The Importance of Neutering Cats on World Spay Day 2024: Myth-Busting and Health Benefits Explained

World Spay Day – 28 February, 2024
Today is World Spay Day, an international event that encourages cat owners to get their pets neutered.
PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, explains: “For female cats, spaying prevents or reduces the risk of several life-threatening illnesses, including cancer of the womb and ovaries, as well as pyometra, a very serious and potentially fatal womb infection.
“For male cats, neutering can reduce their instinct to roam and fight other cats, which in turn reduces their chance of exposure to nasty injuries or diseases such as FIV (the feline version of HIV). Neutering can also help stop male cats from spraying indoors – which is not only unpleasant to have to deal with, but urine marking can also be very smelly, which owners really wouldn’t want in the house!”
Despite the benefits, the 2022 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report found that more than 1.2 million* cats in the UK remain un-neutered. So PDSA has put together a myth-busting list for some of the common reasons given:
Myth: my cat needs to have a season before she can be neutered
Reality: this is untrue – female cats don’t need to have a season first and can be spayed from four months old, as they can become sexually mature soon after this age.
Myth: my cat should have a litter first before being spayed
Reality: this is unnecessary – there is no need for a cat to have a litter before being neutered as there is no emotional benefit to this.
Myth: there’s no need for my pet to suffer invasive and unnecessary surgery
Reality: Neutering is a routine operation carried out by vets on a daily basis. For female cats the operation lasts around 20 minutes, while for male cats it is under 10 minutes. Your cat will be given pain relief to keep them comfortable and the vast majority of pets will be able to go home the same day and recover very quickly.
Myth: I have an indoor cat so there’s no risk of pregnancy.
Reality: cats can be very determined and frequently do get into (or out of) houses despite their owner’s best efforts. This is even more likely if a cat is in season. There are important health benefits that your cat will benefit from when neutered, as pregnancy is not the only risk when they remain intact.
PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.
*The 2022 PDSA PAW Report found that 11% of cats in the UK are un-neutered. With 24% of the UK adult population have a cat with an estimated population of 11.1 million pet cats, that’s more than 1.2 million cats in the UK un-neutered.
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