Still Neutral on Spaying?

As you've likely discovered, there are two sides to every argument, including the debate about whether to spay and neuter your pets. Unless you already are - or are planning to become - a careful, conscientious, and knowledgeable breeder of purebred animals, spaying and neutering your pet is an excellent idea. Here are some of the myths - and truths - about spaying and neutering pets.

Myth: My pets will be happier and healthier if left intact.
Actually, their happiness depends much more on you and the time you spend with them, than on whether or not they are sexually intact. As for health, spayed and neutered animals run less risk of infection from breeding with unhealthy street animals; won't have false pregnancies; are free of the physical stress of having a litter at too young or too old an age; and are not subject to testicular, uterine, or breast cancer. In addition, they will not be prone to injuries sustained from fighting.

Myth: My female should have at least one litter before she is spayed.
No, the sooner your female is spayed, the better. Not only do younger animals better tolerate the surgery, but the sooner she is spayed, the sooner you'll be able to prevent unwanted litters, and the quicker the health benefits will begin.

Myth: Neutering might change my male's personality negatively.
Neutering might affect the male's personality, but if so, in a positive way. Males often display more affection for their owners after neutering, as they turn their attention to things other than wandering and fighting with other males. A male cat's offensive urine odors cease after neutering. Leg lifting and spraying also often cease.

Myth: My female's emotional state will be harmed if she doesn't experience the first heat cycle.
A heat cycle has absolutely no effect on the female's emotional health. Much more important factors to consider are the attention your pet receives in a healthy environment.

Myth: Without putting them through surgery, I can keep my male from roaming and my in-season female away from males.
This is a good idea in theory. However, males and females alike become obsessed with mating when the female is in season. They can be very determined, and will persist in all sorts of ways, even over and through fences. In addition, every female needs to go outdoors to relieve herself some time. It isn't realistic to think you can protect her at every moment. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by thinking you can control strong animal instincts.

Myth: My pet will get fat after spaying or neutering.
Only if you allow it to happen. Proper weight control depends more on you than on the changes in your pet's metabolism.