What's the issue?
Neutering is the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies, in both cats and dogs. But some owners may be anxious about making this decision on behalf of their pets. They may be concerned about possible behaviour changes, weight gain, or other health issues in their pet.
Even those owners who are convinced of the benefits of neutering may be unsure about the best time for their pets to have the surgery. They may also believe outdated advice that it is better for a female cat or dog to have a litter before being neutered, or to be neutered later in life.
What's our view?
Neutering is not a trivial procedure but the benefits outweigh the welfare implications. We strongly support the practice of neutering cats and dogs to prevent the birth of unwanted kittens and puppies, which can increase the stray population. Neutering also prevents the perpetuation of genetic defects.
Neutering should always be performed with adequate anaesthesia, and pain relief should be given to an animal pre- and post-operatively.
We recommend that pet cats are neutered from 16 weeks. In the case of feral and rescue kittens it may be necessary to neuter earlier due to the age of trapping.
There is currently insufficient scientific evidence to form a position on the early neutering of dogs and bitches. We recommend owners speak to their vets about the best time to neuter their dogs.
Cats Protection have a searchable register of veterinary practices which neuter cats up to or at around 4 months of age. For more information or to add your veterinary practice to the register, please visit the kitten neutering database.
The Cat Group
You can learn more about cat neutering and find resources to support best practice from The Cat Group.
The Cat Group is made up of BVA, BSAVA and various cat organisations including Cats Protection, which has a number of resources regarding early neutering advice for veterinary practices.