At Pilgrims we recommend that your male or female kitten is neutered or de-sexed at 4 months of age and not let outdoors until this is done. This is before they reach sexual maturity and so there is no risk of unwanted pregnancies occurring.
Some kittens are capable of reproducing soon after this time and especially during the breeding season, females will come into season every 2-3 weeks if not pregnant, making them capable of having up to three litters every year. That could be around 18 kittens in one year!
There is no negative effect to neutering before sexual maturity is reached and certainly the myth that cats should be allowed to have one litter before neutering is completely unfounded.
For both sexes, the procedure is very quick: less than 5 minutes for a male (both testicles are removed) and less than 15 minutes for a female (both ovaries and often the uterus are removed). This requires a short general anaesthetic given as a muscle injection which makes them sleepy within 5 minutes. They are generally fully awake after 1 hour and although quiet for a few hours following, they are as lively as normal by the following day. It is advised to keep them restricted to one room of the house for a few days and not let them outdoors until the wounds have healed (approximately 7-10days).
Pilgrims Veterinary Practice do a lot of work locally with the Cats Protection charity, whose volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year rescuing, caring for and rehoming unwanted litters of kittens, often with treatable diseases. We therefore know there is a real cat population issue in the Dorset and New Forest area. Please do not contribute to this by forgetting to neuter your kitten before letting them outdoors!
Benefits to neutering your cat
So we know we need to prevent unwanted pregnancies but what other benefits are there to neutering?
- Preventing associated sexual behaviour in males (Toms) – aggression, smell and marking of territory often indoors by spraying urine. Increased fighting causes injury but also spreads fatal diseases such as FeLV and feline aids (FIV)
- Preventing associated sexual behaviour in females – when in season, females will “call”. This is noisy and attracts Tom cats to your area with the associated problems (see above)
- Unspayed females are susceptible to mammary cancer and infections of the uterus