The Importance of Neutering

Why do we advocate neutering and spaying of cats?

Because an un-speyed female cat can be responsible for the birth of 10,924 kittens in just 6 years!

Let’s assume that one female cat is one year old in spring. She starts breeding in her first year and has two litters (this is a low estimate – many cats have 4 litters of kittens per year). Each pregnancy produces an average of 4 kittens two male and two female. Deaths from disease, exposure, or starvation are not taken into account. Her female kittens will then be ready to reproduce within 6 months, and the pattern below is the result:

Year Number No. of kittens born No. of cats giving birth Additional no. of cats giving birth
1 4 1 0
2 12 3 2
3 44 11 6
4 72 43 22
5 684 171 86
6 2,732 683 342
7 10,924 2,731 1,366

So, next time you are tempted to let your cat have just one litter or hear someone insist it is kinder for the cat to give birth just the once, remember just the one litter can be the start of many, many litters, and the start of an unfathomable amount of suffering. You cannot know what will become of your cats’ kittens, and her kitten’s kitten’s, and her kitten’s kitten’s kitten’s and you will be responsible for their fate, whatever it may be…

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Why do we have male cats neutered?

A tomcat can serve 40 female cats a year and he can smell and follow the scent of a female more than 7 miles away. A male can reach sexual maturity at a very young age (5-6 months), often before his human owner has even noticed that he has reached this stage.

Danger to un-neutered males
During his trips to find females, a male cat can easily become lost, injured or be killed on a road. Lost male cats often join or form their own colonies, marking their territories by yowling, scratching and spraying, making them unwanted ‘nuisances’ to many people. A cat who is normally dependent on humans for food often has to resort to finding his own food – this leads to fighting and hunger and he will begin to become undernourished and battle-scarred.

Disease
One of the biggest killers of feral cats is FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), a fatal disease which is passed through biting, scratching and mating, when the bodily fluids of an infected cat enter the blood-stream of a healthy cat.

It is estimated that more than half of all unneutered male cats, both feral and domestic, are carriers of FIV. This disease is very similar to the HIV virus in humans – there is no vaccine and it is, eventually, fatal, although many infected domestic cats can live happy and healthy lives with proper treatment. Neutering cats is an important tool in the prevention of the spread of FIV, as neutered cats will not spread the virus through sexual contact and are far less likely to pass it through fighting.

It is incredibly important to have your companion animals neutered. It may seem unkind to take away an animal’s right to breed – but the alternative is so much worse. We have seen the suffering – tiny kittens starving to death, cats weakened and dying slowly from FIV infection, colonies so large and in-bred that the kittens are born terribly deformed – caused by uncontrolled breeding.

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Please have your cat neutered or spayed. You will save many thousands of lives.