THE IMPORTANCE OF NEUTERING
The KLAWS adoption contract asks adopters to agree to neuter their pet at 6 months of age.
Why do we ask our adopters to do so?
We want your new family member to have a happy and healthy life with you. And neutering is a big part of this!
So, first of all, let’s explain what exactly we talk about when we talk about neutering a cat:
Neutering means castration of a male cat (removal of the testes) and spaying of a female cat (removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus). So the procedure is a little bit less complicated for males than it is for females. However, both castration and spaying are basically everyday practices for veterinary surgeons, which means that the possibility of any complications is limited, though of course no surgery is ever completely risk-free.
A few points to remember about the importance of neutering:
Intact cats, males and females, will roam to try and find mating partners. They can end up far away from home or get into hazardous situations. Roaming can expose your cat to serious diseases, such as feline leukemia and FIV, as well as put them in danger of being run over by a car. Intact males can get into serious fights that can have highly detrimental consequences for them.
Male cats are more likely to mark their territory or ‘spray’ when they are not neutered.
Once neutered, the males usually stop spraying; females will not yowl (which they normally do when they’re in heat).
Neutering has a positive effect on cats’ mental and emotional wellbeing: it keeps the anxiety associated with being in heat at bay. For example, indoor life for an unneutered cat can mean a life full of anxiety and physical and emotional frustration.
Neutered cats tend to behave better than intact cats – they are much calmer in general.
Neutered cats tend to live healthier, longer and happier lives.
Research has indicated that in female cats, spaying (especially before their first estrus) helps to prevent uterine infections and cancers, as well as breast cancer.
Intact female cats are also susceptible to pyometra: an infection of the uterus that occurs in females who have undergone numerous heat cycles without getting pregnant.
In male cats, castration eliminates the chances of testicular cancer and lessens the risk of prostate problems in the future.
And then there is the most obvious reason to neuter your cat: unwanted kittens. Lots of them. Female cats can get pregnant at only 4 months of age! An intact female experiences a heat cycle every 2-3 weeks for about 6 days. Although she may become pregnant only twice a year, each estrus cycle can create problems for the cat in the long run (e.g. pyometra).
A litter can be anything from one to eight kittens.
As they say, a female cat can become a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother within just 18 months!
Image credit: hsfc.org/outreach/
We as a species collectively also have a responsibility to small wildlife that cats prey on and kill in large numbers. Neutering our cats is a small thing we all can do to help control the global cat population even a little bit. Remember: 2 neutered cats can do a lot less damage to wildlife over nine years than 11,606,077 offspring of 2 intact cats!
And let’s not forget the unfortunate fact that millions of cats still to this day get euthanized every year simply because there aren’t enough homes available for them. So, we can all play a small part in reducing the overpopulation/overbreeding of cats by having our own pets neutered as soon as possible.
What we ask you to do if you adopt young, intact kittens from us:
Keep them indoors! Young kittens should not be out and about on their own.
Keeping them indoors until they’re neutered will also help them to get properly accustomed to your home and to understand that it is theirs, too. And this will greatly reduce the chance of their running away or roaming afar.
If you adopted a male and a female kitten you should consider getting them neutered as soon as possible. Ask your vet whether your kittens are old and healthy enough for the procedure. If not, then you may want to consider keeping them separated indoors until they are ready to be neutered.
Once they are neutered, keep them indoors during the recovery. Try to keep them as calm and relaxed as possible (if possible, avoid fast-paced games, discourage high jumping, etc.). When they’re fully recovered, they can gradually start exploring the outdoors, if they so wish.
We are all in it together: organizations like KLAWS always endeavour to neuter all rescue cats and dogs in their care, if they're at an appropriate age or weight. And we are incredibly grateful to all our adopters who help us in this mission and honour their adoption contract by getting their rescue pets neutered. Thank you!
*Of course, neutering your cat comes at a cost. However, it’s a one-off expense. And if we consider the various serious diseases that the surgery may prevent, it is potentially actually a money-saving exercise. Cancer treatment, for example, is many times more expensive than castration or spaying.
**KLAWS and other animal rescue charities also organise subsidised neutering programmes in conjunction with our local vets. Please keep an eye out for them, it might make neutering your cat a real bargain!
PS. We also advocate and follow the TNR programme (Trap, Neuter, Release) for feral cats, to help to reduce cat populations in our neighbourhoods. It is a humane method of feline population control which is practiced the world over.
So, if you see a cat with an ear tip missing, chances are he/she has been neutered via the TNR programme and released back into the wild.