Spaying is very important for your female cat’s health, as well as the health of local cat populations.
However, it also may cause some noticeable changes to your cat’s behavior: a spayed cat and an unspayed cat may act differently due to differences in hormones. Although, spaying cannot fix a cat’s bad behavior.
Spaying your cat will not fix her personality or behavioral problems. However, if she is loud, aggressive, or urinates in the house while in heat, spaying can help. Spaying stops hormone fluctuations that contribute to unwanted behaviors associated with a cat’s reproductive cycle.
Spaying can cause behavioral changes, but why?
We had our female cat spayed at a young age.
Continue reading if you’d like to learn about the spaying procedure, and why it affects a cat’s behavior. We’ll give you an in-depth look into many reasons why you should spay your cat.
Unspayed cats are called Queens.
Queens are highly influenced by their reproductive cycle and might exhibit some unwanted behaviors during certain times in the cycle.
When your cat is “in heat” her body is telling her to find a mate at any cost.
Due to the hormones released by the reproductive system, your cat may exhibit these behaviors, especially when she is in heat:
- Urinating in the house: Females urinate to attract mates, so they might begin urinating outside of their litter box. If you’re a cat owner, you know that this smell is highly unpleasant.
- Trying to escape the house: Female cats may try to escape so that they can roam around and look for a mate.
- Crying loudly at all hours of the day: Your queen may loudly cry when she is in heat in the hopes that a male cat will hear her. Time of day doesn’t matter to her, so you might be woken up in the night by your cat attempting to attract a mate.
- Restlessness: Restlessness and anxiety can be caused by intense hormonal fluctuations caused by the reproductive cycle.
- Aggression: Female cats may become aggressive towards you or other cats as they seek out and compete for male cats.
As you can see, living with and caring for an unspayed cat is not ideal.
However, the behaviors associated with the cat’s reproductive cycle can be mitigated by spaying her.
Spaying will not change your cat’s personality or make it nicer, but, if you notice some of the above symptoms of her reproductive cycle, you might notice some changes in her behavior.
After spaying, your cat will no longer go through her reproductive cycle, and therefore will no longer have the hormonal fluctuations that accompany her being in heat.
Your cat might have previously shown these behaviors while she was in heat:
- Urinated in the house
- Called loudly
- Been restless or aggressive
She should no longer exhibit those behaviors after spaying because the reproductive organs that produce the hormones that cause the behaviors will have been removed.
If your cat has an undesirable personality, or if she has been poorly trained, spaying will not fix her bad behavior.
The only way spaying can help your cat’s behavior is if you notice that she is overly aggressive, or urinates often while she is in heat.
Take a look at this table to see common behaviors exhibited by cats and whether or not spaying can fix this behavior:
|Behavior||Can it be fixed by spaying?|
|Aggression while in heat||Yes! Spaying gets rid of hormones that cause aggression while the cat is in heat.|
|Constant biting and clawing at people or other pets||No. If your cat has an aggressive personality, this cannot be fixed by spaying.|
|Urinating in the house while in heat||Yes! This can be fixed by spaying as long as your cat usually urinates in a litter box.|
|Not knowing how to use a litterbox||No, you must train your cat to use a litterbox.|
|Trying to escape the house while in heat||Yes! Your cat will no longer want to leave the house to look for a mate once spayed.|
|Crying loudly while in heat||Yes! Your cat will no longer want to cry to attract a mate after she is spayed.|
Cat spaying only takes about 15 minutes and is done while the cat is under anesthesia.
The spaying procedure involves the following steps:
- The cat is put to sleep with anesthesia
- An incision is made below the cat’s belly button
- The veterinarian removes the ovaries and the uterus
- The surgical incision is closed with sutures, skin glue, or staples
- The cat wakes up within 20 minutes
- The cat returns for suture removal if needed
Overall, the process is fast, routine, and very safe. Since the veterinarian removes the cat’s reproductive organs, however, this does affect the cat’s behavior.
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones released by a cat’s reproductive organs that can affect her behavior.
A female cat’s reproductive cycle is called an estrous cycle and lasts 14 to 21 days. The female cat’s reproductive system releases and regulates these hormones throughout the estrous cycle which help the cat be able to reproduce each month, but these also affect her behavior.
These are the two hormones that the cat’s body balances during its reproductive cycle:
- Estrogen: stimulates the growth of ova, stimulates the pituitary gland in the brain which is responsible for mood
- Progesterone: thickens uterine lining, stimulates the pituitary gland
Both of these hormones are released by organs that are produced within the reproductive system and therefore your cat will not produce these hormones after a spaying procedure.
During the cycle, cats are “in heat” for around three to four days. This term refers to the cat’s behavior when she is at peak fertility, and her hormones direct her behavior towards finding a mate.
Spaying your cat may make her a little easier to deal with since you won’t have to put up with aggressive or messy behavior caused by her reproductive cycle. However, this is far from the only reason you should spay your cat.
Spaying prevents breast cancer and urinary infections in cats. Tumors are incredibly common in cats and can cause death. Spaying may prevent your cat from ever getting breast cancer.
According to this study out of Banfield Pet Hospital, spayed cats live 39% longer on average compared to unspayed cats.
|Average Cat Lifespan||13.1||9.5|
There are millions of cats without homes in the United States. If your cat happens to get pregnant, she may produce a litter that no one is able to take care of. There are currently far too many cats in the world, so you can prevent pregnancy by spaying your cat.
Spaying is routine and very rarely has complications. The procedure can also be affordable and costs around $50-$100 but subsidies are available given if you cannot afford this rate.
Spaying will not make your cat have a nicer personality, but it could make her quieter and less irritable during times when she would normally be in heat.
Spaying removes the reproductive organs that normally produce hormones that can cause these unwanted behaviors.
While spaying could fix these specific behaviors, there are many other benefits to spaying your cats: she’ll live a longer and healthier life, she won’t have kittens that might have to go into fostering, and it is a streamlined and affordable procedure.