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The Importance of Neutering

May 15, 2014

Neutering is something which is heavily promoted by RSPCA Branches and other rescue centres nationwide. Indeed, all of our dogs, cats and rabbits are either neutered before leaving our care or, in the case of very young animals, adopted with a neutering voucher. It is the condition of all adoptions that the young animals are neutered.

Why do we promote neutering?

Overpopulation

rsz_214.jpgAn obvious reason is the overpopulation of animals. There are simply too many dogs and cats for the number of homes available. Whilst animals are bred and sold to new owners, countless more are dumped in rescue centres across the country. 

In particular, rescue centres really struggle with numbers of cats. Cats generally are free-roaming and so end up giving birth to unwanted babies even more regularly than dogs. That's when centres like ours are overrun with kittens and pregnant mothers needing homes. An increase in neutering would help to reduce the numbers of stray and abandoned animals brought into us.

Health & Behaviour

Constant breeding can severely affect the health of female animals and it puts a serious strain on their bodies, which can reduce their lifespan. You may think that, as you're not planning on breeding your animals, this doesn't matter apply to you. However, neutering also eliminates the risk of certain cancers in cats and dogs, such as testicular and ovarian cancers.

Male animals are far more likely to fight and stray when they are looking for a mate. A large number of male cats come into our animal centre with abscesses they've developed after fighting with other males. These fights increase the likelihood of the transmission of fatal feline diseases, such as FIV. However, once neutered, most of these cats then live happily with other male cats. By neutering your male cat you are not only doing the responsible thing (by preventing him impregnating the local stray female population!), you are also doing the right thing for his health. 

Misconceptions

'Emasculating Males' or 'Depriving females of their right to motherhood'

Many of the arguments we hear against neutering centre on the emotive issue of the perception that the owner is either emasculating their male animals or depriving their female animals of their right to motherhood.

It is very important to remember that our pets are not human. They don't consider their offspring in the same way as we do and they cannot make the choice themselves whether to 'start a family' or not. We must make that decision for them. As previously stated, many male animals will fight if unneutered, particularly if in the presence of an unneutered female. The stress this puts on an animal is massive and neutered males will be much more relaxed and, often, more affectionate. 

Cats, dogs and rabbits can, and often do, make excellent mothers. However that is due to the biological drive to raise their offspring well. Neutered female animals put far less strain on their bodies, are not constantly swarmed by males and generally get along better with animals of both sexes. 

One litter

There is an old wives' tale stating that female animals should have one litter before being spayed. There is no scientific evidence that supports this being beneficial to the female's health or well-being. As long as the animal is old enough to be neutered (generally female cats and dogs can be neutered at around 6 months of age, rabbits from about 4-5 months of age) then it should be done as quickly as possible. 

It will be too stressful for my pet

It's true that any operation puts a strain on an animal, just like with people, however this is one procedure which will last them a lifetime! Male animals are back to normal within just a day or two and females recover almost as quickly. As with any operation there is a risk but it's minimal.

The effect of irresponsible breeding on rescue centres 

Year on year the number of animals that arrive into our Centre increases. 17 baby bunnies were brought in after being dumped under a bush; two mums and 7 kittens were found in boxes on a park; puppies were brought in after unexpected bree

ding. The list is endless. All of these are cases that could have been prevented had the parents been neutered. The strain on rescue centres is enormous and there comes a time when we are full and have to start to say no. Sadly this often affects those people who have had a genuine change in circumstances and really need to rehome their animals. 

Please do the responsible thing and neuter your animal. For more information or advice please call us on 01332 344620 and see our Neutering Page



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Leanne Manchester

Communications & Volunteer Manager


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