Having kittens - Nine out of ten vets concerned about unplanned kittens

18 August 2015

93% of all vets asked were concerned about cats having unplanned litters, figures released today from our Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey reveal. The survey also found that 95% of vets always recommend that owners have their kittens neutered, with the remaining 5% recommending it sometimes.

Every year organisations such as the Cats Protection rehome over 140,000 stray, abandoned and unwanted cats and kittens. Cats are able to breed from four months old, something many pet owners are not aware of. Consequently many owners wait too long to have their cat neutered, resulting in unwanted litters. 

Neutering is the only effective way to reduce the number of unwanted cats in the UK. It also prevents cats from suffering medical issues linked to breeding, such as transmission and spread of infections, and behavioural issues that may arise from poor socialisation of the kittens.

The survey also shows that two thirds of vets (66%) advise neutering kittens when they are five months old or younger. Female vets and those vets who had graduated since 2000 were significantly more likely than average to recommend neutering at four months (34% of female vets; 33% of more recent graduates).

John Blackwell, BVA President, says:
 “Cats and kittens can make great pets. However, I am saddened by the amount of unplanned litters I see on a regular basis during work. Organisations like the Cats Protection work hard to try and rehome all the unwanted cats that come through their doors, but there is only so much they can do.

“We need owners to be more aware of the young age their kitten can become pregnant from and to work with their vet to ensure their pet is neutered on time. The operation is relatively low cost. There are also a lot of organisations that will help with the cost of neutering if owners are unable to afford it.

“For social, health and population control reasons, there is a strong case for neutering earlier and moving away from the more ‘traditional’ age of six months. Our survey reflects how attitudes are changing in the profession.”

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) recommends that cats can be neutered from 16 weeks. Veterinary advice should always be sought regarding the risks and benefits in individual cases.

Further information

BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession mini survey ran from 4-8 February 2015. The survey was completed by 324 small animal and mixed practice vets.

BVA Media Office