Should I spay or neuter my cat?
If you're getting a kitten, one of the most important things you'll need to organise is for them to go to the vet to be neutered. This is a simple operation known as 'spaying' for female cats and 'the snip' for male cats. Here's more about why neutering is important and what's involved.
Getting your female cat spayed
To stop your female cat from having kittens, she'll need to have a simple operation known as 'spaying' before she turns four months old. This is also known as 'fixing', 'neutering' or 'being done'.
When your cat is about four months old, she'll start to attract the attention of tomcats, who'll want to mate with her. This is why it's important to have her spayed before she reaches four months, so she doesn't get pregnant while she's still a kitten herself.
You may have heard that it's good for female cats to have a litter of kittens before they are spayed, but this isn't true. Once she's been spayed, your kitten will be able to do all the things cats enjoy doing, like going outdoors, climbing trees and playing.
Getting your boy cat snipped
If you have a male cat, he'll need to have a simple operation called 'the snip'. This can stop him from spraying in your house to mark his territory, which can be very smelly, and getting nasty injuries from fights. He's also less likely to wander off and get run over, as cats who've been snipped tend to stay closer to home.
What's more, having your cat snipped will protect him from a nasty disease called FIV, which is the cat version of HIV. It's spread through cat bites, often between males fighting over a female. It can't be caught by people.
What's involved in the neutering operation?
Your cat will need to be dropped off at the vet and picked up again later that same day.
The operation is very simple and your cat will be given an anaesthetic. Once they're back home, they'll need to stay in for a short time (your vet will tell you how long), but they'll soon be fit and well again.
Need help with the cost?
If you receive benefits, you may be able to get some help with the cost of having your cat neutered, so contact your local RSPCA branch to find out. Other charities, such as Cats Protection, may also be able to help.