Whatever witty slogan we use to attract your attention, by the time you read this article, kitten season will have begun in earnest. Now of course as a volunteer for Swansea Cats Protection, my head can be turned by the sight of adorable kittens – whose wouldn’t? But as a volunteer I also see the hundreds of abandoned kittens, unwanted adult cats and the terrible toll that repeated pregnancies take on unneutered female cats. I also witness the bloody battle scars on the faces and bodies of unneutered male cats, sustained in fights which would very likely not occur if they were neutered. It’s not that we don’t like kittens, far from it! Our many fosterers are always busy caring for unwanted, vulnerable kittens and abandoned pregnant female cats. We advocate for neutering because we adore cats and we value their lives…. every single one of them.
Just last week we responded to a request on our Helpline (0345 260 2101) from an owner who wanted advice about neutering her little 2 year old cat, Milly. We were of course more than happy to help as quickly as possible, because this poor little puss was in season and had already had 3 litters of kittens in her short life. The owner was not aware of our £5 neutering scheme (more of which later) but knew that neither she nor Milly could cope with more mouths to feed. We were able to arrange for a volunteer to collect Milly from her owner, take her to a vet participating in the £5 neutering scheme, and with the appropriate paperwork completed and fee paid by the owner, have the little cat neutered. By the end of the day Milly was taken back home by a volunteer and settled in a quiet place to recover on her new blanket (thanks to our wonderful supporters like Angela who spend their evenings crocheting blankets for the cats in our care). Milly can now look forward to a life free from the unwanted attention of unneutered tom cats and can play happily and safely in her garden.
But Milly is just one example of the hundreds of vulnerable, unneutered cats in need in Swansea, which is why Cats Protection, in conjunction with the RSPCA Llys Nini, are pleased to announce the continuation of the neutering scheme in the Swansea area. Owners living in the SA1 – SA10 postcodes can have their cat neutered, microchipped, and treated for fleas and worms all for only £5. The guidelines for eligibility for neutering assistance apply to one or more of the following:
- receipt of certain means-tested benefits
- low household income
- full-time students living away from home
- state-only pension and pension credit.
Proof of eligibility will usually be required by the vet in order to participate in the scheme.
Owners don’t have to contact Swansea Cats Protection or the RSPCA first, as the scheme is available directly via the participating vets, but of course if you need further advice, please get in touch via our Helpline.
The £5 scheme covers pet cats and also stray cats where every effort has been made to find an owner – but if in doubt, get in touch.
Why should I neuter my cat?
Neutering is the best way to deal with the issue of unwanted pregnancies – by preventing the problem in the first place, because a female cat can have up to 6 kittens, 3 times a year! We are regularly contacted by stressed and distraught owners who have tried and failed to prevent their female cat from going outside in case she gets pregnant – and are asking for help. But this problem need not have occurred in the first place had they had their cat neutered. Little mention is made of owners who simply allow their unneutered male cats to roam freely, doing what their hormones are driving them to do! This irresponsibility simply passes on the problem to owners of unneutered female cats. But owners of unneutered male cats can still experience problems as their cat may well come home with wounds from fighting other toms, leading to expensive trips to the vet.
And, of course unneutered toms are more prone to wan-der, putting themselves at risk of injury or being killed on the road. They can often spray smelly urine to attract poten-tial mates, and experience stress from frustration if they don’t find one. But once neutered, male cats are much less likely to roam or fight and their urine will smell less pungent! Having your male or female cat neutered also has health benefits for your cat. The chance of contracting some infectious cat diseases will be reduced, as will the likelihood of developing mammary tumours (breast cancers), pyometra (life threatening womb infections), testicular cancer, and many other illnesses. Female cats that haven’t been neutered can become pregnant from four months of age, are more likely to contract diseases and are even at risk of developing infections. Neutering your female cat means there won’t be any unwanted kittens, so there will be no expense associated with litters.
What is neutering?
Neutering (also called spay-ing) is a surgical operation to prevent female cats from get-ting pregnant and male cats from making females preg-nant. This simple operation will be performed by your vet, with your cat being under general anaesthetic. Cats are fairly resilient and in most cases you’ll be able to drop off and pick up your cat from the vet the same day. They’ll recover quickly from the operation, although your vet will be able to advise on the best care during this stage.
Cats Protection recommends that kittens are neutered at four months old or younger, although cats can be neutered at any age.
What is the process for neutering?
You’ll need to book an initial appointment for the operation, with the cat normally admitted between 8am-10am in the morning and able to be picked up that evening. Your cat will need to have been kept indoors without food for some of the night before. Your vet will advise. Modern anaesthetics and pain relief mean that the process is generally painless these days. Many vets also operate using a tiny incision on the left side of the cat, reducing pain in comparison to the equivalent procedure in dogs or humans. Vets will also give the cat pain relief injections covering the period after surgery. If you are unsure, please speak with your vet. Vets usually advise that the cat is kept indoors for a few days after surgery and may need to wear a lampshade shape collar to stop it from chewing its stitches. Stitches might need removing after seven to ten days or may be dissolvable.
Right age to neuter a cat
Kitten neutering has been shown to be safe and effective and avoids many of the potential complications that can occur later in life. Cats Protection recommend that your pet cat is neutered at four months of age or younger. It is important that the procedure is done before the cat begins puberty, preventing any unplanned pregnancies.
According to Cats Protection there is no evidence to show that it inhibits growth or causes urinary problems, with experiences showing kittens resume their normal activities and routines after surgery much more quickly than adult cats.
Will neutering make my cat get fat?
We often get asked this question! According to Cats Protection, neutering in itself doesn’t make cats fat, just more contented. And that’s what we all want for cats – to live a happy, safe and contented life. Please help us to achieve this by neutering your cat, by telling your friends, family and neighbours about the vital importance of neutering – if you’re on a low income or struggling to afford to neuter your cat, get in touch with us or your vet and ask about our £5 neutering scheme. Neutering saves lives.
If reading this has sparked an interest in adopting or fostering one of our lovely cats or kittens, please get in touch and arrange to come and meet the cats waiting patiently for a loving home.
We can be contacted via our Helpline 0345 260 2101 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note our Helpline is answered by a messaging service and we will respond as soon as we can, but please be patient and remember that we are all UNPAID VOLUNTEERS trying to do our best for the rescue cats and kittens of Swansea.
Young Bruce (left) was recently homed, but prior to that spent a fearful time as an unneutered cat being attacked by big-ger, older unneutered toms – his poor little nose bear the scars but thank-fully these will heal with time and love from his new owner.
Friendly boy Winston (left) was abandoned as an unneutered tom and sadly con-tracted feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) from bite wounds by an infected unneutered stray. But we’ve not given up on him and he is available for rehoming with the right person who can manage his specific needs.
With their poor mother found dead, these three exhausted and under-nourished kittens were rescued recently and are now being cared for by one of our experienced fosterers. The reality is that not all kittens are welcomed into the world. When they are fully recovered, these little ones will be found loving homes.