FAQ CATS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – CATS

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture Animal Population Control Program (APCP) provides benefits for municipal pound pets, feral cat, non-profit organizations and for pets owned by low – income Connecticut residents. Please visit State of CT Animal Population Control Program to see if you qualify.

Q: What Are Spaying and Neutering?
A: Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures performed by veterinarians that render cats incapable of breeding by removing their reproductive organs. When a female cat is spayed (also called an ovariohysterectomy), the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed. When a male cat is neutered this results in castration (and the complete removal of their testicles).

Q: Why should I have my cat spayed or neutered?
A: Shelter euthanasia is the number one killer of companion animals. Spaying and neutering is the only way to reduce or eliminate that. It’s also better for your pet’s health. And having a cat that’s spayed or neutered will make your life easier.

Q: Shouldn’t I let my cat have a litter before I spay her?
A: No. It greatly reduces the risk of certain cancers if you have her spayed before the first heat and certainly before she has a litter.
Most places are overrun with kittens. There are millions of cats and kittens that need homes and millions more that are abandoned. There simply aren’t enough homes for all the cats that are born every kitten season.

Q: Should I let my cat have a heat before I spay her?
A: It’s a myth that animals should have a litter or a heat before they are spayed. There are no health benefits to that at all, and it’s a much easier medical procedure if you spay before the first heat. All the benefits you get from spaying or neutering your pet are magnified by spaying or neutering before the animal reaches puberty.

Q: Is it OK to spay my cat when she’s just a kitten?
A: Yes, as long as she’s at least twelve weeks of age and weighs at least three pounds. Pediatric spaying and neutering is widely accepted. Those ideas about needing to wait are really antiquated and the evidence is to the contrary. Even the American Veterinary Medical Association supports early spaying and neutering.

Q: How long is a cat pregnant?
A: 63 days

Q: Can you fix a cat while they are pregnant?
A: Yes. There is a higher risk if they are in heat or pregnant. If they are pregnant the sooner you bring her in the better. When making an appointment it is important to let us know.

Q: What Are Some Behavioral Issues Associated with Cats Who Aren’t Spayed or Neutered?
A: Although any cat can spray urine to mark territory, intact males are those who most often engage in this behavior. Both male and female cats may try to escape their homes to roam outside. When female cats are in estrus (heat), they yowl and attract male cats.

Q: When Is the Best Time To Spay or Neuter My Cat?
A: In an effort to avoid the start of urine spraying and eliminate the chance for pregnancy, it’s advisable to schedule the surgery before your own cat reaches six months of age. They should be a minimum 12 weeks and 3 pounds.

Q: How often do cats have litters?
A: Cats can go into heat very early. They can have a litter at six months of age, and they can have three litters a year. Also, if you’ve ever been around a cat in heat, you know it’s miserable for people. They yowl loudly and continuously. They want to get out. It really alters their behavior. And every un-neutered male cat in the neighborhood will be at your house spraying your front door. Your whole house will reek of cat spray. It is a really regrettable experience.

Q: How soon after a litter can they be fixed?
A: You need to wait at least four weeks after the babies are completely done nursing. The mother has to stop lactating (creating milk) before surgery can be performed safely.

Q: It can cost more than a $300-$400 to get a cat spayed or neutered. I can’t afford that. What can I do?
A: We are a low cost spay neuter clinic! Visit our website and click on “Cat” for current charges. You may also contact the state Dept. of Ag’s APCP, which provides benefits for municipal pound pets, feral cats, non profit organizations, and for pets owned by low – income Connecticut residents.
Animal Population Control Program
Room G-8A
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford CT 06106
860-713-2507
or You may visit: State of CT APCP: State of CT Animal Population Control Program

Q: Don’t cats get fat once you spay or neuter them?
A: A healthy weight goes back to portion control and exercise. I recommend cats be kept indoors, so you should have enough environmental enrichment to keep your cat happy. Have vertical spaces and climbing trees. Provide places where they can hide and play. But portion control is the main thing. Don’t free feed your cat.

Q: Will my tomcat stop running away from home if I neuter him?
A: We don’t recommend having free-roaming cats. And if you have an unaltered male cat, you’re probably not seeing much of him anyway.
Usually, neutering a tom will curb its desire to roam, although cats are a little different than dogs and wander for reasons other than reproducing, such as hunting. So neutering will reduce the instinct to roam, but it won’t eliminate it.

Q: Will spaying or neutering my cat prevent future illnesses?
A: Unaltered males are more at risk for feline leukemia [FeLV] and FIV [feline immunodeficiency virus]. That’s because they fight, and deep bite wounds are the leading factor in the transmission of those diseases.

Q: My cat sprays all over my house. If I neuter him, will that stop?
A: More than likely it will. It will certainly take away that hormonal urge to spray. Neutering early is your best bet to avoid that urge altogether. If you have a neutered cat that is still spraying, you should see your veterinarian. It could be a behavioral issue, or it could be a health problem.

Q: Will spaying or neutering my cat prevent future illnesses?
A: You’ll have a lower incidence of mammary tumors. We see a lot of un-spayed cats come into our clinic with pyometra — an infection of the uterus — which can be a life-threatening disease for them.
For male cats, you eliminate testicular diseases, and for females, you eliminate the risk of uterine diseases. Generally, spayed and neutered pets live longer, happier lives.

Q: How Do I Prepare My Pet for Surgery?
A: Visit our website to review the “BEFORE SURGERY INSTRUCTIONS.”

Q: Why can’t I bring my cat in a soft carrier, paper bag or cardboard for Surgery?
A: Cats are great “houdinis!” They easily figure out a way to escape. Even after surgeries they have a flight instinct. The problem is that once they get out it is very difficult to capture them and put back in these carriers.

Q: What Is the Recovery Process for Recently Spayed or Neutered Cats?
A: Visit our Web at: http://www.hopect.org then select Programs and select Cat for the “AFTER CARE DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS”

Q: What is the recovery period?
A Visit our Web at: http://www.hopect.org then select Programs and select Cat for the “AFTER CARE DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS”

Q: What is the extra green mark near the incision?
A: Tattoo Ink has been applied to the abdomen of all animals. If your cat should ever become lost, impounded or taken into rescue, an animal welfare professional or veterinarian will know your animal is spayed or neutered.

Q: Should I be worried that my cat is licking their incision?
A: Yes. Pets can do something called “Self-Trauma”. Self-trauma is licking him/herself at the incision site causing an infection. To prevent them from licking we recommend that you purchase an E-Collar at local pet store. For more information visit: A Visit our Web at: http://www.hopect.org then select Program and select Cat then you may review “E-Collar (Elizabethan Collar)

Q: How long does surgery take?
A: This all depends on your animal. A female cat takes longer. This is why we need to know if your cat is in heat or pregnant

Q: Is the surgery safe?
A: There is a risk with any surgery. However, our mortality and complication rate is very low.

Q: Do you send them home with pain medication?
A: Your pet may have received Meloxicam. If so, you will see a blue stamp and/or the Meloxicam box checked on your pink sheet/take home sheet. Meloxicam is an anti-inflammatory/pain medication and will work for another 24 hours. It may stay in your cat’s system for up to 30 days.

Q: What if I have to take my pet to the vet after surgery?
A: If you bring your cat to a vet FOR ANY REASON within the next 30 days of surgery you MUST bring the pink sheet to let the vet know your cat has had Meloxicam on the date of surgery. Notifying your vet of this medication will make sure that whatever the vet does will interact with the Meloxicam. Young kittens received a different type of pre/post-op pain medication.

Q: Do you give vaccinations?
A: Yes, but only at the time of surgery. We do have rabies clinics periodically during the year. Watch for them on our Web at: http://www.hopect.org

Q: Why do you ask if our cat has had its vaccinations?
A: The State of Connecticut requires all pets to be current on their rabies vaccinations. If your pet does not have a current certificate (and you must show proof) we are required to administer the additional vaccination at time of surgery.

Q: Can I come in just for vaccinations?
A: No, We can only give vaccinations at the time of surgery. We do have rabies clinics periodically during the year. Watch for them on our Web at: http://www.hopect.org

Q: Do you microchip?
A: Yes!  For $20 we can insert a Home Again Microchip.  If you bring a microchip and plunger with you at the time of surgery, we will insert yours for a nominal fee. Visit: http://www.hopect.org then select Programs and select Cat for current pricing.

Q: What vaccinations can I get? We offer the core vaccines: Rabies and Feline Distemper.
A: Visit: http://www.hopect.org then select Programs and select Cat for current pricing

Q: How do I care for the stitches after spaying?
A: We use dissolvable sutures to close the incision. Dissolvable sutures are placed under the skin and do not require removal because they will decompose on their own.

Q: How do I know when there is an infection?
A: Look at your pet’s tummy daily to check the progress of healing. Signs of infection include significant swelling and redness, discharge and bleeding. It is normal for the incision line to be a bit puffy and red immediately following the surgery.