When it comes to de-sexing one's cat many owners have a crisis of conscience; should I have my lovable puss spayed or my gregarious tom neutered? Rest assured, a sterilized cat lives a happier, healthier life and often makes a much better pet than an intact animal.
Be aware that if you don't have your beloved pet 'fixed-up' it may be prone to a host of feline diseases and ailments, and if you've ever smelt the pervasive odor of an intact tomcat's urine you'll be straight off to the vet without a moments hesitation!
With a male cat (neutering or castration), both testicles are surgically removed. The procedure is done under general anesthetic and for the testes to be removed only tiny incisions are needed, usually with no stitches required. Kittens and adult cats can be neutered starting as young as six months old before puberty strikes, however some claim that the operation can occur at an even younger age than this; consult your vet. Your post-op infertile cat should become less aggressive and territorial, will roam less and, thankfully, won't spray that horrid scented urine! An added benefit is that your tom will not develop testicular cancer and will have a lesser chance of suffering prostate problems.
For female cats (queens), renowned for being very efficient breeders, it is wise to have them spayed by six months of age. In springtime and in households with more than one cat, reproduction can actually occur earlier than this. A cat in heat often displays strange behavior, with distinct howls and pained writhing so be alert to these signs. Spaying or 'ovariohysterectomy', surgically removing the uterus and ovaries, is performed under general anesthesia. The incision in the cat's abdomen is closed up with stitches often needing removal after 10 days. As with toms, de-sexed queens are less likely to develop certain diseases; the chances of having malignant breast cancer or 'pyometra' (uterine infection) are greatly reduced.
Although neutering and spaying are irreversible procedures it is worth reminding that tens of thousands of unwanted cats are put to death each year in the United States alone. Considering this alarming statistic it may be a wise idea to seriously consider having your beloved pet neutered. The procedures are safe, affordable and if any post operative complaints occur it is a simple matter of returning to the Vet for further advice.
Be responsible and have your cat de-sexed and be content in knowing that none of your beloved companion's positive personality traits will be affected.