feb...

Not to get into a rant on animal rights blah blah, but I find removing a kittens sex organs a bit un-nerving...I know it should be done to prevent dealing with meowing all night, and to eliminate one of a kittens two desires (prey and reproducing) but is it 100% better to have her spayed?

If I don't have her spayed
1) HOw long do these heat cycles last? Temporarilly, or can they just pop up at any time as long as she has her organs.

2)Are there any health risks by not having her spayed?

3)Does anyone have unspayed kittens (or one), and if so how did/are you dealing with it?

Pls note that this is a single kitten. If I get another kitten, I do plan to get another (younger) female.

She's so nice and peaceful now....I would hate for an experience like this to mess her up mentally....

Thanks
post #2 of 26
A cat's heat cycle can really last as long as she wants it to, seriously. If she smells a male around, she can PUT herself into heat, just like that, and STAY in heat until she gets what she's looking for.
Yes, there are health concerns if not spayed. She can develop an infected uterus, or pyometra, and if that's the case and it's not too far along, she'll have to be spayed anyway, but under possibly severe circumstances (infection, etc..) and under worse circumstances, it could kill her. Also, spaying helps eliminate the possibility of mammary cancer. I do not have any unaltered cats. Please consider spaying her, for her sake! Thank you!
post #3 of 26
Please read this article, which answers most of your questions: http://www.thecatsite.com/Cats/Cat_C...uter_Cats.html
post #4 of 26
When they're in heat they try (and often succeed in) getting outside and finding themselves a boyfriend-- and you know what that means. Also there is a life threatening disease called pyometra that they get if they go through heat cycles without having kittens. It is an infected, pus filled uterus and the prognosis is very bad.

Getting kitty spayed will protect her from pregnancy, pyometra, ovarian cancer and other diseases. Plus, you won't be kept awake for three weeks out of the month by incessant yowling. Most importantly, the only purr-sonality change you will notice is that she will be much happier.
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by menagerie mama
A cat's heat cycle can really last as long as she wants it to, seriously. If she smells a male around, she can PUT herself into heat, just like that, and STAY in heat until she gets what she's looking for.
Yes, there are health concerns if not spayed. She can develop an infected uterus, or pyometra, and if that's the case and it's not too far along, she'll have to be spayed anyway, but under possibly severe circumstances (infection, etc..) and under worse circumstances, it could kill her. Also, spaying helps eliminate the possibility of mammary cancer. I do not have any unaltered cats. Please consider spaying her, for her sake! Thank you!
It looks like we were writing our posts at the same time.
post #6 of 26
I am 99% sure that every TCS member who replies will tell you the same thing - it is kinder, safer and cheaper in the long run to have your animals spayed and neutered. You avoid many physical diseases and problems, the poor cat doesn't have to go through the misery of heat cycles (and they are miserable, believe me!), and you will save on vet bills for all kinds of things later. And that is not even mentioning what could happen if your cat does get out and get pregnant and you have to deal with the medical and emotional problems of raising and homing kittens, not just once but many times. Alos, every owner who allows a cat to have kittens just adds to the horrific problem of millions of unwanted cats on the streets, who might find homes if there were fewer kittens around.

Please have her spayed;if she could talk, she would thank you on behalf of all her cat sisterhood. The procedure itself is safe and easy in the hands of an experienced vet, though we all worry when our beloved companions have to go in for surgery.
post #7 of 26
oh gosh...this is the second one this week....lol

Besides the health reasons listed above......It is really a sign of respect.......

I know this sounds wierd.....But their are millions of stray/fereal kitties out their....cold, hungry, alone w/out love........

By you spaying your cat, you are showing it that you would never want to add to the suffering kitties out there.........

I know you have lots of questions.....However this site very much encourages spay/neutures...w/ the exception of proffessional breeders.......

Everyone will be honest and candid w/ you on this subject...But believe me this is a topic that we all feel very strongly about.........sometimes we have to bite our tougue....

Hoping you find the answers you need
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well, that's an easy decision then. I was under the completley wrong idea in thinking that spaying a kitten was actually along the same lines of declawing.

"That'll stop her from scratching my rug!"

i.e. "That'll stop her from yowling for 3 weeks out of last month!"

I didn't realise that there were so many health benefits for the cat as a result as well.

Why do 'professional breeders' feel otherwise?
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BARASHIN
Well, that's an easy decision then. I was under the completley wrong idea in thinking that spaying a kitten was actually along the same lines of declawing.

"That'll stop her from scratching my rug!"

i.e. "That'll stop her from yowling for 3 weeks out of last month!"

I didn't realise that there were so many health benefits for the cat as a result as well.

Why do 'professional breeders' feel otherwise?
True breeders dont breed every heat( most that I know dont) and they have the education to deal with kittens and find them good homes.. raising kittens is tough work for the seasoned

I will never have an unfixed animal( cept for fish since I cant find a vet to do it )..
post #10 of 26
I too know ethical breeders and they do not breed every heat cycle. But they have to put up with the heat cycle when they come, and be sure the cat doesn't get pyometra by not being bred. They also have to deal with males that spray when they don't get to breed, or during kitten season because they are excited a female is near.

How they justify it is really up to them. Unless you have a solid breeding program, breeding with good lines open, you should spay and neuter. The earlier you can spay (I have heard) the better the cat's temperment is. There is on the board, an article about early spay and neuter and the results of several kittens that were followed throughout the study. I will see if I can find it for you. It is quite interesting.

For me it is not an extreme of animal rights that prompt me to spay and neuter. It is the countless orphaned kittens I care for during kitten season, and the ones who don't make it that seal the deal for me.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BARASHIN
Well, that's an easy decision then. I was under the completley wrong idea in thinking that spaying a kitten was actually along the same lines of declawing.

"That'll stop her from scratching my rug!"

i.e. "That'll stop her from yowling for 3 weeks out of last month!"

I didn't realise that there were so many health benefits for the cat as a result as well.

Why do 'professional breeders' feel otherwise?
I think you will find that professional breeders only breed their females for a given period of time, after which they are retired and spayed. If you need a list of low cost spay clinics and you live in the USA, you can go here:

http://www.lovethatcat.com/spayneuter.html

Katie
post #12 of 26
post #13 of 26
Responsible breeders take great care in ensuring the continued good health of their queens. Pyometra, a serious and sometimes life-threatening uterine infection can occur if a queen is allowed to experience estrus cycle after estrus cycle without being bred. Responsible breeders will allow planned breedings based on the number of cycles that can safely be experienced in their queens, usually 3 to 5, depending on individual cats/breeders.
post #14 of 26
I'm not a breeder, so this is second-hand information, but this is my understanding:

Breeders keep very, very close tabs on their queens' health. The risk of pyometra is greater with every heat cycle that a cat goes through without mating, so a queen in a respectible breeding program is at less of a risk than the unspayed females who never breed.

Cats go into "responsive" heat (I think that's what it's called), in that they will go into heat when there is a male around. (Unlike dogs that go into heat, I think, twice a year.) Good breeders keep their queens and studs completely separated unless actively breeding. Many contract out for stud services so they don't have them in the same home at all. Of course, that isn't to say that the queens don't go into heat when they aren't planning a litter, but they do what they can to minimize it.

Also, good breeders don't breed a queen for many years. I know I've seen "retired" queens up for adoption to a good home at 2-3 years old. Once they are retired they are spayed and live a life of luxury as a beloved housecat.
post #15 of 26
I currently have a friend who had 3 unspayed females. She was very careful to keep them inside, and never had kittens. However, she did lose two of the sisters to cancer. She is still heartbroken about it, because she had no idea of the health benefits of spay.

In fact, she has no pets at all, and only rents at pet free apartments because she does not want to love and lose a pet again. She does visit me and my babies, though, and loves on them. I only WISH I could adopt to her, because she is a very kind and loving person.

I am sure that not all unspayed females get ill. But it is a numbers game. I keep my kids in carseats, although I have only been in one serious accident. I get vaccinations, although I have only lost one cat and one dog to distemper, out of the many I have owned.

And many people do ask about the fun of a litter of kittens. Fostering is a great way to fulfill that urge, without bringing more babies into a world already overrun with cats. (I loved my then 5 y/o ds's quote when I first volunteered at a spay/neuter clinic. I told him it was to help prevent unwanted kittens. He said, "But Mom, I thought we liked kittens?")
post #16 of 26
When people say breeders keep close tabs on their lines it means they make sure they are breeding to standard and eliminating health problems. When a cat is chosen to breed, it is an exceptional example of the breed and is clear of genetic health problems. HCM and many other things are passed genetically and breeders will take a lot of time to make sure their lines don't have it. If you have a moggie you don't know what the cat is a "carrier" for and could be passed on to the kittens.

I'm really new to this myself. But for the love of the breed I'm educating myself in every capacity to make sure I do things right. I am financially ready to take my cats to a vet in case of dire circumstances which aren't as uncommon as people may think. Pyometra as others have stated comes quickly and depending on what kind it can kill without many signs showing.

I don't know if you've seen a cat in heat? Its really painful to watch if they are not allowed to breed. They will drag themselved on the floor on their sides, or butts in the air, and absolutely look like they are in pain that they want to be breed so bad. Its very hard to watch and you feel bad for them when you see it. Also many females spray when they are in heat. Some cats also pee around the house while in heat and also not in heat. They have a strong desire to "mark" everything. Their voices are very loud during this time as they call almost desperately to a male.

When you spay your cat there is nothing psychological that happens other than the cat is put at peace. The rage of hormones that brings teh cat into heat never comes so they are content and happy. Cats don't have the psychological attatchment that we would over teh same issues. Cats will also cycle continuously throughout the year, sometimes only 2 weeks apart. Each heat could last from 5 days to 2 weeks.

Ok I typed more than I expected I would .
post #17 of 26
Here's my tuppensworth from across the pond in the UK.

Definitely get your kitten spayed for all the health reasons everyone's listed.

All my girls are spayed and all my boys are neutered (husband and son excepted ).

Not only does it stop health problems as mentioned above but also stops cats getting infected with other diseases such as FIV etc. Getting young toms neutered helps to stop them fighting and roaming. One unneutered tom cat will have a territory at least 2 miles square. That's a lot of busy streets to cross, a lot of other cats to fight and a lot of females to put in the family way!

I've been working with the Cats Protection League off and on for over 20 years and I've seen so many unwanted kittens, some ill-treated just because the owners didn't get the mother's spayed. One sad little family we rescued was living in abject squalor in an old air-raid shelter. Mum puss had got pregnant and the owners threw her out It took all afternoon in the freezing cold to catch Mum puss and her 4 kittens (they were about 5-6 weeks old). We caught the kittens first in a humane trap, then Mum puss who was beside herself and thoroughly distraught, poor thing. As soon as we caught Mum puss we reunited her with her kittens and took her to one of our foster homes where she was put in a warm bedroom, given food and looked after. She was a lovely cat and although initially a little wary, soon learned to trust humans again. Her kittens were adorable and tamed very easily. Mum puss and two of the kittens were adopted by the foster carer. The other two kittens were adopted by a family who'd lost their cat to old age so there was at least for one cat family a happy ending Sadly, it doesn't always happen that way.

Yes, get your kitten spayed and enjoy her wonderful company
post #18 of 26
WARNING! THESE ARE GRAPHIC PHOTOS!

Pyometra can happen if a cat (or dog) is not spayed and allowed to go through cycle after cycle.

These photos of what can happen should change ANYbody's mind who is thinking of NOT spaying his female cat/dog:

http://congocoon.com/Links.html

WARNING! THESE ARE GRAPHIC PHOTOS!
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BARASHIN
Well, that's an easy decision then. I was under the completley wrong idea in thinking that spaying a kitten was actually along the same lines of declawing.

"That'll stop her from scratching my rug!"

i.e. "That'll stop her from yowling for 3 weeks out of last month!"
While I am pro-spaying for many reasons (all of which have been already stated quite well ) I have to admit, stoping her from yowling is also a big bonus. I just spayed a cat that was in heat and let me tell you, those three days before her surgery I didn't sleep, swallowed my weight in tylenol and found myself at 4am day two laying on the floor with her begging her to be quiet for 20 minutes just so I could catch a nap. At first it's kind of funny (ok maybe that sounds mean, but the way she was acting I just had a vision of her in black lingerie on a leopard print couch going "c'mere big boy!"), but after an hour or so, those noises get quite irritating and they last a good long time.

Spaying will save her health.... and your sanity!
post #20 of 26
Cats are not like dogs with only have "two" seasons. They will continue to go in and out of heat about once a month until bred. The cycles last a week or a little longer; 5- 8/9 days sometimes.

The cat will be crying all the time calling for a tom. She will try to escape outside to find him. That puts her in danger not only of getting pregnant, but to get into fights with unknown cats and exposure to parasites as well as FELV, FIP, etc.

An unspayed female who is not bred and you continue to let her cycle runs increased risk of cancer.

There are enough strays, cats/kittens in shelters, and backyard breeders now - please don't add to the population of unwanted animals.

She will be much happier and healthier if you spay her

I like to do the females around 6 months of age - many push for younger as there are too many "oops" litters.
post #21 of 26
You asked about the professional breeders - I bred rexes for about 5+ years. My females were bred once a year - you have to allow time to recover physically and emotionally. I was one of the lucky ones that my females did not come right back into heat after kittens were born. They usually waited 5-6 months before coming in again. Why? I have no clue, but it was nice and quiet.

The 3 week span is not the entire time they call or can breed- its usually a week of pre-heat, the actual week of being in full heat and the last a cooling off before they start all over, that's why I said about once a month.
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BARASHIN
If I don't have her spayed
1) HOw long do these heat cycles last? Temporarilly, or can they just pop up at any time as long as she has her organs.
You can expect heat cycles to be up to one week on, two weeks off, year-round, for life. She may get a couple of months off in the late fall if she is lucky. If you are looking for something that will mess up her mental health, you couldn't find a better way to do it. When she is in heat, she will not be the cat you have come to know. She will be a completely different cat, and she won't understand what is happening to her at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BARASHIN
2)Are there any health risks by not having her spayed?
Plenty. Breast cancer. Uterine cancer. Pyometra - a septic uterus that is fatal without emergency surgery and is sometimes fatal in spite of treatment. Feline leukemia and the feline AIDS virus, from mating with random tomcats. When she does get pregnant (and it is really a "when", not an "if", unless she gets pyometra first), there are innumerable complications that can possibly result from pregnancy, some of which can be fatal. Not to mention the awful thing of bringing an unplanned litter into the world. In the United States, more cats are killed in shelters simply because they do not have homes than die of any disease.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BARASHIN
3)Does anyone have unspayed kittens (or one), and if so how did/are you dealing with it?
Yup, still have a couple of unspayed kittens from this summer. I'm dealing with it by having them spayed the instant I scrape together enough money. If one should happen to go into heat, then I will happily go without groceries for a week if that's what it takes to get her spayed in time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BARASHIN
She's so nice and peaceful now....I would hate for an experience like this to mess her up mentally...
Spaying definitely will not mess her up mentally, at all. What will mess her up is constantly being in and out of heat, having an entirely preventable medical crisis, or being a mother before she is mature enough. I can state without any hesitation or reservation that sterilized cats are happier and healthier.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BARASHIN
Well, that's an easy decision then. I was under the completley wrong idea in thinking that spaying a kitten was actually along the same lines of declawing.

"That'll stop her from scratching my rug!"

i.e. "That'll stop her from yowling for 3 weeks out of last month!"

I didn't realise that there were so many health benefits for the cat as a result as well.

Why do 'professional breeders' feel otherwise?
Makes sense...it sounds like you may have only heard about the benefits to the human. It's true that sterilized animals make better pets, but the health reasons are really the reason to have a cat spayed/neutered.

The breeders here (whom I would consider to be among the best in the field in terms of ethics) would not disagree with the benefits of spaying, as they require all the kittens they breed to be spayed/neutered unless they are going to be a part of the breeding program. They take great pains to make sure the queens do not get pyometra, and usually they are "retired" and spayed by around age 5. So it is not the same as allowing a cat to go unsterilized for life. It's a very controlled circumstance and not easy to maintain well.
post #24 of 26
In addition... ONE unspayed female and ONE unneutered male and their offspring can produce over 420,000 kittens in just SIX YEARS. Enough said.

Please spay her!
post #25 of 26
People, the OP gets it! He said he understood that there are health benefits too and that he had not known that. LOL, this is what they were talking about in IMO....
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by joecool
People, the OP gets it! He said he understood that there are health benefits too and that he had not known that. LOL, this is what they were talking about in IMO....

Right on Wesley.....
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