Why is neutering so important?

Cats Protection champions neutering because it is the most effective way to reduce the number of unwanted cats in the UK. Unwanted cats often end up living as strays and are therefore more likely to catch nasty diseases and because they are stray they may not always be able to receive the care they need. Neutering can help prevent this and it is also one of our three primary objectives.

What is neutering? 

Neutering is a surgical operation that prevents female cats from getting pregnant and prevents male cats from being able to get a female cat pregnant. All cats that come into our care are neutered (male cats) or spayed (female cats) if they have not already had the operation. They also have general health checks and veterinary care before being made available for re-homing.

Why should cats be neutered or spayed?

Cats are prolific breeders and can begin having kittens from the age of 4 months - one female can have up to 18 kittens a year. Although we all love kittens, we have a large amount of stray and feral cats in the UK and if they are not neutered, this can lead to the multiplication of feral colonies, diseases being spread and it can obviously lead to more unwanted cats living as strays without a healthy and happy home.

There are a number of myths surrounding neutering but our recommended neutering age for cats is at four months old or even younger. This is before they hit puberty. There is no evidence to show that being neutered at a young age inhibits growth or causes urinary problems, with experiences showing kittens resume their normal activities and routines after surgery much more quickly than adult cats.

We have come across many cats at our Birmingham Adoption Centre over the years that have not been neutered. Quite recently we had a male cat brought to us who was in quite a state from fighting and likely vicious mating habits and this is due to not being neutered. Needless to say our local veterinary team have ensured he is back to full health and has now being neutered.

Top benefits for getting your cat neutered

  • Your cat will fight less, resulting in fewer injuries and therefore fewer vets bills

  • They will be less likely to get diseases through mating and the risk of cancers will be reduced

  • Neutered males will be less likely to roam, which means less chance of getting hit by a car

  • Female cats won’t be in heat - so less wailing in the middle of the night!

Did you know?

  • Cats can breed from the age of four months old

  • Cats will mate with their siblings and parents

  • Unneutered male cats will travel for miles to mate, following the scent of a female in heat

  • To put things into perspective, just one female cat can be responsible for up to 20,000 descendants in just 5 years

  • Cats do not need to have “just one litter” before being spayed, there is no evidence to confirm that this is beneficial for the cat

What is the Cats Protection doing to help with neutering in the UK?

We have a dedicated neutering team based at our National Cat Centre and they are working on a number of research projects and campaigns throughout the UK to promote neutering. These campaigns include working to help make neutering more affordable for people, working with local veterinary practices to set up schemes, as well as working with housing associations and other animal charities such as the RSPCA and PDSA to find out what is happening regionally and taking a joined up approach to neutering. There is also a neutering helpline that people can call if they have any questions or queries about neutering.


neutering helpline number

You can find out more about the work Cats Protection are doing to promote neutering, as well as access more information, including a downloadable guide, here: https://www.cats.org.uk/cat-care/key-cat-care/neutering