Neutering – surely it’s the best policy

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Because most domestic cats have access to outdoors it is obvious that they will reproduce given the opportunity. Tom cats have a natural drive to mate with as many females as possible and litter sizes of eight or more are not uncommon.

A female cat can become pregnant again as early as four weeks after giving birth and from the age of around six months old.

To avoid unwanted pregnancies, and to limit the ever-growing number of cats requiring homes, the best answer is to get your cat neutered as soon as possible.

We recommend that the average earliest age is six months and it is important to keep them indoors until this is done since some can become sexually mature earlier than this. Your vet will be able to advise you on timings for your pet as each one can be different.

If you are not planning on controlled breeding with your cat, the responsible course of action is to neuter them. If you do not then the result could be even more kittens being born without having suitable homes pre-arranged. Also, it is possible that cats can wander off to new areas, if they are unhappy with their current home for whatever reason, for example. If these cats are pregnant it could mean that they give birth outdoors and far away from their usual area. During spring, the summer months and into late autumn, we regularly receive calls from the public to say that there is a litter of kittens in their garden. If already weaned the mum is often now away and it is left to us to try and catch the kittens before they turn feral. This can be as early as eight or nine weeks old. Once feral, it is virtually impossible to catch them, which means a colony of uneutered cats can quickly grow out of control. They are then at risk of disease and the serious effects of inbreeding also.

Rescue charities such as ourselves simply cannot cope with the ever-growing number of cats that are needing a home. Our waiting list to admit cats to the centre is always very long and it is a similar story all over. So if you are not organising a planned and controlled pregnancy with make an appointment to talk to your vet for advice on safe neutering for your pet. Male and female cats alike need this procedure done if we are to get on top of the numbers.