International Cat Care has partnered with The British Veterinary Nursing Association (BVNA) as the BVNA’s chosen charity. In this series, BVNA president Alex Taylor will be writing articles for our blog aligned to our monthly social media themes. This month is ‘reproduction and pregnancy’, read on for some great advice about the benefits of early neutering in cats.
There are conflicting views over the best time to neuter a cat, and to a certain degree this can be influenced by each individual cat’s lifestyle. However, it’s important to bear in mind that cats can reach sexual maturity from as early as four months, meaning that young female cats are highly likely to become pregnant if they are not neutered, and male cats can mate with females too, producing unwanted kittens.
One of the downsides of early pregnancy is that female cats end up giving birth to kittens when they are still kittens themselves, which can have a negative impact on their health and welfare. Many rescue centres are already full of cats and kittens needing homes, so additional unwanted kittens just add to the strain on resources and prevent or slow down other cats in need (especially older cats) finding suitable homes.
Benefits of early neutering include:
- Prevention of nuisance from excessive noise when a female cat comes into ‘call’ (which is very loud!)
- Reduced cost of neutering compared to that of caring for and feeding a litter of kittens
- Less stressful for a young female cat to be spayed than to have a litter of kittens early in life
- Reduced likelihood of male cats fighting once they reach sexual maturity
- Both male and female cats are less likely to pick up infectious diseases such as cat flu or feline leukaemia due to mating and fighting with other cats
- Male cats are less likely to be injured from fighting or roaming e.g., cat bite abscesses or serious trauma due to a road traffic accident
- Male and female cats are more likely to urine spray if they are not neutered before they are sexually mature, so early neutering can prevent sexual-related urine marking
- Reduced risk of certain cancers for female cats if they are neutered before six months of age
- Potential for younger cats to recover more quickly and experience less pain after neutering in comparison to older cats
Are there any disadvantages to early neutering of cats?
Historically, there have been some concerns surrounding the early neutering of cats, however more recent evidence has shown that there are no disadvantages of neutering cats at around four months of age. Early neutering causes no problems with a cat’s development, behaviour, or health. Improved surgical techniques, anaesthetic drugs, equipment, and patient care mean that the risks associated with anaesthesia of kittens is lower now than it was several years ago.
For more information about the benefits of neutering all cats, as well as advice and evidence debunking the myths around early neutering go to:
BVNA is the representative body for veterinary nurses. They promote the interests of veterinary nurses, and prepare their members for the challenges ahead. To find out more, visit https://bvna.org.uk/