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Prepubertal neutering of cats: three key points
  1. David Yates, BVSc, MRCVS, RSPCA1 and
  2. James Yeates, BVSc, CertWel, DWel, MRCVS, RSPCA2
  1. 1411 Eccles New Road, Salford, M5 5NN, UK
  2. 2Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 9RS, UK
  1. e-mail: david.yates{at}

Statistics from

CHARITY hospitals are rarely empty. Every last penny, and every last minute, is spent helping as many animals as possible. However, sometimes full becomes overflowing.

Summer is often especially busy, as more hours of daylight correlate to increased feline reproduction (Faya and others 2011) and longer working hours for staff. This year is also particularly busy, with a cat charity describing the cat population as being at ‘crisis point’ (RSPCA 2014).

Cats being left un-neutered can be a risk factor for cats and kittens being dumped, signed over or rescued from cruelty, with accidental breeding accounting for 14 per cent of UK relinquishments (Casey and others 2009, Joyce and Yates 2011). It can also be a risk factor for several health problems, with neutered status associated with increased mean longevity (O'Neill and others 2014). Consequently, charities spend millions on neutering – encouraging owners, neutering animals in their own shelters and subsidising the operation for owned animals. This work relies on welfare-minded practitioners who provide surgery at reduced fees or pro bono. Such team efforts have shown significant success in the UK, where studies have suggested that around 90 …

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