The Benefits of Neutering
We only have a finite number of spaces available to take cats in. We do our best, but with the availability of good homes also being limited our waiting list is ever growing. The unwanted cats and kittens that find their way to us are the lucky ones. Across the UK – a nation of animal lovers – hundreds of healthy but unwanted cats and kittens are destroyed every day.
It seems so obvious that if more folk had their pets neutered, it would help reduce the number of unwanted cats in the UK. And so it’s a sad fact that we receive numerous calls a week from people reporting either that their cat is pregnant and they don’t want to ‘deal with it’, that a straying female cat appears pregnant, or worse still that a stray female has given birth to a litter of kittens in someone’s garden. And that’s on top of the calls about stray males (generally unneutered). And on top of the general calls from people who for various reasons are no longer look after their – often unneutered – pet cat.
The benefits of neutering are numerous.
- Neutered males are less like to roam and fight with other cats, reducing the risk of them getting lost, being injured, run over or contracting diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) through fighting. They are also much less smelly and far less likely to spray about their home and territory.
- Neutered females are often far calmer and quieter than unneutered queen cats, who can make a right old racket when in season. They are also less likely to contract FIV or FeLV spread by the bites that so often accompany feline mating, and less likely to be chased from their own familiar territory by tom-cats. They also don’t have to go through the stress (both physical and mental) of conception and pregnancy.
There are a number of myths about neutering, which should be dispelled.
- Cats are quite happy to breed with their brothers and sisters – they do not discriminate.
- Cats can become sexually active from 4 months of age.
- A cat that has just had kittens can – and will – get pregnant again just 6 weeks after giving birth.
- Neutering does not make cats lazy and overweight. It is true that post surgery cats may gain a small amount of weight – however in our experience lazy and overweight cats are generally overfed and under-stimulated cats. Whether they are neutered or not is largely irrelevant.
- It is not beneficial for a female cat to have at least one litter of kittens. We’d challenge anyone who believes this is true to come and witness the birthing process – very often the mum cat is only a baby herself and it is heartbreaking to see these wee things go through such pain and suffering.
All our cats are neutered prior to leaving our care, and it is a condition of adopting one of our kittens that they be neutered at our vets within our stipulated timeframe, the cost of this being reflected within the donation we request at the time of homing.
We understand that for some, the cost of neutering can cause difficulties and so for those with lower incomes and on benefits, we operate a scheme whereby we can help meet some of the costs of neutering. Many local and national charities operate similar schemes, so support is out there if only people would ask for it.
Please help us spread the word about the benefits and dispel the myths about neutering. And if you know someone who is struggling, we are always only a call away. And believe us when we say we’d much rather receive the call asking for proactive help than the reactive calls we receive so many of each and every day.
If you would like more information about our neutering scheme please contact us at the Shelter.