There are a staggering number of dogs (and cats) that are given up DAILY to rescue centres – many of whom will be euthanised within ONE day if homes cannot be found for them.


If you are not intending to breed from your pets, the simplest and kindest thing of all is to have your cats and dogs neutered and spayed. Here in the UK if you are on a low income you can claim a voucher for part payment of the operation from the Cats Protection and you pay the rest. There are also organisations, like the Celia Hammond Trust which is based in South London, which will pay the entire fee. I’m not sure if other countries have this policy – perhaps you’ll write to me to let me know? Thanks.

The downside of not having your cat neutered or spayed is that entire toms will wander for miles to meet a female they can mate with. Stepping into the existing territory of another entire tom they will inevitably fight – the resident tom will be fighting for ‘his’ woman and the visiting tom will have his work cut out defending himself.  Both cats can sustain terrible injuries which can be fatal if they get abscesses and infections in wounds. If the tom doesn’t meet someone he can mate with, all that testosterone raging around his body will cause aggression.  Diseases like Feline Leukaemia, Feline AIDS and other serious illnesses can be transmitted during these fights which are often fatal if the cats become infected by bite wounds.  Unneutered toms also have phenomenal appetites and never seem to stop eating.

I can speak first hand of this as the little cat next door, Clive, has inflicted grievous bodily harm to my Timmy twice, causing a terrible abscess on his face both times which required Timmy to visit the vet – and cost me a lot of money! And a friend of mine’s cat, also called Timmy, suffered terrible injuries to his front leg when Clive tried to grab him – it cost my friend over £200 ($400) in veterinary fees. Clive has also started spraying in my friend’s house. The strong smell from an unneutered cat’s urine is one that is very difficult to eradicate from the house – and your nostrils!

Clive’s owners don’t think it’s necessary for him to be neutered. They think it will take away his macho-ness. They think he will become flabby and fat. All these things are myths. Cats (and dogs) only become flabby and fat for two reasons only – if they are fed too much food and don’t get enough exercise.

Unspayed females can go on to have dozens of litters in their lifetime and each litter of kittens not only needs to be found decent homes, but if left unneutered or unspayed, can go on to create more kittens – and so it goes on. The oldest recorded female cat to have kittens was 26 years of age – that’s very old in human years for a cat and totally unfair to the cat. Her body must have been totally worn out and her kittens probably would have been very tiny and weak – if they survived at all.

Neutering and spaying can have positive effects on your cat’s health; unspayed females can get mammary cancer, uterine and ovarian cancer, and unneutered toms can get testicular cancer and cancer of the urethra. Spaying and neutering adds a couple of years onto their lives as well, which is another positive bonus.

It’s also a myth that females need to have one litter of kittens before they are spayed. They do not. It’s the owners that think it’ll be nice to see cute and cuddly little kittens tumbling over each other – what the female doesn’t know about, she won’t miss!  And neither will the tom.

For more information, please check out these websites below:

© Pauline Dewberry January 2008

Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)

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