Cats Protection have released new figures showing the true cost of neutering the UK’s beloved moggies. The Cats Protection spent a whopping 5.6 million pounds last year alone neutering 176,000 owned, stray and feral cats across the UK – that works out at one every three minutes.
The charity have stated that this is not a long term solution to the problem and said the only way to ensure that this growing population is brought under control is to get the cats neutered earlier in life in order to prevent unwanted litters of kittens.
Ian MacFarlaine, Cats Protection’s Neutering Manager said: “Cats are such prolific breeders that if we didn’t neuter them, we would have a population explosion that would end up with sick, stray and abandoned cats roaming the streets. As a nation of animal lovers, I don’t think anyone would find this acceptable."
He continued: “But we need help to get the cat population under control. Our research tells us that 94 per cent of cat owners don’t realise that cats can get pregnant as early as four months old so we are working with the veterinary profession and the public to encourage cat neutering around four months of age, which is a significant move away from the traditional six months."
TV presenter and newsreader Jan Leeming, who owns a cat called Tamby, supports the charities neutering work said: "I was surprised to learn that a female cat can get pregnant as early as four months. It appears we are leaving neutering too late and missing a golden opportunity to reduce the numbers of unwanted kittens that are dumped and left to fend for themselves, or given to charities like Cats Protection who already have their hands full. I’d urge owners to get their cats neutered earlier."
Ian agreed saying: “Ensuring cats are neutered earlier will prevent those surprise litters of kittens that most owners are unprepared for, and then have to hand over to animal welfare organisations, perpetuating the unwanted cat problem. Early neutering is proven to be safe and effective and avoids many of the potential complications of neutering later in life."
In May of 2011, a cat named ‘Hanna’ was handed in to Cats Protection’s Cat Adoption Centre. She had become pregnant at just four months old and her owner was now unable to look after. Hanna later gave birth to three kittens, luckily Hanna and two of the kittens have now been rehomed.
Cats Protection have set up an online register of vets that are helping the charity in its early neutering goal. Cat owners who are worried about this rise in population and would like to get their cat or kitten neutered can log on to www.cats.org.uk/neutering to find the nearest veterinary practice participating in the scheme.
To seek advice on neutering or to request financial assistance to get your cat neutered if you are on a limited income, please call Cats Protection’s national Helpline on 03000 12 12 12 or log on to www.cats.org.uk