Scribe's Cats

My cat got spayed. Or meeting our little Captain Clunk.

Hello dear Dreamers,

This week I’m going to talk to you about an important event in the life of my fur-baby Ember and something that is important for many cats (whether house cats, outdoor cats or feral cats) and that issue is: spaying/neutering.

Firstly, something of a disclaimer: I’m pro spaying and neutering and was brought up with the idea that this is just what you do as a responsible pet owner/ as part of having a pet and keeping them healthy. So obviously I knew she was going to get spayed, but it’s a bit different when it’s your first pet (as an adult rather than family pet) and you’re doing all the looking after and all the research. So this is my experience and also what I learned along the way including important facts about just how much spaying/neutering helps the health of your pet but also just how stressful our Ember could make the situation at times.

At first I though about trying to make a video about this but (when you see her expression) it just didn’t seem right to try and make a video about a time when she was in pain (for a portion of it at least) and have to try to do a voice over trying to sound chipper or entertaining when she looked so sad. Not to mention there are more useful and informative videos out there that can explain things far better than I can (see bibliography below).
But I still wanted to cover the topic and so decided to write this.

Why do I want to talk about it?
Because I know it’s an important part of looking after her and also still something some people are against or think will harm their pet. I wanted to go over my experience, what I learnt, the good and the stressful to show that overall it’s not so bad (on you the pet owner) and a massive benefit to the pet in the long run. Just make sure you do your research.

The benefits for cats

  • When we talk about “spaying” we’re talking about the operation for females; “neutering” is the operation for males
  • Your cat (or any pet really) will live a longer and healthier life if they get spayed/neutered. They are less likely to get certain illnesses, less likely to get into territorial fights or fights over females.
  • They’re not going to spray to mark their territory (males) and trust me that’s a massive bonus.
  • And the females won’t be trying to tear their way out of your house when they’re on heat to get to the males.
  • (More helpful and more detailed links and videos at the end of the article)

Our experience

Ember was (approximately) 9 months old when she got spayed. We’d just booked the appointments in for her and come home, it was a completely normal evening… except when she began to do this:

We have no idea if she was going into heat or what, but…

We realised we couldn’t have timed her appointment better as she’d just hit cat adulthood.
While it was hard not to giggle at her strange behaviour we knew that it was probably not very pleasant for her and that she would feel better without hormones constantly cycling through her and not being used (so to speak).
Luckily she calmed down after that and her appointment was only a few days to a week after.

Ben was at work the day of her operation. We played with her in the morning, tried to distract her from the fact that she couldn’t eat before, then I brought her down in her carry case to the vets (I had to walk as we don’t have a car but lucky it was only about a five to eight minute walk).

We made sure she had something familiar that smelt of home with her which was her little cat toy which she’d played/ fought with since she was a kitten.

I then had to leave her at the vets and was told I’d be given a call when she was ready to pick up. I felt a bit sorry for her as she looked very confused but I knew that our vets were great with animals so I left feeling overall reassured, if a little apprehensive.

I won’t lie though, I fretted that day, I fret about things that are beyond my control, I fret about the health of people and animals I care about.

Sometime around 4.pm I got a call, she was ready to be picked up. I hurried down and collected her from the vets.
She was drowsy, one eye dilated and had a bandage wrapped around her.
I asked how she’d been and they said she’d been very good but had growled at them when she’d woken up in the cadge. This was the first time she’d ever growled at them, I apologised but they laughed it off and they said it was completely understandable as she was disorientated and uncomfortable (and she’s normally super well behaved anyway).

I also found out they’d been squee-ing over the toy she’d brought in with her and it had also ‘had an operation’ and came with a little bandage around it’s middle in sympathy for Ember.
(Although it’s sad to say after that day i don’t think I’ve ever seen Ember play with that toy again. Maybe she has negative associations now? Maybe I should try to rehab it/ get them back together again?)

Once I brought Ember back home, that was when the stress really began for me. As soon as she’d worked off her drowsiness she started trying to eat at her stitches (I’ve blurred them in the photos because I doubt you’d want to see them but they were quite out in the open and she could get at them super easily).
Oh the noise of her crunching them! It genuinely makes me shiver, even now!
I was so scared she’d pull them out. She certainly seemed to be trying to and wasn’t dissuaded by any pain it might be causing her.
I called the vets and they said to come and get a cone for her.
I ran down to the vets, grabbed the cone and legged it back home (I didn’t even stop to consider needing to pay for the cheap bit of plastic but the idea crept up on me later and I paid for it when we went for her check up. Oops!). I’d had less than 20 minutes before they closed to do this in, not to mention I was terrified I’d get home to find she’d done herself some harm.

Fortunately once I got back she was still fine if still right royally pissed off.

I put the cone on her and breathed a sigh of relief!

And that was when the adventures of Captain Clunk began.

The adventures of Captain Clunk

Basically she bumped into things, a lot, but she was also super cute with the cone on trying to lick it or waggling her ears into it so it was hard not to giggle. By the end she’d mostly figured out how to manoeuvre with it on but she did have to keep it on for the healing process.
It kept her safe and she healed really well and we could sleep easily (literally) knowing she couldn’t do herself a mischief.

↑ As you can see Ember was completely fine by the next day. Happy to snuggle and sleep (as always) and happy to be with us.
She even came and watched an Alice Cooper concert with me!
She was happy, curious, obsessed with soft things and boxes… basically her normal self. And it was nice to know she didn’t run the risk of getting pregnant (if she were to ever get out) or of getting certain diseases.

In summary/verdict

Despite the scariness of a couple of bits of the process we don’t regret it at all.
Her mood has stabilised, she’s a lot less grumpy than she was before although she is a little on the lazy side but then she always has been and it’s nice knowing that she’ll be healthier for longer thanks to the operation. Not to mention she doesn’t have to go through the discomfort of going on heat and all that that entails!
If I learnt anything it would be to ask for a cone upfront if you can.
Of course you should give your pet plenty of space to heal but also plenty of love and definitely read up about it and talk to your vets beforehand because they’ll be able to help you with anything you might be worried about of anything you want to check to see if it’s true or not.
And even with the stress she gave us I still think it’s a good thing to do, a bit of worry is nothing compared to having a healthy, happy pet… and getting our little Captain Clunk out of it too!

Well that’s all that I really have to say on the matter.
You can see how our cats are doing by following this tag: Cats and Crew.
And you can read/watch more info on Spaying and Neutering in the links provided in the bibliography below.

I hope you found this helpful/interesting.

See you soon,
Lifelong scribe

‘Bibliography’

For England/the UK:

  • https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/cats/health/neutering
  • https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/neutering

For the US (but also generally useful information):

  • https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/spayneuter-your-pet

Very useful videos from Cole and Marmalade:

  • Spay and Neuter your cats! (ft. Jackson Galaxy):

↑ A really good video going over some of the health benefits for having them spayed/neutered as well as debunking a load of myths surrounding the operation and what happens to your pet.

  • Cat Balls – Get Rid of ’em:

↑A lighthearted and quickfire video with a very important message.

  • Love your Pet – Spay and Neuter!

↑ A video showing an initiative to get cats (and dogs) spayed/neutered and also retierating a lot of improtant points.

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