Can Not Getting Your Cats Spayed Hurt Them?

by Sarah Dray, Demand Media
    Spaying can extend Kitty's life.

    Spaying can extend Kitty's life.

    There are tons of benefits to spaying Kitty and very few drawbacks. In fact, once Fluffy is up and running after her surgery, it's all uphill from there. If you don't spay her, her health -- and your wallet -- might suffer considerably over time.

    Cancer Risk

    Not spaying Fluffy increases the risk she'll develop uterine and breast cancer, according to the ASPCA. Of course it's hard to get uterine cancer when you don't have a uterus anymore, but the reduction in the risk of breast cancer is another major advantage -- especially since mammary cancer is the third most common type of cancer among cats, the ASPCA reports. The benefits are even greater if you get Kitty spayed before she goes into heat for the first time.

    Risk of Pyometra

    Pyometra is a life-threatening infection of the uterus that usually requires emergency surgery. Pyometra is caused by hormonal changes, so spayed cats can never get it. On the other hand, 25 percent of unspayed cats will develop pyometra, according to the Animal Medical Center of Southern California. Since it usually happens as cats get older, the chances of complications are greater. An older cat means a weaker cat, which makes surgery more dangerous.

    Risk of Cystic Ovarian Disease

    Cystic ovarian disease and other forms of ovarian tumors can occur only in non-spayed females. Since the ovaries are taken out during a spay surgery, well, the chances of Fluffy developing this problem are suddenly zero. Even worse, ovarian tumors tend to metastasize or spread easily, putting Kitty's life at significant risk.

    Behavioral Problems

    Not spaying Kitty might turn her into a basket case. Female dogs only ovulate a couple of times a year, but female cats will go into heat over and over again -- sometimes every two weeks -- until they get pregnant. After years of this process, some cats start experiencing false pregnancies. They will also go through a lot of frustration and stress, especially if you decide to keep them inside to prevent pregnancy. Females in heat vocalize a lot and might try to escape to go looking for mates. You'll also have to deal with males coming around to mark your house with urine as a way to "claim" your kitty.

    About the Author

    Sarah Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including "Woman's Day," "Marie Claire," "Adirondack Life" and "Self." She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.

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