Sterilization is a surgical or laparoscopic procedure. In the animal environment, sterilization is attributed to female cats and castration to male cats. Both terms refer to the removal of the reproductive organs of an animal. What is sterilization really? When to sterilize? What are the pros and cons of sterilization?
What is sterilization?
Spaying is a procedure to ligate the fallopian tubes of a female cat or the vas deferens of a male male. This means that sterilization does not permanently remove the reproductive organs in cats. In the animal environment, sterilization is actually referred to as castration. Often the term is applied to female cats, but it still refers to the removal of organs. Regarding the permanent surgical removal of the reproductive organs in cats – i.e. castration – you can read the article “Cat castration”.
Today we will focus on the correct description of the term of sterilization, i.e. ligation of the fallopian tubes or vas deferens in a cat.
When to sterilize a cat?
As it was mentioned earlier, sterilization is a procedure of ligation of the fallopian tubes or vas deferens, and thus means that the process of egg cell and sperm production is still permanent. So, to sum up, sterilization does not stop the production of eggs and sperm cells, and thus does not stop the production of sex hormones in the animal’s body. And this, in turn, has a key impact on certain factors that we want to obtain.
Therefore, the veterinary community should use the correct terms. Let me mention again that in most cases sterilization is defined interchangeably with castration.
Considering the fact that sterilization is a procedure that does not contribute to the cessation of production of sex hormones, it can be performed at an early age, even a few months. And thus it will be safe for the developing organism. However, it should be emphasized that we are talking about sterilization as a form that is not intended to remove the reproductive organs!
Pros and cons of sterilization
Sterilization does not permanently remove the genitals. Therefore, sterilization prevents pregnancy, but the menstrual cycle is still active. So in the case of sterilization, both cats and males should still have sex drive. The main advantages of this treatment is that it does not affect the endocrine system, which has a key impact in the case of a growing individual. After the procedure, the cat:
- will not get pregnant,
- is not at risk of skeletal development disorders,
- there is no excessive obesity,
- resistance does not decrease,
- is not exposed to diseases of the genitourinary system,
- is not highly prone to dermatological problems,
- is fully behaviorally balanced.
The main disadvantages include:
- going through a cycle of oestrus, thus constantly meowing,
- tomcats wandering,
- peeling and marking areas,
- increased risk of breast cancer in female cats,
- getting into fights with other tomcats.
To sum up, if we want to sterilize a cat, we must first determine whether this procedure will be beneficial for us. In most cases, animal owners decide to castrate, due to the desire for peace during estrus. Therefore, if we want our cat to have no sex drive, and thus not to meow excessively and not to go on long, hiking trips, then a better choice will be castration, i.e. removal of the reproductive organs.
Also remember that sterilization is used to mean castration. Therefore, if you want one of the treatments, discuss this topic with a qualified doctor.