From the age of 5 to 8 months, kittens reach sexual maturity and are therefore capable of breeding and producing kittens themselves!
Most people do not have the time or desire to breed from their cat and do not wish to add to the number of unwanted cats and kittens already looking for homes.
Female cats will normally come into season 3 times a year and can produce an average of 5 – 6 kittens per litter, and can become pregnant whilst they are still feeding a litter of kittens. This adds to the already overwhelming number of unwanted cats and kittens.
Neutering a cat – castration in the male (removal of the testes), and spaying the female (removal of the ovaries and uterus) – not only prevents unwanted pregnancies occurring, but also curbs unwanted behavioural patterns associated with sexual maturity and reduces the risk of certain diseases.
This is particularly true in male cats, as entire male cats have a strong tendency to roam, to be aggressive to other males to fight and to mark their territory by spraying foul smelling urine (often indoors!). This aggressive behaviour puts an un-castrated male at much higher risk of serious infectious disease such as feline immunodeficiency virus (feline ‘AIDS’) and feline leukaemia virus, both of which are transmitted through cat bites.
Cats usually recover from the neutering operation remarkably quickly. They may be a little drowsy for a few hours, but by the next day they are usually very lively again. It is sensible to try to keep your kitten fairly quiet for a day or two to allow the internal wounds some time to heal. However, if your kitten seems unusually quiet or dull you should contact your vet. Also, if your kitten starts to lick or scratch excessively at the skin sutures, contact your vet to get a dressing or special collar to prevent any damage being done to the wound.
It is important to remember that once a cat has been neutered, there is a tendency for it to become obese. You may therefore need to adjust the amount of food you provide should your cat start to put on too much weight.
Cats Protection can advise and help with neutering vouchers towards the cost of neutering, in the case of financial hardship. Be a responsible cat owner – have your pet neutered.