Neutering or altering not only prevents reproduction but also inconvenience of the female cat coming into heat or calling. In the female cat this is called spaying. In the male the operation, castration, reduces the tendency to spray and also odor of the male cat’s urine. The operation has the effect of modifying behavior associated with sexual desire and establishing and marking territory.
The result is that the altered cat is usually more stable and affectionate, and bonds more easily with the family. Recent work in Britain and the United States has shown that the operation in either sex can be carried our earlier than was previously thought with no ill effects. Some rescue organizations now alter kittens before they are homes at eight to twelve weeks, but the majority of vets prefer to carry out the operation when the kitten is older, at four to six months.
As both operations are carried out under a general anesthetic, no food or water can be taken for about twelve hours beforehand. The operation cannot be reversed in either sex. What about castration? The operation involves the removal, under general anesthetic, of the cat’s testes. Tiny incisions are involved and usually no stitches are necessary. Within twenty four hours the cat is usually back to normal.
Both kittens and adult cats can be castrated. If you consider giving a home to a stray tom, castration will ensure that he settles quickly, is less aggressive, less territorial and less likely to roam. This also means that he is less likely to pick up infections and be involved in traffic accidents. What about spaying? Female cats do not miss motherhood, and gain security, as they no longer have the urge to roam when coming into heat or calling, and are no longer targeted by unaltered male cats.
Spaying or altering the female cat is more complicated than in the male. The cat’s ovaries, where the eggs are produces and womb (uterus) are removed to prevent her coming into heat. She should not be on heat at time of the operation. A small area of fur is shaved on the abdomen and an incision made, which has to be stitched afterwards. The spayed female cat is usually back to normal quickly but will appreciate care, warmth and light meals for about a week, until the stitches are taken out.
Burma cats are generally known for their good nature, but any aggressive tendencies will be further modified by the altering process. A recently spayed female shows that the shaved area where the incision was made. There is slight possibility that the fur may grow back a different color in the area.
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