When you adopt an adult cat from a shelter, it will usually have already been neutered. In the case of a kitten, if it is too young at the time of adoption then the adopter will sign an agreement to arrange the sterilisation at the appropriate time. Some people still think that this is cruel (‘a female should have one litter’ or ‘it’s taking their nature away from them'). As someone involved in animal welfare, I can state categorically that there are many sound reasons for neutering a cat.
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The oft-quoted statistic is that a single female can be responsible for 20,000 descendants in five years. That may sound unbelievable, but not when you consider that a female can produce 4 litters a year, with an average of 4 to 6 kittens per litter. It is especially important that feral cats are neutered, so that a colony can be controlled and kept as healthy as possible.
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If your cat has a litter, every kitten has to be found a home. For every one of those homes, there is a cat in a shelter who will now miss out. It’s no life for them – they need a home. Many cats on the street have been abandoned and don’t even find refuge in a shelter – they are at risk of accident or cruelty, and need homes too.
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There are many health benefits to having a cat neutered. Its chances of developing cancer will be greatly reduced. Uncastrated males are more aggressive, likely to be injured in fights and may even get lost while in search of a female (and his life will not be happy from then on).
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It is well-known that unneutered males spray around the house, but females can be just as irritating. Recently my current foster kitten went on heat for the first time – I lasted two days before rushing her off to the vet. They do NOT stop miaowing … So, even if your female is an indoor cat, get her spayed if you value peace and quiet (and besides, if she does get out then she won’t be coming back with a little surprise).
Neutering truly is the responsible thing to do. One of my cats was abandoned while pregnant; although I can’t know the full story, it seems likely that she was dumped because of it. I also suspect that she hadn’t been neutered because her owners thought she was too young, as she wasn’t fully grown. So a cat charity then had to find homes for five more cats.
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Even if your cat lives indoors, there is always the possibility that it might escape one day. A female might then come back pregnant, and a male might find a female in heat. Yes, owners of males have a responsibility too!
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There are many caring people doing their best to help feral and abandoned animals, but trust me, it is a mammoth task. The money for neutering, veterinary care and food has to come from somewhere, and rescue organisations, many of which are small, constantly struggle to raise funds. Yet if we didn’t do it, these animals would have no one.
Being involved in a cat rescue, I see the consequences of unneutered cats all the time. So I cannot stress enough how important the issue is. It’s not that expensive, is a common operation and will be greatly to your cat’s benefit – plus to feline welfare as a whole.
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