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One of biggest benefits of spaying/neutering is that it dramatically reduces cat's risk of developing cancers of reproductive system. A female cat spayed before her first cycle, or heat, has a greatly reduced chance of mammary cancer. Less than a decade ago, conventional wisdom dictated that pets should be neutered at between 5-7 months of age. Recent studies have found that it is not only possible to spay/neuter cats at a younger age, it actually is better for them. Today, cats undergo spay/neuter procedures at about 7 weeks of age. They recover much more quickly than if it was done later, and ensures that a female does not become pregnant with her first heat.
In past spaying was limited for a number of reasons
* It was better to let a female cat give birth to one litter of kittens before spaying. * That female cats in particular, might later develop incontinence as a result. * That certain behavioral problems might result.
However, these theories have since been disproven.
In past, animal shelters and humane societies sent unaltered cats/kittens to their new home because they wanted them to start their new life as soon as possible. Usually, owners signed documents promising to have animal neutered. Some facilities took it upon themselves to follow up with phone calls to make sure owners were living up to their commitment. The overwhelming number of animals coming and going in a shelter today makes this unfeasible. Instead of allowing their charges to add to overpopulation problem, most animal welfare/adoption groups routinely spay and neuter animals before they are made available for adoption. A number of municipalities have passed laws so that no animal can leave a shelter unless it has been spayed/neutered.
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