To desex or not to desex?

I own three beautiful cats, Albert, Tinkerbelle and as everyone knows, my gorgeous little boy Leo. I am starting to build up quite a collection (and trust me I would do anything to have more!), but one of the most imperative decisions one must make when buying a kitten or cat, is whether or not to get them desexed.

Now, I am very passionate about this issue and I completely and utterly in favour of desexing. I know the thought of your female cat having 5 or 6 kittens would have you squealing in delight, but ultimately, with issues of over population, more and more cats in shelters, and the very deadly disease Feline AIDS in the mix, it is a necessity for cat (and dog too) owners.

It is estimated that there are millions of unowned cats (strays and feral) in Australia. It breaks my heart, but every year, tens of thousands of cats are unfortunately impounded with a vast majority being euthanased. Because of overpopulation, many felines, who are in many cases, healthy and sociable kittens, have to be put down. There are simply not enough people in the country to adopt them.

Cats are breeding machines – during the mating season (October – April) you female kitty will spend all her time try to get pregnant. It is no accident! You’ll find she will cry, yowl at the door, desperate to go outside. Additionally, she will often become agitated, will look unsettled and spend a lot of time rolling around on the floor. There are many myths that are passed around in regards to desexing pets. Often owners will feel guilty by not allowing their female cat to have a litter of kittens – “taking away her rights as a female”. There are absolutely no health or veterinary advantages by allowing your little girl to have a litter.

“I don’t want to get my boy desexed, it will destroy his manhood..” is often a common idea for owners of male cats. Firstly, Tom cats during breeding season are a nightmare. They become aggressive and spend most of their time fighting other Tom cats in order to win the females over. These fights are vicious and violent, and this is where the issue of Feline AIDS starts to emerge. Unlike human AIDS, Feline AIDS is spread by saliva passed from one cat to another by the form of a bite. Feline AIDS is much more common in entire male cats than any other. It is a terrible disease and sadly, deadly. Additionally, you’ll find your little boy will want to go out and wander the streets more than usual, often walking off for kilometres. Sadly, this increases the risk of them getting lost or sadly hit by cars. (On a side note, if you’re still REALLY bothered about your cat’s masculinity, you can check out, yes.. that’s right.. a website that will pop testicular implants in your pet).

According to “Who’s For Cats”, there are a number of benefits to desexing your cat:

  • Desexing will help your cat live a longer and healthier life. Desexing prevents cats from getting some types of cancer. Desexing reduces cats’ desire to roam and therefore their risk of being hit by cars or involved in fights. On average, a desexed cat lives for 12-15 years, compared to only 3 years for an entire cat.
  • Cats that are not desexed cause most pet nuisance problems in the community. For example, they will mark their territory by spraying strong smelling urine in houses and gardens. They also create noise when fighting and yowling.
  • Best of all, desexing your cat means you are helping solve the problem of unwanted pets in society.

What’s amazing now, is that desexing cats is so accessible. Every vet has the facility to do so and even some animal shelters can too. It’s not too expensive to get your cat neutered either, with many facilities offering the service for free or discount days, purely to keep overbreeding down.

Experts suggest that your cat should be desexed at approximately 5-6 months of age, however with technological advances, you can even have your cat desexed as early as two months of age. This procedure is referred to as ‘juvenile desexing’ and is performed using keyhole surgery with a small incision made on the kitten’s side. Whereas adult cats take days to recover from their surgery, kittens are up and running around within a day of being desexed. The surgery is quick and painless, with your furry friend always put under anaesthetic.

If you are going to purchase a kitten or provide a home for a shelter cat – please do the right thing, check if they are desexed and if they’re not, please consider. You’ll be helping Australia keep the numbers of homeless cats down and reducing the thousands of unnecessary deaths of unwanted kitties!

Love and light,
Sophie & Leo xx


Note: All my cats are desexed and they look pretty happy to me right? 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Jay Nicholson September 20, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Sophie. A bit different to your usual blog but really, really interesting, informative, well written and socially responsible given Australia’s present problem with feral cats (and their avicidal tendencies). Good on yer, mate!

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