Sunday, 5 August 2012


Cats Protection believes that having your cat neutered is an essential part of responsible cat ownership.

What is neutering?
Neutering is a surgical procedure which prevents female cats, known as queens, becoming pregnant and male cats, known as toms, making females pregnant.
-          A female cat is spayed (her ovaries and uterus are removed)
-          A male cat is castrated (his testes are removed)

Cats Protection recommends the neutering of domestic cats from four months of age, but you should seek advice from your vet for each individual cat.

Why neuter?  
Neutering has many health benefits, as well as helping to reduce the number of unwanted cats in the UK.

Neutered male cats are:
-          Less likely to roam, reducing the risk of them being run over
-          Less likely to fight, reducing the risk of them getting injured.
-          Less likely to contract serious diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus
(FIV), and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) through fighting.
-          Less likely to display territorial behaviour such as spraying.
Unable to develop tumours of the testicles.

Neutered female cats are:
-          Unable to become pregnant and have unwanted litters of kittens.
-          Not going to call or wail, as un-neutered queens do when in season.
-          Less likely to contract diseases such as FIV and FeLV spread by bites.
-          Unable to develop cancer of the ovaries or uterus.
-          Less likely to develop mammary cancer - especially if neutered under the age of six months.

Neutering Facts… Did you know?
-          There are around 2.5 million stray cats living in the UK.
-          One un-neutered female cat can produce 20,000 descendents in just five years.
-          Cats become sexually active from about four months old.
-          It is not beneficial for a cat to have 'just one litter' before being spayed.
-          Gestation (the length of pregnancy) in cats is just nine weeks, and a female cat came come into season again just six weeks after giving birth.
-          Pregnancy and motherhood are physically very demanding for a cat, and repeated pregnancies take their toll.
-          Cats will breed with their brothers and sisters.
-          A cat can have up to five litters a year with five or six kittens in each litter. 
-          That adds up to 18 caring homes for Cats Protection to find each year, from just one cat!     

The Operation
Your cat will have an anaesthetic on the day, so he or she should be given no food prior to the operation - your vet will advise you about this.  The operation for both male and female cats is very simple so you will usually be able to drop your cat off and pick him or her up on the same day.
Female cats will have a small shaved area; this fur will grow back in a couple of weeks.  She will also have stitches.  If these are not dissolvable, they will be taken out by the vet around ten days after the operation. Cats usually recover very quickly from the operation. Your vet will advise on the best care for your cat as he or she recovers.

How Much does it Cost?
The cost of your operation varies according to what part of the country you live in and the vet you use.  The average cost for a male cat is between £20 and £40 and the average cost for a female cat is between £30 and £60.  Your vet will be happy to give you a quote before the operation takes place.  Cats Protection offers financial assistance to cat owners on benefits or low incomes to help with the cost of neutering.  Please call 01395 232377 to see if you are eligible for help with the cost of neutering you cat.

Frequently asked questions

When can a female cat start reproducing?
Puberty usually occurs at around five to eight months in cats, although it can happen as early as four months depending on the breed of cat. We recommend neutering both male and female cats from an early age. However, it is important to note that the vet responsible for your cat will specify when they are prepared to carry out the neutering operation - usually at around four months of age. Your vet will consider each case on its own merits. Cats Protection’s current policy is to neuter pet cats from four months and ferals from weaning age.

Can you tell me about early neutering? 
Early neutering is proven to be a safe and effective method, avoiding many of the potential complications of neutering later in life.

There is no evidence to show that it inhibits growth, or causes urinary problems, and experience show kittens resume their normal activities and routines after surgery much more quickly than adult cats.

What is the process for neutering?
You’ll need to book an initial appointment for the operation. Vets may require the cat to be brought for a pre-anaesthetic check before the day of the operation. The cat will normally be admitted between 8am-10am in the morning and able to be picked up that evening and will need to have been kept indoors without food for some of the night before. Your vet will advise.

Will the neutering process hurt my cat? 
Modern anaesthetics and pain relief mean that the process is really painless these days. Many vets also operate using a tiny incision on the left side of the cat, reducing pain in comparison to the equivalent procedure in dogs or humans. Vets will also give the cats pain relief injections covering the period after surgery. If you are unsure, please speak with your vet.

What aftercare will the cat need?
The vet will probably advise you to keep the cat indoors for a few days after surgery. It may need to wear a buster collar, a plastic lampshade shape collar to stop it chewing its stitches. Stitches may need removing after seven or 10 days, or may be dissolvable. Male cats have no sutures and are normally able to go outdoors again within two days of surgery. In the longer term, cats will have a lower energy requirement and so will need less food.

How will my cat benefit? 
The cat will be less likely to wander, stray, call (if female), spray (if male). The chance of contracting some infectious cat diseases will be reduced, as will the likelihood of developing mammary tumours (breast cancers), pyometra (life threatening womb infections), testicular cancer, and many other illnesses. Male cats in particular will improve in physical body condition and their urine will smell less pungent!

Will the cat get fat?
Neutered cats need less food after surgery, so you will need to reduce their daily food intake after they are neutered. Neutering in itself doesn’t make cats fat.

What behavioural signs does an unneutered tom display? 
Unneutered toms tend to be larger and generally more confident than neutered males. They tend to maintain a large territory area, as they will cover a large area looking for females that are coming into season. Because it is so important for toms to maintain a large territory to reproduce, they are more likely to fight with other cats and leave urine spray marks inside or outside.

Cats Protection has produced ‘A Guide to Early Neutering’; an online video that explains why cats should be neutered at four months of age or younger.

This comprehensive video explains the benefits of neutering cats at this age and why Cats Protection believes it is the most humane and economic solution to the problem of unwanted litters of cats.

Here at Cats Protection Exeter Axhayes all of our kittens available for rehoming and are over 4 months old have been neutered. For more information about neutering please contact us on 01395 232377, thank you.

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