Neutering, sometimes called spaying for female cats or castration for males, involves an operation to prevent female cats getting pregnant and male cats from getting females pregnant. We’ve put together a handy video all about neutering your cat:
Neutering is the general term for the operation in all cats and this includes either spaying or castrating. Spaying is the word used to describe a female cat getting neutered, and castrating is the word used to describe a male cat getting neutered.
Cats can be neutered at any age, but we’d recommend getting your kitten neutered at around four months old. This is because female cats can start having kittens from around this age, so to prevent any unwanted litters it’s important to get them neutered as soon as possible. Remember, cats aren’t selective about who they breed with and will even breed with siblings!
Neutering prevents unwanted litters of kittens, and helps to prevent more cats being born than there are homes available. Cats Protection champions neutering as a way to help keep the cat population under control, and ensure every cat has a safe and happy home.
Cats are effective breeders and female cats can get pregnant from a very young age so making sure your kitten is neutered or spayed is particularly important.
Of course, as well as preventing unwanted kittens, neutering your cat has plenty of health benefits too.
The benefits of neutering a female cat can include:
The benefits of neutering a male cat can include:
Neutering your cat is a fairly quick operation and your vet will likely ask you to drop your cat off in the morning and collect them later the same day.
Your cat will have a general anaesthetic, so ask your vet about when to feed them before the procedure. It is advisable to keep them indoors the night before, don’t forget to give them a litter tray.
Effective pain relief means that the process is painless. Many vets operate using an incision on the left side of the cat and will give pain relief injections. Your cat may also come home with some pain relief medication.
Your cat will normally be on their feet within hours of their operation. It’s normal for them to be a little wobbly, tired or even excitable when they come home after being under anaesthetic, so keep an eye on them. By the next day your cat should be eating and feeling much brighter.
When your cat comes home, there are a few things you can do to help them while they recover, including:
Costs of neutering your cat will vary depending on where you are and your vet practice. Have a chat with your vet to get an accurate cost, or check their website as a lot of practices will often have costs available there.
If you are struggling with the cost of neutering, there may be help available. As the UK’s leading feline welfare charity, we're involved in a number of programmes and work with partner charities such as PDSA as well as authorities to promote neutering. If you need financial assistance we might be able to help through our means-tested neutering scheme.
There is no benefit to letting your female cat have a litter of kittens before you get her neutered. Because female cats reach sexual maturity so young, it may even be harmful to let them have a litter of kittens, especially while they are still kittens themselves.
Once your cat is neutered, they won’t need to eat as much as an unneutered cat to stay a healthy weight. You can simply reduce their portion sizes, or some foods contain fewer calories. Speak to your vet for advice on feeding recommendations following neutering and if you are concerned.