Kitten owners often ask us about spay and/or neuter procedures, the cost and reasons for spay and/or neuter. We recommend that all kittens that are not going to be bred be spayed or neutered both for their own health and to prevent overpopulation.
Neutering is a term that simply means “to remove the reproductive organs.” In females the term is spay and the uterus and ovaries are removed. In males the term is castration and the testicles are removed.
Today this is safe, routine, preventative care. We use the most modern anesthetic protocols and monitoring equipment to minimize anesthetic/surgical risk. We provide pain management before, during and after surgery. We perform blood tests to ensure normal organ function prior to administering anesthesia, and we deliver fluids during all surgical procedures to maintain blood pressure and hydration status.
Animals are admitted to the hospital between 8 and 9 am and are discharged between 3 and 5:30pm. We want to ensure our patients are all wide awake before going home.
The animal population is exploding. Each year millions of unwanted pets are born and then euthanized. This is a tragic and preventable situation.
Humane Society of the United States Pet Overpopulation Estimates
- Number of cats and dogs entering shelter each year: 6-8 million
- Number of cats and dogs euthanized by shelters each year: 3-4 million
- Number of cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year: 3-4 million
- Number of cats and dogs reclaimed by owners from shelters each year: Between 600,000 and 750,000 – 30% of dogs and 2-5% of cats entering shelters
- Number of animal shelters in the United States: Between 4,000 and 6,000
- Percentage of dogs in shelters who are purebred: 25%
- Average number of litters a fertile cat can produce in one year: 3
- Average number of kittens in a feline litter: 4-6
- Average number of litters a fertile dog can produce in one year: 2
- Average number of puppies in a canine litter: 6-10
The Biggest Myth: It’s Too Expensive
“It is too expensive to neuter my pet” – The truth is, It’s too expensive not to. Here, a kitten spay costs much less than the cost of caring for and feeding a litter of kittens. The cost for basic care of an average litter of 6 kittens until 8 weeks of age (the minimum age at which they should be weaned from mother and released to new home) including de-worming, vaccinations, examinations, cat litter and pet food is estimated at about $625 These costs do not include lost work or gas for veterinarian visits. This also does not include any potential veterinary care the mother may need during pregnancy or the cost of a cesarean section if there are complications with the delivery.
Factor in any additional cost for treating diseases that do not occur in neutered pets (i.e. pyometra or infected uterus, mammary cancer, testicular cancer….) and the cost of neutering, by comparison, is minimal.
There are many programs through the state, local humane societies and shelters that can assist with the cost of neutering.
- “A female should have a litter before she is spayed.” Females should be spayed before their first heat. This prevents uterine infections, decreases the incidences of mammary cancer, and keeps another litter of unwanted animals out of the local Humane Society or shelter. We recommend spaying between 4 and 6 months of age
- “I want my children to see a birth.” Animals often hide during the birthing process. They don’t want an audience any more than you would. There are many ways for children to see the miracle of birth without putting the family pet through this painful and possibly dangerous experience. Foster a shelter animal that is already pregnant. Watch a DVD or visit a farm.
- “My pet will get fat.” Although neutered pets do gain weight, most of the weight gain is due to approaching physical maturity and a slowing metabolism. Regular exercise and proper diet will go a long way in keeping your neutered pet fit and trim.
- “My pet’s temperament will change”. The only changes in temperament will be hormonally driven behaviors. Most of these are undesirable anyway. Neutering your male cat will prevent urine spraying. Your neutered male will also be less likely get into fights or roam if outside. Your female cat will come into “heat” twice a year if unspayed. If you’ve ever lived with an unspayed female cat you know how vocal they become. It is an unsettling/frustrating experience for them and you will likely lose sleep during these periods because of their howling.
- “I can find good homes for a litter.” If this were true there would be no animals in shelters. There aren’t enough good homes out there. Don’t contribute to overpopulation by making more unwanted litters.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of neutering your pets. We want all pets to have good, long, healthy lives. This simple and relatively inexpensive, one-time, preventative step will make for a much happier life for you and your pet. It will also keep more animals out of the already overflowing shelters and prevent unwanted euthanasia.