By Marva Marrow If you ever were "on the fence" or confused about spaying and neutering your pet cat, here are some facts and myth-breakers that might alleviate any concerns or answer any questions about the safety and justification of altering your cat. Thankfully in the U.S. at this time, most pet owners are indeed neutering and spaying their pets - and enjoying the peace of mind and lack of problems that are the side effects of this common and recommended procedure.

Spay/Neuter Facts

  • Spayed and neutered pets are better, more affectionate companions.

  • Neutered cats are less likely to spray and mark territory.

  • Spaying your cat eliminates its heat cycle, which can last anywhere from three to 15 days, three or more times a year. Females in heat often cry incessantly, show nervous behavior, urinate inappropriately and attract unwanted male animals.

  • Spayed and neutered pets are less likely to bite. Unaltered animals often exhibit more behavior and temperament problems than those that have been spayed or neutered.

  • Spayed and neutered cats live longer, healthier lives.

  • Spaying female cats eliminates the possibility of serious uterine infections or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer.

  • Neutering male cats greatly reduces the incidence of prostrate cancer.

  • Males neutered early in life are less aggressive toward other males and are not distracted by females in heat.

Spay/Neuter Misconceptions

  • My pet will get fat and lazy.
    • Neutering or spaying may diminish your pets overall activity level, natural tendency to wander and hormonal balances, which may influence appetite. Pets that become fat and lazy after being altered usually are simply overfed and do not get enough exercise.

  • My pet's personality will change.
    • Any change will be for the better. After being altered, your pet will be less aggressive toward other cats, be more calm and likely more affectionate, and will be less likely to wander. Spraying (urine marking), which cats use to mark their territory, diminishes or ceases after pets are altered.

  • A female cat should have at least one litter for health reasons.
    • This is medically, factually and ethically wrong. In fact, many health problems can be prevented with spay/neuter surgery.

  • I can't afford it.
    • There are many low-cost programs. Ask your veterinarian or local animal shelter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marva Marrow is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (IAABC: International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants) with more than 30 years of experience. Her feline behavior business, The Kitty Kouch aids veterinarians, shelters, rescue groups and private clients. She is a frequent contributor and consultant to Cat Fancy and Animal Awareness magazines and to nationally syndicated newspapers. Marva breeds, shows and shares her home with her Oriental Shorthair cats. She may be reached at


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