Terms Of Endearment

It is clumsy to talk about an issue and have to parse your words. That’s for lawyers, politicians, and other liars. 🙂

For reasons best left in the past, there are 4 common terms used for a single concept: spay, neuter, sterilize, and alter. While there exist technical distinctions, they are irrelevant for our purposes.

Which gets to the heart of the matter. My guiding principle here is to produce no more offerings to the great “cat killing machine.” We prevent birth to prevent death. Simple, but effective.

Now let’s pick a term: sterilize? Nope, too creepy. Alter? No thanks. Spay? Odd word, nix. Neuter? It is male specific. Make up a new word? The whole point of this conversation is that there are too many. Words and cats. Let’s reconsider: “neuter” is crystal clear. While technically wrong for half the population, women’s rights have survived far worse. So that’s our word. Well, mine anyway.

Yang the cat is yawning

Yang: “You are going to do WHAT?”

The Operation

In general, it is best to neuter a cat at 2 to 6 months of age.

To perform the surgery, the veterinarian first puts the cat under anesthesia.

A female can be spayed while she is in her heat cycle, though most vets prefer not to because the blood supply to the uterus is increased. The uterus and ovaries are removed. Return in 7 to 10 days to have the stitches removed. Unless dissolvable sutures were used.

For a male, the testicles are removed. Usually, the cuts are so small no stitches are needed.

Check daily to be sure the area has not turned red and puffy. If your cat starts chewing at the stitches, you may need a special collar to keep stitches out of reach until the area is healed.

The cat can be active within a couple of days.

Excuses NOT To Neuter

Hmm. Can’t think of any.

Reasons TO Neuter

There are many reasons that cat owners should get their pet neutered. Whatever the reason, it is definitely a good idea. Pick one and get on with it.

Over Population

There are too many unwanted litters of kittens. Millions of cats are killed each year. The vast majority are healthy and friendly animals. The majority are also young.

Most would be acceptable for adoption, but there are not enough families actively looking to give an animal a good home. What is the point of creating more kittens with no place — or chance — to live?


An unwanted cat that is not killed usually becomes feral. There are probably as many feral cats as there are cats who have homes. A large feral cat population can have a damaging effect on the environment. And most important, they lead a hard, generally brief life.

Feline reproduction statistics are high (but much lower than commonly reported). Just 2 feral cats producing 2 litters a year, at a survival rate of 2.8 kittens per litter yields:

  • 12 cats the first year
  • … and
  • 96 cats in the fifth year.

Intact (such a ‘tact’ful term) Cat Problems:

– Frequent Heat

Intact female cats go into heat several times a year, producing unwanted behaviors such as hours of yowling, howling, spraying of furniture, and inevitably kittens.

– Marking

Sexually mature males like to “mark their territory” with their odorous spray — often.

– Roaming

They will wander off for days at a time in search of a female in heat. Sometimes they never return, and you never know why.

Neutered Cat Blessings

– Better Health

A neutered cat is a healthier cat. A pregnancy in an ill or aging cat can be fatal. Females have a reduced chance of mammary cancer. And the uterine condition, pyometra, which can be deadly. Males have less chance of developing prostate problems or being injured in fights over females.

– Longer Life

They live a safer lifestyle since they don’t roam around in search of a mate. So they’ll be around much longer to be enjoyed and loved.

– Friendlier Disposition

Cats are friendlier to their owners when neutered.

Save $$$

In the long run, you will save money. From damaged furniture replacement and vet bills.


Prices range from affordable to subsidized to free. Shopper, be aware.


Unless you’re a breeder, your cat certainly will be better off neutered. And if you are a breeder, well, I’ve got a bone to pick with you. On another day. Finally, it’€s the responsible thing to do! I hope, by now, I am preaching to the choir. In which case, can I get an “Amen?”