Sterilization of cats: the main pros and cons, the pros and cons

Numerous myths about the dangers posed by the sterilization of cats lead to replenishment of an army of homeless animals in the streets, an increase in the rate of diseases of the reproductive system and breast cancer in females, as well as their frequent heart-rending cries from the windows of houses and apartments during sexual hunting.

The benefits of sterilization: expert opinion

Some owners bring their pets to hormonal disruptions and the development of pathologies of the uterus and ovaries, trying to eliminate the symptoms of estrus with the help of medications. Others do not decide on the operation, thinking that the cat will experience physical and mental torment, considering herself an inferior female.

To avoid such misconceptions, you should gradually understand all aspects of this manipulation, as well as weigh the pros and cons of various sterilization methods.

It is immediately worth noting that the cat does not feel the need for motherhood, so the absence of offspring is not an emotional trauma for her.

According to experts, sexual intercourse itself also does not give the female pleasure, but rather causes some discomfort and even pain. This confirms the aggressive behavior in relation to the male after mating and the lack of desire for mating in the absence of estrus.

The benefits of sterilization include:

  • the absence of a period of sexual hunting (estrus), bringing the cat physical and psycho-emotional suffering;
  • prevention of unwanted pregnancy and offspring;
  • a decrease in the likelihood of malignant transformation of the mammary gland;
  • longer life;
  • elimination of aggression;
  • the exclusion of the development of cancer of the uterus and ovaries, as well as other pathological processes of these organs.

After the operation, the females become calmer and do not attempt to break out of the house in search of the male. This is a good argument in favor of sterilization, as a runaway pet may get caught in a moving vehicle, be abused by other animals or humans, be injured during a fight, or get sick with a dangerous disease.

Negative aspects of sterilization

The disadvantages of sterilization include:

  • the risk of complications after anesthesia;
  • stress factor caused by transporting the cat to the clinic and the operation itself;
  • weight gain due to changes in hormonal levels in the body.

It makes sense to talk about complications in the postoperative period only in case of low qualification of the specialist conducting the sterilization. They can also occur due to chronic pathologies of internal organs not previously detected in the female, which is also associated with the negligence of a veterinarian.

Important! In cases where sterilization of cats is carried out at home, the risk of complications increases. This is due to the impossibility of creating sterile conditions at the time of the operation.

Speaking of complications, it is worth adding that in reputable clinics it is assumed that the female will be hospitalized in the first 12-24 hours after surgery. During this period, the animal is monitored, and, if necessary, qualified assistance is provided, which helps preserve the patient’s health and relieves the owners of the inconvenience associated with its release from anesthesia.

Contraindications to sterilization

Age over 8-10 years is not a direct contraindication to sterilization. But most experts consider its implementation to be inappropriate and dangerous, since many cats by this time have heart and kidney diseases that increase the risk of intolerance to anesthesia. Also, an operation performed at this age does not relieve females of signs of hunting, since the adrenal glands and pituitary gland take on the function of synthesizing sex hormones.

The main contraindications for sterilization are:

  • recent severe illness or injury;
  • exhaustion;
  • the presence of allergies to drugs used for anesthesia;
  • pathology of the cardiovascular system.

Important! Before the operation, the doctor is obliged to conduct a full diagnostic examination of the animal using ECG, ultrasound and laboratory blood tests. This stage is skipped only if it is necessary to carry out emergency removal of reproductive organs.

When sterilization is needed

There are certain medical indications that require mandatory sterilization. These include:

  • rupture of the uterine horns during childbirth;
  • violation of the integrity of the reproductive organs as a result of injury, shock or severe compression of the abdominal cavity;
  • the presence of frozen or decaying fetuses in the uterus;
  • polycystic ovary;
  • pyometra (purulent inflammation of the uterus);
  • prolapse of the uterus during childbirth.

The purpose of these operations is to save the life of a cat, so the doctor decides to conduct them independently, without asking permission from the owners.

Best age for sterilization

Most specialists in veterinary medicine agree that the optimal age for sterilization is from 6 to 10 months, taking into account the individual and pedigree characteristics of some cats. During this period, the female’s body is already formed and ready for childbearing.

Early sterilization

Sterilization of cats up to five months of age often leads to hormonal disruptions, manifested by impaired growth and development. In such animals, there is a disproportionate development of certain parts of the body, there is a decrease in vision, as well as anomalies in the formation of internal organs.

It is noted that at an early age, kittens do not tolerate anesthesia, which can provoke nervous phenomena and even death.

Late sterilization

Sterilization of a cat after estrus or childbirth does not always give the expected result, since the female already has a sexual instinct, and part of the sex hormones are produced by other endocrine glands. An undoubted advantage is the inability to bear children, but at the same time, signs of sexual hunting may periodically appear.

Important! Sterilization during estrus is prohibited due to the high risk of bleeding.

The dependence of the occurrence of malignant breast tumors on the number of births and empty leaks has been established. Animals sterilized before the first estrus practically do not have cancer, but in cats that gave birth 2 or more times, the risk of neoplasms increases by 25%.

Sterilization Methods: Pros and Cons

There are three main sterilization methods:

  • chemical;
  • surgical;
  • radiation.

Each of them has its pros and cons, so they are selected individually for each specific animal.

Chemical sterilization

This method involves the introduction of a capsule with Suprelorin under the skin at the withers, which, slowly dissolving in the body, inhibits the function of the ovaries and their production of sex hormones. This drug is valid for 6-24 months, after which it is necessary to reuse it.

Advantages of the method:

  • lack of anesthesia and surgical intervention;
  • pregnancy prevention;
  • lack of estrus and related symptoms;
  • reversibility of the sterilization process.

The disadvantages of the method:

  • the need for repeated manipulation;
  • unpredictability of the expiration dates of the drug;
  • the possibility of pathologies of the reproductive organs.

Unlike the analogues used previously, Suprelorin does not have negative side effects on the body, so it can be used several times in a row for several years.

Surgical sterilization

The method involves surgery to eliminate reproductive function in cats. Such sterilization is carried out by several methods, depending on the technical equipment of the clinic, the material capabilities of the client, the level of professionalism of the doctor, as well as the individual characteristics of the animal.

  • Tubal occlusionbased on ligation of the uterine horns and maintaining the integrity of all reproductive organs. The only advantage is the absence of pregnancy. But the disadvantages are: preservation of estrus and sexual behavior, an increased risk of inflammation, cysts and tumors in the uterus and ovaries, and a high probability of breast cancer.
  • Hysterectomyin which only the body of the uterus without ovaries is excised, which continues to produce sex hormones. The method is considered obsolete and rarely used, since it does not eliminate signs of estrus and the possibility of cancer of the ovaries and mammary glands.
  • Ovariectomy, involving the removal of the ovaries and the preservation of the uterus. Such an operation is performed only in young nulliparous females with an absolutely healthy reproductive system. It does not exclude the further development of pathological processes in the uterus, but completely eliminates the phenomena of sexual arousal.
  • Ovariohysterectomyin which the uterus is removed along with the ovaries. The animal stops estrus, minimizes the possibility of breast cancer, eliminates inflammation and malignant degeneration of the reproductive organs.

The disadvantage of all methods is the use of general anesthesia. But the degree of trauma depends on the method of operation.

  • Access to the abdominal cavity through the midline incision along the white line, the advantage of which is the ability to assess the condition of other internal organs of the abdominal and pelvic cavity. The operation does not require the use of special expensive equipment, which caused its wide distribution. Subject to all the rules of its implementation and the conditions of antiseptics, postoperative complications are extremely rare.
  • Access to the abdominal cavity through a lateral incision refers to less traumatic sterilization methods, since the incision length is no more than 1-2 cm. The surgeon removes the uterus and ovaries with tweezers, which minimizes the possibility of infection of the wound.
  • Laparoscopy, which involves the removal of reproductive organs using a laparoscope, inserted into the abdominal cavity through small punctures. This is the most gentle and safe method of surgical intervention, requiring the availability of expensive equipment and a certain qualification of a veterinarian. The edges of the wounds are not sutured, but glued together with medical glue, which eliminates the need for subsequent removal of sutures.

Radiation method

Sterilization using radioactive isotopes is a rare method due to the high cost and the need for expensive equipment that only large veterinary clinics can afford.

The impact of radioactive substances on the reproductive organs of females leads to their complete sterilization without compromising the integrity of the reproductive organs. This method does not require anesthesia, and passes for the animal completely painlessly.
It is assumed that irradiation in the future can provoke the development of cancer. But it is too early to say this without conducting relevant research.

Features of feeding a cat after sterilization

The absence of sex hormones provokes the deposition of fat in the subcutaneous tissue, leading to rapid weight gain and obesity.

If the female’s menu contained natural products before the operation, then it will be enough to reduce the portion size. But cats, accustomed to prepared foods, should change the diet.

Modern manufacturers offer special food for sterilized cats, which not only reduce calorie content, but also contain substances that prevent the development of urolithiasis.

When deciding on the operation to sterilize his pet, the owner must responsibly choose the clinic. To do this, you need to get acquainted with real customer reviews, check the availability of appropriate permits and certificates for various operations, and also make sure that the rules of aseptic and antiseptic are observed during the manipulation. This minimizes the risk of postoperative complications and allows you to maintain the health of the animal.