What age should I spay/neutering my cat?
The best time to alter your pet is before the animal reaches puberty. Many experts feel that six months of age is an ideal time to spay or neuter. However, there have been numerous studies done that show that healthy kittens spayed or neutered as young as six weeks of age do quite well. The recovery of such young kittens is very quick, and to date, no negative significant concerns have been found. Spaying and neutering kittens and puppies that are healthy at a very young age is becoming a growing trend that has been endorsed by major humane organizations including the Humane Society of the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Humane Association, and the Cat Fanciers' Association.
Some people still feel that a kitten should be larger and stronger before undergoing the general anesthesia required to perform the surgery, and to allow more time for the urinary tract system to develop. Consult with your veterinarian and other veterinary health professionals that you trust to help you determine the right age for your kitten or cat. And, speaking of cats, unless your cat has a health problem, spaying/neutering is considered safe at ANY age!! Most of the time, the owners of mature cats -- as well as the cats themselves -- enjoy all the benefits of the spay/neuter surgeries also!!
What are the benefits (other than controlling population) is there from spay/neutering my cat?
There are many benefits to having your pet spayed or neutered. For females, having them spayed will prevent them from going through any more heat cycles. Un-spayed females normally come into heat several times a year, and these cycles can last from several days to several weeks, and include such behaviors as spraying of urine (yes, females can spray, too!!), marking with urine, howling, and some other obnoxious behaviors. Neutering a male before he reaches puberty almost always prevents completely the development of all mating behavior, which includes spraying urine and marking territory with urine, and the desire to roam outside searching for a mate. This in itself puts the cat at great risk for injury or even death from being hit by cars; being the object of human cruelty; infection and disease from other cats; death from natural predators, and cat fighting.
How can I Deter Stray Cats
If you have a stray cat (or many stray cats) in your area, and would like to deter them from coming into your yard, here are a few things that you can do:
- Don’t leave food outside. If you have a cat of your own, try feeding it inside the house, or only leave food out for an hour. This will help to keep stray cats from eating your cat’s food, and will also help to keep your cat’s food from spoiling;
- Plant cat deterrent plants as a border in your yard. These are generally herbs or plants that have a scent or texture that cats dislike. Some of these plants are as follows: Lavender, Lemon Thyme, scented Geranium, Camomile and Coleus canina, often referred to as the “Scaredy Cat” plant. These plants will not harm the cat, they simply have a scent or texture that the cat will not like;
- Use a spray or pellet form of pet deterrent in your yard and gardens. These are available at most pet stores or vet clinics, and are not harmful to cats. Like the herbs and plants listed above, the scent of the spray or pellets is unpleasant to the cat;
- Remove all pet faeces from your yard. The smell of faeces and urine will attract cats back to your yard.
How do I deter cats from digging in my garden?
- Use mulch or pebbles around garden beds and plants as many cats do not like the feel of these on their paws;
- Use plants and herbs in your garden with citrus smelling foliage, as cats do not like the citrus smell when they brush past the plant;
- Plant cat deterrent plants in your garden (see those listed in above section);
- Always remove pet faeces from your yard as this may attract cats;
- Never leave uneaten food in the yard as this will attract hungry cats;
- Install a sensor light. Most stray cats will enter a yard at night. By installing a sensor light that is activated by movement, the cat may think they are being watched when the light comes on and may be reluctant to enter the yard again.