There are lots of myths around about neutering and its effect on cats’ well-being – and these can understandably make many owners worried about doing the right thing. In reality, cats do not have the same emotions as humans around reproduction. In most cases neutering really is the best decision to prevent nasty diseases and to safeguard your cat’s health.
Cats produce kittens very easily – and rehoming large unplanned litters can become a significant welfare issue.
To help you make a balanced decision, here are some fast facts on feline reproduction from one of our supported charities Cats Protection League
Cats can start breeding from just four months of age
Cats come into season every one to two weeks for two weeks, from late winter through to mid-autumn
Cats have no problem breeding and (becoming pregnant) with siblings or even parents
It’s a myth that there is a health benefit for a cat to have a season or a litter before being spayed
Cats are super fast kitten-makers! Pregnancy lasts just nine weeks and she’ll come into season just six weeks after giving birth. Cats can quite easily have up to three litters of five or six kittens a year. That’s up to 18 homes that need to be found for just one cat’s kittens. Remarkably, one female cat can be responsible for 20,000 descendants in just five years!
However careful we are as owners, unneutered cats are amazingly good at finding each other. The risk of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies is all too common, even for stay-at-home cats - all it takes is one open window….!
In short - don’t delay! Kittens reach sexual maturity as quickly as four months old. We strongly recommend neutering before this becomes an issue. For older cats, if you’ve bred from a queen but don’t want any more kittens, then neutering can take place even if mum is in season, pregnant or lactating. Please come chat to us about this. More information on early neutering can be found here.
Spaying is performed under general anaesthesia and is the surgical removal of both the ovaries and uterus through a small incision made through the belly of your cat.
The reduction in unplanned pregnancies aside, there are lots of other benefits:
Spaying reduces the risk of breast cancer by up to 90% and completely removes the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer and pyometra (womb infection)
Un-neutered queens will “call” when in season. This is going to attract tom cats and with them the danger of constant spraying, fighting and howling. Really best avoided unless you are a serious breeder.
Castration involves removing both testes under general anaesthesia through small incisions into the scrotum. Usually the skin incisions for a castration are so small that sutures are not required.
Castration too has lots of benefits:
It’s safer for them. Castration removes the risk of testicular cancer. Un-neutered males are more likely to go wandering for miles to look for a mate, really increasing the risk of them getting lost or, worse still, succumbing to a car accident. All that testosterone also means they’re much more likely to end up in a cat fight and to spread infectious disease such as FIV to other cats
It’s better for you and your home. Un-neutered cats will mark their territory with a very pungent spray – once smelt never forgotten! Let’s face it, ‘Eau de Tom Cat’ is never going to be a best seller! They’re also more likely to get a bit aggressive with their owners – all those hormones can put them in bad mood
If you would like to arrange surgery or would like more information, please call the practice on 0203 740 1112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you.