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23rd February 2021

This World Spay Day (Tuesday 23 February), cat and vet organisations have come together to champion the importance of neutering in a new animation.

Eight out of ten people are unaware their cat can become pregnant from four months old

Every year, many unexpected and often unwanted litters of kittens are born, risking their safety and welfare and the health of their mum, and many sadly end up in rescue centres. This is why the Cat Population Control Group (CPCG) has come together to create an animation on the importance of neutering and some of the difficulties faced in the pandemic. Cats Protection animation

The animation, created by Rockadove, sees a woman deciding whether to spay her cat and is faced with the possibility of ending up with lots more cats. It goes on to highlight some of the benefits to our feline friends, such as preventing some cancers and saving on future vet bills, and explains that owners may need to be patient during the pandemic as vets understandably have to prioritise emergencies making access to neutering more difficult.

Alice Potter, RSPCA cat welfare expert, said: “Sadly, we see the dark side of the cat overpopulation crisis as every year we are called out to kittens which have been abandoned by the roadside or dumped in bins because they were an unexpected litter.

“Finding the space to care for them, and finding new loving owners to adopt all these cats can be really challenging, especially during the summer months when the intake numbers of cats can soar. We, and other charities, believe neutering a cat from four-months-old is the key to help tackle this."

A Cats Protection survey* also highlights a lack of awareness about feline pregnancy among cat owners.

Eight out of 10 are unaware that a female cat can become pregnant at four months of age or that one unneutered female cat can have up to 18 kittens in a year. Three out of 10 also say it’s acceptable for a female cat to have a litter of kittens before being spayed.

“These findings suggest some owners could unwittingly add to the unwanted kitten problem in the UK by allowing their cats to breed,” Sarah Reid, Acting Head of Neutering for Cats Protection explained.

“In fact, female cats have no emotional need to be mothers and could suffer serious health complications by becoming pregnant at such a young age. Keeping unneutered cats indoors and apart is the best way to protect the health of your pet and reduce unwanted kittens, so we hope owners take note of this for World Spay Day and beyond.”

The RSPCA and many other charities believe that wherever possible all cats should be neutered before they are rehomed. The charity’s hospitals and clinics neutered more than 3,000 cats in 2020 and our centres and branches across England and Wales neutered many more. This means if you’re considering getting a cat, adopting from a reputable rescue means you will not have to worry about spaying and snipping - as this is likely to have been done before you bring the cat home.

Alice, Potter RSPCA cat welfare expert, added: “Understandably vets are prioritising emergencies in the face of Covid-19 and may need to restrict other procedures.Vets are advised to perform neutering only where it is essential for health and welfare so it’s important to be patient and understand if they cannot neuter at the moment.”

In the meantime, if your cat hasn’t been neutered the advice is to keep them indoors with plenty to keep them entertained such as toys and scratching posts, until they can be spayed or snipped. It is also recommended that owners keep a male and female pair separate, even if they have come from the same litter, this will also help to avoid any unwanted pregnancies.

Find out more information about World Spay Day and neutering here


Notes to editors 

  • Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat charity, helping around 200,000 cats every year through a network of around 230 volunteer-run branches and 37 centres. The charity’s vision is a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs

  • The Cat Population Control Group includes RSPCA, iCat Care, Cats Protection, PDSA, Battersea, Blue Cross, the Scottish SPCA, Wood Green, Mayhew, Celia Hammond and Pets at Home
  • Founded as the Cats Protection League in 1927, the charity adopted the name Cats Protection in 1998. We ask that you use the name Cats Protection when referring to the charity in all published material

  • More information about Cats Protection can be found at
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