Why is Spaying and Neutering Vital for Your Cat?

What is Neutering and Spaying?

Determining to neuter or spay your felines is a huge decision that you are making for your pet’s health, their welfare, and the well-being of your community. Both procedures are sterilization for cats. For both, your cat will be put under general anesthesia before the surgery begins. It is best to have your kittens (female and male) undergo the procedure before they reach sexual maturity. The best ages to have this procedure done are between the ages of six to eight months old, but this can also be done at four to six months old upon advice from your vet.

This little kitty will need to be neutered soon.

Benefits for your Cat

Unless you’re a cat breeder, you’ll want to consider having your cat neutered or spayed. Cats often mate if they are both indoor and outdoor pets, and they will experience behavioral changes due to their hormones. If you have a male kitten and decide that you don’t want the procedure to be done, you and your cat will be at the mercy of raging hormones and you will suffer from increasing frustration on both sides of the relationship. He will spray urine, he will try to expand his territory, he will search for a mate, he will continue to roam or try to escape, and he will likely fight other male cats. If you allow your male cat to be an indoor and outdoor pet, you will be putting your cat’s life at risk if they meet a stronger male. You will also be contributing to the overpopulation of cats if you allow any unfixed cats to roam outside.

When I was four, my parents bought me and my brother cats; I got a black female named Lodica Diamond, and my brother had a male yellow tabby named Yellow Kitty. My parents kept them as outdoor cats and didn’t get the chance to have them neutered and spayed. Because of this, Lodica Diamond had five litters of kittens and Yellow Kitty would often mate with his offspring and other neighborhood females. This resulted in injuries to his face and body. Exactly thirty-eight feral and non-feral cats lived on the property with him.

Can you care for four kittens and a grown cat?

If you neuter your male cat before they reach eight months of age, you will eliminate spraying for territory; remove the risk of testicular cancer; decrease the chances of prostate cancer; lessen his desire to roam which will make fighting between other male cats less likely; reduce the number of kittens; and decrease aggressive behavior. In the case of females, if you spay her before she’s eight months old, you will stop all heat cycles, resulting in male cats not being attracted; reduce her desire to roam; remove the risk of mammary gland tumors and ovarian and uterine cancer; and also reduce the number of kittens.

Pre-Op Care

Make sure to keep your cat indoors the day before their surgery. Keep plenty of water bowls around the home so your cat can stay hydrated. Your cat must fast for the procedure, so they cannot have any food after midnight. This ensures that your cat’s stomach is empty when they are placed under general anesthesia. If you cat eats after midnight, the chances that your cat will vomit or aspirate the vomit into their lungs in amplified.

Make sure kitty stays hydrated before and after their procedure.

The Process of each Procedure

Neutering: after your male cat has been placed under general anesthesia, your veterinarian will make an incision in their scrotum. Then your veterinarian will suture closed the blood vessels of the spermatic cord above the testes, and cut the blood vessels that will allow for the entire removal of the testes through the incision. After this, your veterinarian will check the blood vessels for bleeding, and they will release the knotted end into the incision. Afterward, your veterinarian will close the skin layers with sutures that will dissolve.

Spaying: after your female cat has been placed under general anesthesia, your veterinarian will make an incision, mid-line of your cat’s abdomen below the umbilicus, and will then make another incision into the abdominal wall to gain access into the abdominal cavity. After finding the uterus, your veterinarian will follow it to either ovary; from there, they will suture closed blood vessels above the ovaries and cut the vessels to completely remove the ovaries from the Fallopian tube and uterine horn. After this is done, your veterinarian will check the sutured blood vessels for bleeding and release the sutured end back into the abdomen. Next, they will remove the uterus by gently pulling the two sides of the uterus towards the rear end of your cat. They will suture the uterus and its blood supply, and cut the vessels above the cervix to completely remove the ovaries and uterus. Lastly, your veterinarian will again check the sutured blood vessels for bleeding and release the sutured end back into the abdomen, close the abdominal wall with and the skin layers with sutures that will dissolve.

Post-Op Care

After the procedure, your cat will be in pain and discomfort. Your veterinarian should provide you with an Elizabethan cone and give you directions for how to care for your cat. Overall, rules are: do not let your cat jump or run for the first week after surgery because your cat may tear the sutures; do not bathe your cat for at least two weeks after their surgery; make sure your home is peaceful and quiet so your cat can recover comfortably.

This cat is rocking her “E” cone in style

Place the cone around your cat’s neck; the cone is meant to prevent your cat from licking the sutures. If your cat does lick their incision site, this can lead to an infection. Check the sutures daily to ensure proper healing. When Mr. Baby Kitty was neutered at seven months old, he would not sit down for a few days after his surgery; this is normal, as some cats don’t want pressure against their suture sites. And when Fredrick Douglass had his surgery at nine months old and had already gotten into the habit of spraying, he was very quiet for a few days, but he stopped being aggressive with the other cats due to the lack of testosterone. If you notice lethargy, diarrhea, a decreased appetite, or vomiting, call your veterinarian and they will probably have you come back to the office with your cat. If there is redness, discharge or swelling at the incision site or if the incision opens, take your cat to your veterinarian or an animal hospital immediately.

Benefits for our Communities

We have an overpopulation issue when it comes to cats, and many people tend to ignore this problem or act as if the situation will resolve itself. Well, overpopulation of cats will not resolve itself. Some cat owners let their cats breed and are able to find a good home for the kittens, but not very many people are dedicated to helping their cat’s spawn find new homes. Most of the time, once a female cat has a large litter, she will become an outdoor cat and will continue to mate with male cats in the area, leading to more litters and contributing to the feral cat population. The ASPCA claims that the estimated number of feral cats is up to 70 million in the United States alone. Sometimes kittens and adult cats are abandoned or just dropped off at local animal shelters. People are more likely to adopt kittens than adult cats that were once feral, leaving them at the shelter for months until they have to be put down to make room for new cats to take their place.

This gorgeous feral cat deserves a real home.

If you plan to be a pet owner, responsibility comes with that and one must accept that amount of responsibility – there is no excuse for not neutering or spaying your cats. If money is a concern, most towns and cities offer low-cost or free clinics, and if you adopt a cat from a shelter, they may have already had the surgery. Let’s help decrease the population of wild kittens and cats, stop the production of litter after litter after litter, and put an end to the euthanization of cats that people can’t have or do not want.

Elanda-Isabella Atencio, our Feline Editor, is on her road to being a “crazy” cat lady. She has three cats; a moody Missus, a wild Baby Kitty, and notorious Fredrick Douglass. She was raised with cats, chickens, dogs, and geese. From cleaning coops, morning dog runs, picking eggs, to growing catnip, Elanda enjoys pampering her pets. Elanda is a student at New Mexico State University, earning her BA in Creative Writing and is Editor-in-Chief of the online arts journal, Independent Noise and reader for Puerto del Sol. She plans to move to Oregon, where she hopes to take her cats on daily walks when it’s overcast and cool. If you’d like to contact Elanda, email her at eincatencio@gmail.com.

Holiday Donations for Shelters and Sanctuaries

Happy Christmas in July!

Celebrate Christmas in July by donating to your favorite charities in the middle of the year! It appears that many people are often the most charitable during “holiday season”: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years being the top time where most donations are given. While this is a wonderful thing to do, it is important to remember that charities need donations all year long, not just during the holidays. Animal shelters and sanctuaries often struggle during the summer months because they receive far fewer donations than in winter. Many other notable organizations require year-round fundraising and charity events because they simply do not have the funds to function how they would like to in the summer. Here are a few things you can do to help your favorite charities all year long!

Monthly Donations

In your monthly budget, set aside a small amount, even just $10, to donate to your favorite shelter or sanctuary at the end of each month. You can do this as a cash donation, or you can purchase products that your charity might need. Real Simple explains, “As you consider how much to give, the first thing to remember is that everyone’s financial situation is personal. For most people, donations don’t exceed 2 percent of their total annual income, but decide for yourself whether this works for you. Those who tithe often donate 10 percent or more, but this is best planned and saved up for during the year.” You have to make sure you can afford to donate as much as you want to. Some people have a naturally generous spirit, but they may not have as much money in the bank as their donating desires require.

Network for Good also advises that you should, “Give generously when you can, but if you’re unsure or feel uncomfortable…ask for more information and take more time to think before making your decision. Be a proactive giver! You don’t have to wait to be asked. Plan a giving strategy in advance. Contact the charitable organizations of your choice to discuss how your gifts can be most effectively used and help make a difference in your community.” Do your research, math, and budget before you make a change in how much money is going out of your account.

Budgeting is so important!

Charity Wish Lists

You can also donate purchased products to certain charities and shelters. For example, one of our favorite sanctuaries, Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary, has a list of products that they require all year round. These products include:

  • Walmart/Sam’s Gift Cards
  • Friskies Canned Cat Food
  • Meow Mix Original Dry Cat Food
  • Alpo or Purina Canned Dog Food
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Cat Clumping Litter
  • Rawhide Chew (not from China)
  • Milk Bones
  • Unscented Bleach
  • Windex
  • Paper Towels & Plates
  • Toilet Paper
  • Bottled Water
  • Lawn & Leaf Bags
  • Quart & Gallon Ziplock Bags
  • Magic Eraser
  • Packing & Scotch Tape
  • Zip Ties

These can be dropped off at their Thrift Store located at 840-D El Paseo Road in Las Cruces. They also accept cash donations, and they have little donation banks at a few locations around town. We even have one available at Your Pet Space! If you set aside this money to either donate a small amount or purchase a few supplies for every month, you will be a huge asset to the sanctuary or organization of your choice and to the lives of dozens of animals.

This little kitty wouldn’t have this cozy bed without your help.

The Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley has a wish list, as well! This list includes:

  • Small breed doggie treats- dye free
  • Small breed dog leashes (not retractable)
  • Small breed dog crates
  • Small breed dog carriers (sturdy, hard shell)
  • Cat treats- dye free
  • Cat toys- new
  • Cat carriers (hard shell, sturdy)
  • Cat litter
  • Large breed dog treats- dye free
  • Large breed dog collars
  • Large breed dog leashes
  • Large breed dog outside igloo’s
  • Large breed dog carriers
  • Large breed dog wire crates
  • Sharpies
  • Latex gloves
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Writing pens- black or blue ink
  • Volunteer board décor-seasonal
  • Pop up canopy
  • Small battery operated heater
  • Water mister for summer outside events
  • Bungee cords- various lengths/sizes
  • Puppy pens
  • Puppy training pads

These donations can be taken to the ASCMV location at 3551 Bataan Memorial West between operating hours 8am-6pm, Monday through Friday, and 8am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday. If you have an organization that you would like to donate to, I would recommend looking for a wish list before you begin your donations. This way, the charity gets exactly what they need and you can help them achieve their goals.

“Can you help me?”


Another excellent way to donate without spending a penny is by donating your time. By volunteering, you will provide much-needed support and assistance to the charity of your choice. If you pick something that you are truly passionate about (such as helping dogs) you will enjoy your time volunteering. By giving a few extra hours on your day off to those who could really use your help, you are providing relief for the other employees and volunteers who have to do more than they can handle. You can help at adoption events, thrift stores, create clubs and fundraisers, and help encourage those with a few extra dollars to donate to a worthwhile cause.

You can help walk this gorgeous mama and get to feel the love of charity without losing a penny.

Tax Deductions

While it shouldn’t be your prime purpose for donating, tax deductions are also a benefit to donating year-round. In order to take advantage of tax deductions, you must itemize your taxes. They need to see exactly where the money went, and what it was for. RealSimple also explains, “If you itemize your deductions, you’ll be able to deduct the full amount of your donation, whereas, if you were to attend a gala, you wouldn’t get to write off the full amount of your ticket, because the costs associated with the gala ticket (dinner, alcohol, etc.) are not counted as part of your donation.” You must donate by December 31 if you want to take advantage of a tax deduction for that year. Because of this, it would be easier to donate throughout the year, rather than trying to donate once at the end of the year, just in time to get your tax benefit.

Animal Charities

With all of these tips in mind, here are two great lists of animal charities that Your Pet Space supports and admires! We like to encourage local charities and sanctuaries first, but there are organizations across the country that could benefit greatly from your donations.

Ultimate Guide to Animal Charities Part 1

Ultimate Guide to Animal Charities Part 2

I hope that this has encouraged your giving spirit, and please consider donating to our local shelters, sanctuaries, and charities year-round. We all truly appreciate your kindness and generosity!

Jessica Smith, Managing Editor, having been raised in a household full of dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, and all things furry, Jessica’s love of animals has only grown over the years. She is currently volunteering for Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary in her free time when she isn’t out and about with her ridiculous pit bull mix, Annabel Lee, or taking care of her two goldfish, Carrot Cake and Winchester. She is also putting her literature degree to use by working as an editor for a local online magazine, Independent Noise. While she has no plans for the future, she knows that it will be filled with fur and fiction galore. You can e-mail Jessica at managerjessica@yourpetspace.info