Charities highlight the importance of neutering for cat welfare

Today is World Spay Day and cat and vet organisations have come together to champion the importance of neutering in a new animation.

Every year many unexpected and often unwanted litters of kittens are born, risking their safety and welfare and the health of their mum, and many sadly end up in rescue centres. This is why the Cat Population Control Group (CPCG) – which includes, RSPCA, iCat Care, Cats Protection, PDSA, Battersea, Blue Cross, the Scottish SPCA, Wood Green, Mayhew, Celia Hammond and Pets at Home – has come together to create an animation on the importance of neutering and some of the difficulties faced in the pandemic.

The animation, created by Rockadove, sees a woman deciding whether to spay her cat and is faced with the possibility of ending up with lots more cats. It goes on to highlight some of the benefits of our feline friends, such as preventing some cancers and saving on future vet bills and explains that owners may need to be patient during the pandemic as vets understandably have to prioritise emergencies making access to neutering more difficult.

Alice Potter, RSPCA cat welfare expert, said: “Sadly, we see the dark side of the cat overpopulation crisis as every year we are called out to kittens which have been abandoned by the roadside or dumped in bins because they were an unexpected litter.

“Finding the space to care for them and finding new loving owners to adopt all of these cats can be really challenging, especially during the summer months when the intake numbers of cats can soar. We and other charities, believe neutering a cat from four-months old is the key to help tackle this.”

A Cats Protection survey also highlights the lack of awareness about feline pregnancy among cat owners. Eight out of 10 are unaware that a female cat can become pregnant at four months of age or that one unneutered female cat can have up to 18 kittens a year.

Three out of 10 also say it’s acceptable for a female cat to have a litter of kittens before being spayed.

Sarah Reid, Acting Head of Neutering for Cats Protection explains: “These finding suggest that some owners could unwittingly add to the unwanted kitten problem in the UK by allowing their cats to breed. In fact, female cats have no emotional need to be mothers and could suffer serious health complications by becoming pregnant at such a young age. Keeping unneutered cats indoors and apart is the best way to protect the health of your pet and reduce unwanted kittens, so we hope owners take note of this for World Spay Day and beyond.”

The RSPCA and many other charities believe that wherever possible all cats should be neut

ered before they are rehomed. The charity’s hospitals and clinics neutered more than 3,000 cats in 2020 and our centres and branches across England and Wales neutered many more. This means if you’re considering getting a cat, adopting from a reputable rescue means you will not have to worry about spaying and snipping – as this is likely to have been done before you bring the cat home.

Alice, Potter RSPCA cat welfare expert, added: “Understandably vets are prioritising emergencies in the face of Covid-19 and may need to restrict other procedures. Vets are advised to perform neutering only where it is essential for health and welfare so it’s important to be patient and understand if they cannot neuter at the moment.”

In the meantime, if your cat hasn’t been neutered the advice is to keep them indoors with plenty to keep them entertained such as toys and scratching posts, until they can be spayed or snipped.

It is also recommended that owners keep a male and female pair separate, even if they have come from the same litter, this will also help to avoid any unwanted pregnancies.

For more information about neutering visit: www.rspca.org.uk/neutering or www.cats.org.uk/neutering Or contact your vet to see how they can help.