Pet Insurance 101
If you're a pet parent to a kitten, there'll likely come a time when you have to decide whether or not to spay your cat. It can be a big decision, especially if you're unfamiliar with the process. If you're scratching your head and wondering what spaying even entails, don't worry, we've got you covered.
"A spay is the removal of the ovaries and uterus, and in some cases, just the ovaries are removed," Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch's on-staff veterinarian, says.
Cats are usually spayed around 6 months old, but it sometimes happens much earlier, she adds. The procedure prevents unplanned pregnancies (especially for outdoor cats), but it also can prevent mammary cancer and prevent behaviors associated with cats' heat cycles like vocalizing, urine spraying, rolling and attention-seeking attitudes.
The cost of the surgery depends on your cat's size, age, health status, geographic location and veterinary hospital and can range from $100 to over $1,000, Dr. McCullough explains.
"For example, if the cat is spayed at a low-cost clinic or a rescue, it will generally cost less than at a private veterinary hospital," she adds.
Like most pet insurance providers, Fetch’s standard injury and illness insurance doesn't cover the cost of spaying a cat. The procedure is standard, but there is always a risk of complications, like pain, swelling, bleeding, infection or incision opening. If your cat experiences complications, they'll likely be up for coverage (as long as the procedure happened within the effective start date of your policy and after the waiting period).
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Your veterinarian can tell you the best way to prepare your cat for the procedure. For example, some veterinarians recommend an examination and blood work before the surgery to lessen the chance of complications. Other times, they may recommend withholding food or water before the surgery.
Ensure your cat is familiar with their carrier before surgery as they'll travel to and from the hospital in it.
Don't worry about your best friend's personality changing after being spayed, Dr. McCullough says. Usually, they'll remain entirely the same. Cats' behavior only changes when they're in heat (they become pushy), and spaying will stop this pattern.
Before spaying a cat, their estrogen levels work to suppress their appetite. That may change after the procedure, Dr. McCullough says. Don't be surprised if your cat gains a little weight after the surgery with their increased appetite and a slower metabolism.
Cats usually recover from the procedure within 10 to 14 days, Dr. McCullough says. However, it can take longer depending on your cat. We know you can’t wait until your best friend feels better, but here are some vet-approved ways to make them feel comfortable during their recovery:
Now, armed with these tips, you'll be able to confidently decide to spay your cat and know how to help them after their recovery.
The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.
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