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As someone who works for a re-homing charity, I have seen first hand what happens to cats that are not looked after or cared for.

I also know the strain, financially and socially that can happen to cats (and families) that have kittens as well as the abandonment that goes on when they can’t find suitable homes. Not only is neutering your cat a good idea, I would argue that it is the only one that makes sense. All of my cats are neutered and any future cats or kittens will be the same.

What Is Neutering?

Neutering is the removal of a cat’s sexual organs in order to stop reproduction, this means:

Female Cats (Queens) – have their womb and ovaries removed

Male Cats (Toms) – have their testicles removed

How is it done?

A simple operation under anesthetic which in most cases is a same-day procedure (usually involving: dropping off to the vets in the morning and picking up in the afternoon). Sometimes (more commonly in females) they may need to stay overnight for observation if they are taking a particular interest in their stitches.

Other names for neutering:

  • Spaying
  • fixing
  • castration
  • “being done”
  • snipped
  • “Getting the snip”

What age should cats be neutered?

Around 4 months old is the most commonly accepted age by the vet to get your cat neutered. In some cases if it is medically necessary they can be neutered at 12 weeks. After 4 months they can be neutered at any time or age.

What do the professionals think?

  1. “The Welfare implications of neutering are outweighed by the benefits”  – British Veterinary Association
  2. “There is no medical evidence to suggest that cats should have one litter” – Yorkshire Cat Rescue
  3. “Overpopulation increases feline infectious disease, stress related disease, feline conflict and compromises cats’ welfare.” – Cats Protection
  4. “You do not need to let an animal have a litter first” – RSPCA

As you can see, vets, cat and animal charities are all in agreement that neutering is better for cats socially as well as for their health and there is no reason to believe that having a litter first improves their health or behavior, that is just a myth. These are just quotes that are from their website, discuss with your vet the benefits (and negatives) to neutering and I am sure they will agree that neutering is the best option.

Neutering Benefits

Here are some of the many benefits of neutering your cat:

  • Reduces feral or stray cat population
  • Lowers insurance premiums
  • Reduces risk of diseases such as cancer
  • Reduces fighting  in male cats
  • Male cats are less likely to stray in search of females in season and so reduces the risk of getting lost and the resulting injury or car accidents
  • Lower veterinary costs – the cost for vet checks for the queen after pregnancy and the new kittens (vaccinations etc) cost more than the price for neutering and that’s before any potential complications.
  • Reduces the spread of disease among the cat population (e.g. FIV or FeLV)
  • Reduces male cat anxiety and spraying (all over the furniture indoors – and it smells)

Speak to your vets or local animal welfare agency in your area to learn even more of the benefits of neutering!

Neutering Myths – Debunked!

“Female cats should have kittens before being neutered” – False – There is no scientific evidence to support this

“You can make money from kittens” – False – If you breed responsibly (i.e kitten vet checks, vaccinations, flea and worming tablets, food etc for the first 10 weeks with mum) you will actually find yourself at a financial loss. You will only make a financial profit if you are breeding rare cats that cost more to buy and in many cases this will require you to be a registered breeder! Here are 10 rare domestic cat breeds

“The Queen looks after them so I don’t have to” – False – A lot of queens can abandon their kittens if stressed (or because they don’t feel like it – typical cat attitude) if this happens you are left to; hand rear, feed every 2-4 hours, socialize and clean an entire litter. Even if she does keep them you still have to provide a safe environment and clean up after them (they aren’t trained yet)

“They only have one litter per year” – False – Cats can have up to 3 litters a year (1-8 kittens avg) that’s potentially 24 kittens per year.

“Male Cats will miss their testicles and feel “less manly” “ – False – They couldn’t care less! Their behavior, during mating is hormonal and without the hormones they don’t realize any different.

“Indoor cats don’t need neutering” – False – Indoor cats can be at a higher risk of stress or injury if they are kept in during mating season, especially if there are other cats nearby and will often try to escape at all costs which makes them more likely to get lost or injure themselves because they are not accustomed to going outside. In addition to this, being an indoor cat won’t stop your cat from spraying or scratching the furniture while they are “in season”. For more information on indoor cats check out my Indoor Cat Care post.

How much does it cost?

Males – £20 – £40

Females – £30 – £60

Some charities provide means tested financial assistance towards the cost of neutering such as:

Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn via Visual Hunt / CC BY

*Average prices – please ask your vets for a quote*

Further Helpful Readings

This Post is a part of The Mummy Toolbox #CatWeek 2015- check out the days you might have missed, click here.

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