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The National Animal Trust

Registered Charity No 243707

Founded in 1965

A companion in a home

not just a pet in a house

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The National Animal Trust believes that neutering and spaying cats is the most important thing we do as, no matter how many cats and kittens we (and other charities and groups like us) rehome, there will never be enough homes to go round. We consider that neutering and spaying is the only effective way to reduce the huge number of unwanted cats and kittens in the UK - unwanted cats and kittens that often end up straying on the street, being in rescue centres for months or even being put to sleep.

 

Although the average age for a kitten to come into season for the first time is between five and six months old, it can be as early as four months. Cats are prolific breeders and can have up to three litters a year, with the average size of each litter being between four and six kittens. As a cat normally remains fertile throughout its life, a female cat living to the age of 15 could produce up to 270 kittens in that time. It is estimated that one unspayed female cat could be responsible for 20,000 descendants in just five years if all of her offspring go on to have kittens!

 

Due to our wholehearted support of neutering, The National Animal Trust operates a subsidised neutering scheme to help people who are on low income to get their cats neutered or spayed. Each year we help to neuter and spay between 350 and 400.  If half of these cats are female, and working on the statistics above, this means that in just one year we could have potentially helped to prevent between 3½ and 4 million more cats being born over the following five years. Incredible thought isn’t it.

 

If you are struggling to get your cat neutered or spayed, whatever the reason, please get in touch with us and we will be pleased to help in whatever way we can.

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What people say

“It’s okay, I’ve already got good homes for my kittens”.

 

What we say

Obviously this is better than not having homes at all but those good homes could be adopting kittens from rescue centres and people who cannot find good homes.  They will not only be helping to reduce the number of unwanted kittens, but could prevent kittens being dumped on the street or even prevent them from being put to sleep.

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What people say

“I’m only going to let her have one litter.”

 

What we say

We think “only one litter” is one litter too many.  If those kittens are then allowed to breed and then their kittens are allowed to breed, it’s easy to see how one female cat could be responsible for 20,000 descendants over five years.

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What people say

“If we neuter and spay all cats they will eventually die out.”

 

What we say

It is estimated that there are between 8 and 10 million cats in the UK, 2 million of them strays, and this is probably a conservative estimate.  It has also been estimated that 850,000 kittens are born in the UK each year.  With these sorts of figures it is highly unlikely that we will ever get to the point where cats are in danger of dying out.

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What people say

“I don’t need to get my cat neutered as he’s male.”

 

What we say

A male cat obviously cannot get pregnant but can father an unlimited number of kittens in his lifetime.  It is extremely important to have a male cat neutered to reduce the risk of him wandering, getting into fights, getting run over or picking up serious diseases that could kill him.

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What people say

“I keep my female cat in so she can’t get pregnant.”

 

What we say

Apart from the fact that an unspayed female cat who does not mate will continue to come into season every two to three weeks and drive everyone in the house mad with her calling, it is very bad for her for health reasons. She will be at risk of developing cancer of the ovaries and uterus or a nasty womb infection called Pyometria. She will also have a much higher risk of developing mammary gland cancer.

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What people say

“My cat is okay, she doesn’t go out and my other unneutered male is her brother so she can’t get pregnant.”

 

What we say

When cats sexually mature they do not care whether they are related or not.  Brother and sister, mum and son or father and daughter, it will make no difference once they get the urge!

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What people say

“My cat is only 6 months old, she’s too young to get pregnant.”

 

What we say

A female cat sexually matures at about five to six months, although it can be as early as four months.  We have lost count of the amount of heavily pregnant cats we have taken in that are only seven months old. As a cat’s pregnancy lasts approximately 9 weeks, this means they got pregnant when they were only five months old.

Need help to get your cat neutered or spayed?  Please contact us and we will be pleased to help.

Reasons to get your female cat spayed
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  • It is estimated that there are two million stray cats in the UK, and this is probably a conservative estimate. It has also been estimated that 850,000 kittens are born in the UK each year, many of which end up being abandoned or in rescue centres for months at a time. There are just not enough homes to go round and many people only find this out when they are trying to rehome their kittens.

 

  • It is estimated that one unspayed female cat could be responsible for 20,000 descendants in just five years if her kittens go on to have kittens and then those go on to have kittens and then they have kittens ... you get the picture!

 

  • A kitten can sexually mature as young as four months old and have her first litter while she is still a kitten herself. She can have up to three litters a year, with an average of four to six kittens in each litter. This will very quickly take its toll on her, wearing her down and causing health problems, not only for her but for her kittens.

 

  • In the past it was thought beneficial for a female cat to either have one season or one litter of kittens before being spayed. Thankfully, this has now been found to be totally unnecessary and of absolutely no benefit to the cat, either for health or emotional reasons.

 

  • An unspayed female is at risk of developing cancer of the ovaries and uterus, and pyometra, a serious infection of the uterus that if not treated quickly enough can kill her. The spaying operation involves removing the ovaries and uterus so getting her spayed as young as possible means there is no risk of any of these things happening.

 

  • An unspayed female has a much higher risk of developing mammary gland cancer. Getting her spayed as young as possible lowers the risk considerably.

 

  • An unspayed female cat will become very friendly with male cats when she is in season, even if she usually hates other cats. Coming into close contact with so many other cats, particularly when mating, heightens the risk of her picking up infectious diseases such as Feline Infectious Leukaemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), diseases that she could pass on to her kittens.

 

  • An unspayed female cat who does not mate will continue to come into season every two to three weeks throughout a significant part of the year, calling and wailing loudly to attract male cats. This will not only drive you mad but will probably mean you getting quite a lot of complaints from the neighbours!

 

  • An unspayed female cat, even if she does not go out, will attract unneutered male cats. Male cats can come from miles around and having a load of cats on your doorstep spraying, fighting and caterwauling is not very nice and again is likely to get you a lot of complaints from the neighbours!

 

  • Having just one litter of kittens can be very expensive. Buying additional cat food is essential as a pregnant (particularly in the second half of her pregnancy) or nursing cat needs far more food than normal. During her pregnancy and when she is feeding her kittens most of what she is eating goes straight to them. Kittens are expensive to look after as they also get through a lot of food when they are weaned. Additional veterinary treatment may be needed as not all pregnancies go to plan and a cat giving birth can easily get into difficulties, giving rise to urgent veterinary treatment being needed. Kittens will need to be treated for fleas and worms on a regular basis and should have a veterinary check. Some people think they will be able to recoup the money they have spent and even make a profit from selling the kittens but this is usually not the case as there are far more kittens than there are homes.

Reasons to get your male cat neutered
  • Obviously male cats cannot get pregnant but they can father countless kittens, so it is very important to neuter a male to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

 

  • A neutered male cat is far less likely to roam, whereas an entire male tends to have a much larger territory and can routinely travel miles looking for unspayed females, often being away from home for days at a time or even not coming home at all. As well as putting him at greater risk of road accidents, you will see far less of him.

 

  • An unneutered male cat tends to fight a lot more over territory and females.  Cat fights can be quite vicious and often result in injuries such as cat bites that develop into nasty infections. Neutered male cats usually do not fight so much as they tend to be less territorial, making for a much more relaxed cat.

 

  • As an unneutered male cat tends to come into contact with more cats and get into fights, he has a much higher risk of picking up serious infectious diseases, such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Infectious Leukaemia (FeLV), both of which could kill him. FIV in particular is seen in unneutered male cats more than neutered ones as it is spread by bites.

 

  • An unneutered male cat is at risk of developing tumours of the testicles. As the neutering operation involves removing the testicles, a neutered male is not.

 

  • An unneutered male cat will spray extremely smelly urine to mark its territory and attract females, both inside and outside of the house. Although a neutered cat can still spray, it tends not to be so territorial and so sprays much less, and its urine is far less pungent.

 

  • An unneutered male cat is likely to cost more. He has a much higher risk of getting into fights, which often result in nasty injuries and infections, and being involved in road accidents, which means more trips to the vets.

 

  • A neutered male tends to be a far more relaxed cat with a much smaller territory. Not only is this better for him but you will see far more of him and he will be a much nicer cat to live with.

 

  • An unneutered male cat will very often be making a real nuisance of himself by going round spraying urine up other people’s doors, cars and sometimes even inside their house. Not to mention beating up the neighbourhood cats and waking everyone up with the caterwauling he will be making when out looking for females. Getting your cat neutered could stop World War III breaking out with your neighbours.

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What people say

“It will spoil his fun if I get him neutered.”

 

What we say

An unneutered male cat is in greater danger of being run over, getting into a lot more fights resulting in injuries, is at greater risk of picking up life-threatening diseases, will spray very smelly urine all over the place which nobody will like, and is in greater danger of getting lost. We don't think stopping all this is spoiling his fun! Getting him neutered will make him a healthier, happier and more relaxed cat and much nicer to live with.

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