Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The FEMALE Cats and Spaying

The female cat reaches sexual maturity somewhere between five and eight months of age. The cat's heat season occurs twice a year and in each season she may cycle in and out of heat two or three times. Thus the female cat can be in heat many as six times a year.

A female cat is made incapable of breeding by a surgical procedure called ovariohysterectomy, more commonly known as spaying. This involves the removal of the ovaries and the uterus; the female's heat periods stop and she cannot, of course, have kittens.

Ideally, the female cat should be spayed at about six months of age, before the heat cycles normally begin, when the procedure is simpler and recovery faster. However, spaying can be done at any age with no lasting ill effects. Spaying while she's young significantly reduces the cat's risk of breast cancer and prevents infection of the uterus (pyometra). Spaying also stops her trying to escape from the house each time you open the door. And, most important from the point of view of your own convenience, the cessation of the heat cycle means you won't have a mob of very vocal feline suitors around your home anywhere up to six times a year.

Spaying does alter the metabolism of the female cat to some extent, and she may put on weight unless her diet is controlled.

Spaying is done under a general anesthetic. An incision is made in the abdomen, the ovaries and uterus removed, and the incision closed with stitches. Th cat must be kept quiet for three to four days, and the stitches can usually be removed after ten days.