Spaying or castrating (neutering) your cat is a sensible idea for several reasons, not least to prevent unwanted kittens while rescue centres are full to bursting with healthy cats in need of a good home.
Female cats will first come into season and be able to have kittens from around 6 months of age. The feline season is known as ‘calling’, with very good reason as the cat will roll around on the floor with her bottom in the air, crying as though in pain. This will last for 3-5 days every 2-3 weeks throughout the breeding season which is from early spring to late summer. You are also likely to have any male cats from the neighbourhood visit you at this time, often in the middle of the night.
An entire tom cat will tend to roam around the neighbourhood or further afield, spray urine in the house to mark his territory and is more likely to fight with other cats and therefore be more at risk of catching or passing on several feline diseases.
Neutering your cat will prevent this undesirable behaviour and is best done at 5 ½ to 6 months old before the onset of puberty. The operations are performed under a general anaesthetic. Castrating a male cat involves removing the testicles from the scrotum. Spaying a female removes the ovaries and the uterus and leaves a small skin wound usually on the left flank or underside from which sutures may need to be removed about 10 days later. Your cat will be back to normal within a day or so.