The risks of spaying your female cat

I am the proud owner of three wonderful felines. They entertain me, keep me company and love me unconditionally. Two of them are spayed. The third is not, because, after being through this a few times, I have changed my mind about spaying my cats, and have decided it is not the right choice for me. Before making a big decision like surgery for your pet, here are a few things you might want to consider or discuss with your vet:

1) If you have a household with multiple cats, there could be serious repercussions after a surgery. Felines are very sensitive to scents. Upon returning home from the hospital, pets can smell differently. This can trigger a defense response in the other pets. Even though it didn’t work for me, using a pheremone spray such as Feliway to ensure a smooth return home is recommended. (And for the record, I actually had to give up a pet because of this. Fortunately, though, she now lives with my mother, is very happy, and is no longer being picked on by the other cats.)

2) Surgery for a pet is a lot like surgery for a human. With age, the risks rise dramatically. If you have an older cat, consider all the risks before sending it under the knife. Make sure to dicuss this with your vet and understand that some felines die while in surgery, especially the older ones.

3) Allergies are a concern. The only cat of mine that is not spayed has a plastic and metal allergy. Her food bowl, water bowl and litter box had to be converted from plastic/metal to glass or paper in order to prevent serious lesions from forming on her skin. For this reason, I will not spay her, as most of the tools used by my vet are plastic or metal. Not to mention, with her allergy problems, she is more likely to be allergic to the anesthesia, which can result in an anaphalactic reaction that could kill her. So, if your vet offers it, spend the extra bucks to have an allergy test performed on your pet before sending it to the hospital. It will ensure the pet is not allergic to the medication and possibly save you from a heartbreaking experience.

4) You may have to put your cat on a diet after being spayed. Both of my cats that have been spayed are overweight despite eating the same amount of food as my cat that is not spayed. Just like in humans, when the uterus is removed, the hormone levels change and metabolism slows down. And no matter how cute they are, fat cats are just as unhealthy as fat humans and can suffer from kidney problems, heart problems, lung problems, etc.

5) Personalities can change. Though I have not experienced this phenomenon myself, a close friend of mine had an indoor cat of hers spayed and subsequently had to make her an outdoor cat after her surgery, as she began “hunting” my friend. Apparently, the cat was a bit traumatized after the experience and my friend has yet to forgive herself.

6) Cost. As I dearly love my cats, I paid the extra money (up to $200 each) to have my cats spayed by a vet I trust. I have been to those free clinics, low cost clinics and the SPCA. All I can say is, with surgery, you get what you pay for. Make sure your pet is treated respectfully and pay the extra money for a good vet to treat your animal.

I know all vets recommend spaying your pet, and for good reason. There are too many cats out there without a home. But, weigh the pros and cons and make your own, educated decision beforehand. I do not intend to let my “natural” cat reproduce and, given the situation and my valid concerns, I have chosen not to spay my pet as her happiness is more important to me than fitting into the social norm.

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