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Health - Alteration & Vaccines

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

Altering Your Cat

What is Alteration?

Surgical alteration is a safe and routine procedure where part of a cat’s reproductive system is removed. When a female cat is desexed (also known as spaying, or an ovariohysterectomy), the ovaries and uterus are removed.

For male cats, desexing (also known as castration or neutering) involves the removal of both testicles.

Should I Have My Cat Spayed/Neutered?

Yes! Any cat owner who is not involved in a cattery breeding program should not allow their household cats to remain unaltered. Any cat sold by Royally British Cattery will have either already been altered prior to pick-up or will have an agreement in place for cat to be altered by 12 months of age.

Benefits of Altering Your Cat

Females

Desexing your cat is the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It is especially important for female cats as it is hard for pet parents to tell when she is in season. However, queens ‘on heat’ attract a surprising number of interested male cats. This can lead to cat fights, unwanted pregnancy, disturbed nights for owners, and often, irate neighbors.

There are also many medical benefits of desexing your female cat. The risk of uterine infections in cats that haven’t been desexed is high. This risk increases with age. These infections are often serious and potentially fatal. The incidence of mammary tumors later in life is also much lower in cats desexed before puberty.

Males

In male cats, castration is useful in controlling behavioral issues driven by hormones. For example, it can reduce their tendency to roam and fight which often leads to injuries, abscesses, and infection. Male cats also tend to produce extremely pungent urine, and desexing can prevent this odor and further, reduce or eliminate spraying.

Medical benefits of neutering your male cat include reducing the risk of prostatic diseases and eliminating the risk of testicular cancers.

When Should My Cat Be Desexed?

The appropriate age for desexing can vary depending on the breed and size of your cat and lifestyle.

Generally, Royally British Cattery recommends it is done around 6-10 months of age OR as soon as cat is displaying signs of sexual maturity (going into heats, etc).

Cats are to be altered no later than 12 months without vet recommendation.

Vaccinations

Why should I vaccinate my kitten?

Vaccinations are part of the preventative care system you should provide your kitten. By vaccinating them, you safeguard your kitten from contracting severe illnesses that can have major health implications. Many of these diseases are highly contagious and some of them cannot be treated. It’s vital that you protect your kitten by building their immunity when they are young.

Core vaccines

FVRCP

These are essential for every cat to receive as they protect them from serious diseases.

The core vaccines are:

Feline viral rhinotracheitis (herpes virus)

Feline calicivirus

Feline panleukopaenia

These vaccines are often grouped together into a single injection called the F3 vaccine or FVRCP and is generally given to kittens every three to four weeks until they are 16-20 weeks old, with a final booster at 1 year old. Some vets will recommend continued booster of FVRCP every 3 years, regardless of your kitty being indoor only.

Rabies

Rabies is an important core vaccine also mandated by law in most of the United States after 16 weeks of age.

We prefer the use of killed (adjuvanted) rabies vaccine on young kittens if early vaccination is absolutely necessary as the live rabies vaccine can be very harsh, followed by a booster at 6 months old. Otherwise, work with your vet to schedule a rabies vaccine after 16 weeks of age.

Avoid having rabies shot given at the same time as other vaccines or within a week of alteration surgery as it can put too much burden on the immune system of kitty.

Non-Core Vaccines

These will be recommended by your vet depending on your kitten’s unique circumstances, but are all a higher risk to your cat and not recommended by our cattery, especially as your cat will be indoor only.

Non-core vaccines are:

feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)

feline leukaemia (FeLV)

feline chlamydia

What to expect after the vaccination

Though it is uncommon, your kitten may experience slight side effects that appear very soon after the vaccination. These include lethargy and loss of appetite, or much less commonly, allergic reactions like skin irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is best to remain at the clinic for a short period after the vaccinations have been administered so your vet can monitor symptoms and always contact your vet if you have additional concerns.

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