Today's topic will be discussing the importance of feline dental health along with the importance of spaying & neutering your cat.
The media, vet clinic, TV commercials (thank you ASPCA) stress the fact that too many kittens and puppies are produced every year, and that there just are not enough potential owners to keep up with the demand. The obvious conclusion is that we should breed fewer cats and dogs, produce fewer litters, and educate the public on the importance of spay/neuter procedures. The easiest way to ensure that less litters occur is through sterilization procedures, so a larger percentage of cats and dogs are incapable of breeding.
Having a litter of kittens may seem like a fun thing to do. Some even believe that it helps their female cat, in some way, to develop more completely or become a better pet.
Neither is true
Becoming pregnant and having a litter of kittens in no way alters the maturity level of the cat, either physically or mentally. In most cases, people find out that it is hard to find good homes for all of the kittens, even if they are advertised "Free to a Good Home." In addition, not all pregnancies go smoothly. Difficult labor, kitten mortality, and potential health problems in the mother, such as uterine and mammary gland infections, can take all the fun out of the experience. I have included below several of the risk of keeping your female cat intact.
Risks of Not Spaying
1. Pregnancy: Cats can have large litters, sometimes 10+ kittens.
2. Mammary Cancer: This is the 3rd most common cancer in cats. Spaying your female cat reduces her risk of mammary cancer by 40-60%.
3. Tumors in the reproductive tract: Cancer/tumors can occur in both the ovaries & uterus
4. Infection in the reproductive tract: Also known as a pyometra, this life threatening infection causes the uterus to fill with pus which is often fatal.
The typical age that kittens are spayed is between 5-8 months old, but can be done earlier. Some animal shelters spay & neuter as early as 2 months old. Early neutering does not affect the growth rate, and there are no appreciable differences in skeletal, physical, or behavioral development between those animals neutered early than those neutered at a more traditional age.
Our clinic requires kittens to weigh 4lbs & be 4 months old before we preform a spay.
For male cats, there are different benefits other than pregnancy prevention when owners choose to neuter.
1. Prevents disease: FeLV & FIV are disease common in cats who roam. FeLV is also transmitted via cat bites which most commonly occurs between intact males
2. Prevent injury: Intact males are significantly more territorial than neutered males which causes a dramatic increase in the number of fights between intact males which leads to bite wounds, abscesses, and other injuries.
3. Reduces Roaming: Intact males are always looking for a mate which can cause them to frequently wonder away from home. This can lead to hit by car accidents, cat fights, or wildlife encounters.
4. Keeps your house cleaner: Intact males spray urine to mark their territory. This means your house is going to smell like cat urine.
5. Eliminates the risk of testicular cancer: One of the more common cancers in cats, we take away the testicles during surgery, this eliminates the the risk of that particular type of cancer.
Please contact our clinic directly to schedule an spay or neuter for your cat
If you still decide that you are going to keep your cat intact (male or female), I strongly encourage you to read our handouts on breeding, pregnancy, & partition.
Please click on the picture for direct link to our resource page.
Dental disease, including teeth and gums is one of the most common problems faced by all pet owners. Many cat owners may think that dental health is primarily a dog issue, but studies show that 50-90% of cats older than four years of age suffer from some form of dental disease, but fortunately the most common forms of these diseases are largely preventable or treatable with appropriate preventive dental care and monitoring.
The three most common dental diseases in cats are gingivitis*, periodonitis*, and tooth resorption*. Dental disease in cats can cause serious pain and discomfort, which can impact a cat’s quality of life. In many cases, dental disease causes a cat to stop eating, which leads to a variety of health problems. Below are some signs to look for in concerns to dental health
1. Red gum line near tooth
2. Swollen gums
3. Painful gums
4. Bleeding gums
5. Tartar on teeth
6. Broken teeth
7. Difficulty chewing/eating
8. Decreased appetite
9. Chewing on one side of mouth
10. Significant drooling
11. Bad breath
As mentioned above, the easiest way to prevent disease, infection, pain is good dental care, health, and prevention. Brushing your cat's teeth at home, using a good dental treat, and regular dental cleaning by your veterinarian are all things that can help prevent dental disease.
If you are concerned about your cat's dental health, please contact our clinic to schedule an appointment to get your cat's teeth checked & a dental cleaning scheduled.
**Any word marked with a * can be found in our glossary for it's definition**
Gingivitis: Inflammation/infection of the gums
Periodonitis: Inflammation/infection of the bone and tissue around the teeth causing tooth loss or loose teeth
Tooth Resorption: Condition where the internal structure of the tooth begins to break down causing instability.