Cat charities come together to tackle cat crisis

A group of animal charities are coming together to champion kitten neutering at the London Vet Show this year.

The Cat Population Control Group (CPCG) has a stand at the London Vet Show from November 15-16 at the Excel where once again the group will be promoting neutering of pet kittens from four months old.

Surveys undertaken by the CPCG have shown that 33% of vets do not neuter kittens from four months old with most waiting until 6 months but the number of vets who are actively doing this is growing.

The CPCG is made up of the RSPCA, SSPCA, Cats Protection, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, the Blue Cross, Celia Hammond Animal Trust, PDSA, The Mayhew Animal Home, International Cat Care, Wood Green and Vets4Pets.

The group of welfare charities are promoting the neutering of kittens to reduce the number of unwanted litters which end up in rescue centres looking for homes.

The survey showed that the top reason given by veterinary professionals for their practice not neutering at four months was due to limited client requests. This means it is important to communicate to owners that their kitten can be neutered from this age.

Carrie Stones, the RSPCA’s Cat Population Control Manager said: “The UK is facing a cat overpopulation crisis and many of our centres and branches, as well as kind fosterers are full to breaking point with the number of cats coming into our care. With the support of vets, we hope it’s possible to make a real difference for cats.

“We would like to see all vets encouraging owners to have their cats neutered from four months old. We think this is the solution to the huge number of cats coming into rescue centres each year by helping to reduce the number of unplanned litters who are also sadly unwanted.”

The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report 2017 showed that 13% of owners of female cats said that their cat had at least one litter and 70% of those owners said that their cat’s pregnancy was unplanned.

The RSPCA said that neutering cats from four months old rather than the traditional six months means the veterinary profession can have a significant impact on the number of unplanned litters and therefore reduce the large amounts of homeless cats.

The CPCG would like to see vets discussing neutering with owners whilst kittens are receiving their first course of vaccinations and proactively booking them in to be neutered at four months during this vital visit.

Representatives from all the organisations that make up CPCG will be at the stand at The London Vet Show in November to speak to vets.

Jane Clements, Head of Neutering at Cats Protection, said: “There are significant welfare benefits to ensuring a kitten is neutered in a timely fashion and before and accidental litter is allowed to happen. Many pet owners just forgot, or don’t make the decision, hence why we promote booking the procedure at the same time as their first vaccination. Sadly, accidental litters born to pet kittens can end up in appropriate homes and on the street.”

The RSPCA says that it receives a call about a cat every three minutes and rehomed 26,369 cats last year. Cats Protection also rehomed 43,000 cats in 2017, which highlights the large numbers of homeless cats in the UK.

Cats Protection estimates that there are nine million stray cats and 1.5 million feral cats in the UK.