Feline Network cat rescue: Why we want you to neuter your cat

Torbay Weekly

From about four to five months old, cats start to reach sexual maturity and a female is physically capable of having kittens.

That is not to say they should!

The younger the cat, the more problems and chance of her losing her kittens or her life.

It is a fallacy to think cats need to have ‘just one litter’.

Furthermore, male cats will start to spray, which is an unpleasant smell caused by testosterone and hormones in the urine, designed to warn off other males.

Cats will travel miles following the scent of a female and often get killed on the roads or lose their way, ending up stray and in a terrible condition, fighting for food and females.

This is purely down to irresponsible ownership.

Females can give birth two or three times a year but this is exhausting, and many problems can occur including aborted kittens, breaches, blood loss or stuck or mummified kittens - all of which put her life in danger.

Neutering a cat – castration in the male, removal of the testes, and spaying the female, removal of the ovaries and uterus – not only prevents unwanted pregnancies occurring but also curbs unwanted behavioural patterns associated with sexual maturity and reduces the risk of certain diseases.

If an unneutered female cat has eight kittens at her first mating and six survive, of which three are female, and if the same pair of cats continues to breed and their offspring continue to breed unchecked - even despite a 20 per cent death rate and a 35 per cent sterilisation rate - after only 10 years around 7,000 female cats will produce approximately 40,000 kittens of which 25,000 will survive and 20,000 will be females who will go on to breed again. Sobering thought.

Ask any rescue about how many unneutered strays they collect every year, what poor condition they are in, or those they scrape off the road because they have been roaming for food or a mate.

Most vets will neuter from four months, many from three - the recovery rate for both is good.

There is  no excuse not to do this, and breeding from your cat to supplement your income is quite frankly despicable.

All charities have been in a position of taking in kittens who were sold way too early, six to seven weeks, some as early as three weeks, who subsequently become ill, succumb to flea anaemia from terrible neglect of the breeder, malnutrition, and quite often pass away, despite the best vet care.

There are schemes available to help you neuter your cat, including from Cats Protection or the PDSA.   Snip and chip is the best thing you can ever do for your cat.