CAT'S CORNER

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Neutering and Spaying

Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures that prevent animals from reproducing. There are many reasons to spay or neuter your cat -- animal over-population, pet health, roaming, over-aggressiveness, unwanted offspring, behavior and, of course, homeless animals. Cats who have no psychological sex drive and do not feel the need to reproduce. Cats are less likely to get injured in fights with other animals -- and to develop certain cancers -- when they've been altered. This simple operation can save money on expensive veterinarian bills and, more important, can extend your cat's life. His or her desire to roam will be greatly reduced, as will any over-aggressive tendencies.

Male kittens can be neutered, or castrated, from five months of age, though some veterinarians wait until the kitten is around six months old -- by then, the urethra has widened and the operation is less likely to cause problems later on. Castration involves the removal of his testicles under anesthesia, and is relatively painless. Your cat should be active again within a few hours after the operation. Female kittens can be neutered, or spayed, from 20 weeks of age. While the kitten is under a general anesthetic, the vet removes her ovaries and womb. About 24 hours after the operation, she should be active again. Her stitches are usually removed seven to ten days later.

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