FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE BEST AGE TO STERILIZE MY CAT?

It is a myth spread by the ‘older generation’ that cats and dogs should be 6 months before they are sterilized. Veterinary students are now taught that is safe, quick and beneficial for the animals health to spay cats once they have reached 3-4 months of age (or 2kg in weight).

In fact, in the US and UK, cats are even spayed as young as 8 weeks of age, in a procedure referred to as ‘juvenile neutering’, performed using keyhole surgery with a small incision. The RSPCA, Animal Welfare League, Cat Protection and reputable rescue organizations all practice juvenile neutering.

Mykonos Animal Welfare is frequently contacted by people needing assistance because a cat they were feeding has become pregnant while they were waiting to have them spayed at 6 months, or has come into season at 4 months and is being pursued by all the neighbourhood tomcats; and our volunteers regularly pick up 5-month-old cats which are pregnant or have already given birth. If your vet has not been trained or is not willing to spay at 4 months of age, ring around to find another vet!

ISN'T IT UNNATURAL OR CRUEL TO STERILIZE A CAT OR DOG?

It is essential to prevent companion animals from breeding under the current circumstances. Every year in Greece tens of thousands of cats and dogs are destroyed, are poisoned, treated badly or die on the streets, and until this tragedy has been addressed it is cruel and irresponsible to bring more animals into this world. If you are in doubt visit any shelter or street colony, and you will be confronted by dozens of unwanted, homeless animals. These animals will range from gorgeous kittens and puppies to healthy and affectionate adult cats and dogs, and just as quickly as these animals live and die their short, tragic lives, many more are produced to take their place.

ISN'T IT GOOD FOR MY FEMALE CAT'S HEALTH IF SHE HAS A LITTER BEFORE SHE IS STERILIZED?

This has been proven to be completely false.

There are no health or veterinary benefits to allowing a female cat to have a litter before having her spayed. In fact, if you spay your female cat before she enters her first heat cycle you will dramatically reduce her chances of catching feline AIDS or developing mammary tumours. Mammary tumours are the 3rd most common form of cancer affecting cats and are of serious concern.

Also – spaying an adult female cat that has had a litter of kittens is a riskier and lengthier operation than surgery on a younger cat.

DO I NEED TO BOTHER TO STERILIZE MY MALE CAT?

Sterilizing male cats will help in the prevention of injuries, diseases such as feline AIDS, and antisocial behaviour like spraying and fighting with other cats.

It is also very important to realise that if your male cat mates with a female cat the kittens will most likely be unwanted. Although you will not have direct financial or ‘hands on’ responsibility, you will be ethically responsible (along with the owner of the non-spayed female if there is one) for the suffering which follows.

WON'T STERILIZING MY CAT CHANGE IT'S PERSONALITY?

In a word: NO!

In fact choosing not to neuter your cat can change their personality, for the worse.

When non-neutered cats reach sexual maturity, their bodies are flooded with hormones which drastically alter their personality. Male cats can become aggressive, extremely territorial and develop behaviours such as smelly spraying (including through your house!) biting and excessive vocalisation. They will begin to wander the neighbourhood in search of mates and competition, which places them at a high risk of injury or contracting diseases, such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).

Female cats that are not spayed will enter heat cycles where they are pursued by any males in the district, and yowl almost continuously and distressingly. Neutering or spaying your cat before they reach sexual maturity (at around 4 months of age) will prevent these antisocial behaviours from occurring. Fortunately, neutering an adult cat will also halt the production of sex hormones, and after a couple of weeks your cat will get back the personality you fell in love with.

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