“Lil” was a rescued one year old, longhaired, Tabby cat. She had already had a couple of litters of kittens before she was rescued at just under a year old. As a result, “Lil” was tiny, and she needed a lot of support to get her back into reasonable health again. Before her rehoming she had been neutered , vaccinated , de flea'd and wormed, and she was now gaining weight and so looking much healthier.
Sadly, there are still sadly thousands of unwanted cats and kittens in the UK. Rescue Centres are still full of cases" like "Lil", looking for suitable, loving homes.
It only takes one entire male cat in an area to create a lot of unwanted pregnancies. An entire female cat can become sexually mature and come into "season" be mated and fall pregnant as early as six months old. The gestation period for a cat is just nine weeks, and a female cat can fall pregnant again as she is feeding a current litter. An entire female cat or "queen" can therefore have up to three litters per year, and can have up to six kittens per litter, that is eighteen kittens per year!
It is advised that a female cat is neutered ideally before sexual maturity, to reduce the risk of unwanted, repeated pregnancies, which can put her general health at risk, and produce weak, unwell kittens.
The benefits of Spaying your Female cat include: a marked risk reduction in the risk of mammary cancer later in life if the queen is spayed by six months of age and there is also a complete prevention of the risks of infection of the womb (pyometra), and of preventing ovarian cancer as the ovaries and uterus are all removed during the procedure. In the male cat: there is a prevention of the risk of testicular cancer and in all cats, there is also a reduction in territorial fighting, the bites from which can become infected and cause abscesses, and there is a reduction in the spread of viral infections through infected saliva and blood of Feline Immunodeficiency virus and Feline Leukaemia virus in cats. With neutering there is also there is a reduction in the risk of your cats roaming and wandering, and this in turn reduces the risks of them being involved in road traffic accidents or receiving other injury, or of fatigue and malnutrition, after wandering far away from the comfort and safety of their own home.
Also, kittens born because of interbreeding can often have serious congenital birth defects, and pregnancy and giving birth itself is not always straightforward and can carry health risks if something does go wrong.
Entire male and female cats can also be a nuisance and cause a fair degree of excessive noise during the whole mating procedure. The males can wander some distance far from home and they will continually "mark" their territory with a very pungent marking "spray" and they are much more likely to fight and so receive repeated injuries and bites which can become infected and be the cause of the spread of viral diseases. If a female "queen" cat does not mate and become pregnant within her "season" cycle she will then become extremely vocal and "call" continually for a male mate and this will be repeated every three weeks until the whole mating season is over. These mating seasons are in the Spring and Autumn months. This female "calling" behaviour can in turn lead to further male territorial spraying and marking and unwanted aggressive fighting between cats and a continual noisy caterwauling ... resulting in an annoying and noisy time for everyone!
Although neutering may initially seem costly, the costs of dealing with complications during pregnancy and giving birth are much more so, not to mention the cost of correct and advised preventative healthcare and the feeding of an entire litter of kittens and ensuring finding good, caring homes for them after weaning. Spaying and Castration are standard surgical procedures and generally your cat will come home to you that same day with good advice on post-operative care and diet. There are some excellent local charities that can sometimes assist with the costs of neutering your cat. Also, with in-house Vet practice "health clubs" there is generally some discounts on the neutering costs too.
Any advice on male and female neutering procedures and costs can been given by your Vet practice and do call your Vet for good professional advice if you have any concerns about the neutering procedure. The benefits of neutering a cat far outweigh any drawbacks when you consider the higher risks of unwanted kittens, roaming, fighting and health risks and illness.
Please do be a responsible pet owner and do not add to the ever-growing number of unwanted cats and kittens.
Contact your Vet practice to arrange an appointment to have your male or female cat neutered, to avoid any unwanted pregnancies and avoid health risks to your pet and others.