Given that the aim of the Shelter is to make sure cats without homes get adopted, one of its objectives is to sterilize all cats that are put up for adoption, as well as any strays in order to control over-population. This is why our adoption fees include the cost of their sterilization.
It limits undesirable and unexpected litters of kittens, thus helping to reduce the over-population of felines. It is difficult to find homes for all the kittens in an unwanted litter. Many of them will be abandoned if owners cannot be found for them. Stray cats live in miserable conditions (starvation, malnutrition, diseases, and accidents). That’s not the mention the winter, where they need to survive the cold.
It increases the life expectancy of your animal. A cat who has been sterilized has no need to seek out a partner and therefore there is less risk of your pet straying, of him/her getting into fights (incurring bites and scratch marks which may become infected), of road accidents, of him/her hosting parasites like ticks and fleas, and finally of contamination by deadly viruses such as: panleukopenia, FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus who’s human equivalent is HIV), feline leukemia, etc.
It eliminates the need for your cat to stray and get into fights with other cats for the rights to reproduce. They make better companions this way, softer and more affectionate. They are also cleaner, since they have more time to do their daily grooming.
(In the case of males) It eliminates urine marking. Males who have not been sterilized will delineate their territory with jets of urine.
It decreases claw marking. Both male and female cats will mark territory by scratching walls, furniture, trees, etc.
It eliminates the period of “heat” in females. When female cats are in heat, they are agitated, roll around, meow loudly and unpleasantly and rub themselves everywhere. They attract all the males of the neighbourhood who will come and mark your front door with urine. There is also an increased risk that your cat will run away at this time, only to return exhausted and pregnant. If a cat does not become pregnant, the extended heat cycle runs the risk of triggering inflammation to the uterus. Through sterilization, females will, among other things, be spared the hormonal variations brought on by their periods of heat, which could contribute to a longer life expectancy.
It reduces the risk of breast cancer in females, especially if the feline in question is sterilized before her first heat. Fertile females are seven times more likely to develop a breast tumor and 85% of those tumors are malignant. With sterilization however, risks of such cysts or even ovarian tumors are eliminated.
It circumvents the risk of prostate cancer in males.
It prolongs their life. Males and females that have been sterilized have a life expectancy of 20 years, whereas fertile cats rarely live past 10 years old.
When to get your cat sterilized?
It is recommended to sterilize females before they experience their first heat, when they are about 5 months old. A female that has been sterilized runs almost no risk of getting breast cancer. You should sterilize your male between the ages of 5 to 7 months, before he begins marking.
How is a sterilization done?
A castration (sterilisation of a male) consists of removing the testicles. It is a benign surgery which can be done under local anaesthetic. There are no stitches to remove either. The healing period is fast; your cat will be able to return home that same day.
Female sterilization is a bit more complex. The operation consists of a removal of the uterus, the fallopian tubes and ovaries through an abdominal incision. There will be a couple stitches on her shaved stomach, which will have to be removed a dozen or so days later. The healing period is a bit longer than that of a male.
If your cat is already an adult, you can still have them sterilized. If they have already taken on some bad habits (marking, fighting, straying), these habits might not disappear but they will be lessened.
For all of the reasons we have listed, it is highly recommended for you to have your cat sterilized. It will not make them miserable and on the contrary, it will bring you closer together. Their life expectancy will be lengthened. The most important thing is that by sterilizing your pet, you are fulfilling a responsibility that we all have of limiting the proliferation of cats. This year, tens of thousands of cats (50,000 in the region of Montreal alone) will be abandoned. They live miserable shot lives and many will be euthanized.