Most owners rightly choose to neuter (spay or castrate) their cats both for the health of the cat and to prevent unwanted litters of kittens, but there are social and geographic variations in the practice of neutering cats. However, neutering plays a vital role and among other benefits it:
- Prevents female cats coming into season thus removing the risk of unwanted pregnancies.
- Prevents behaviours associated with female cats coming into season, which can be difficult to cope with.
- Removes the responsibility of having to find good homes for unexpected litters of kittens.
- Reduces the risk of mammary cancer and uterine infections in female cats.
- Reduces roaming and fighting behaviour in male cats.
- Substantially reduces the risk of injury and disease from fighting.
- Reduces territorial marking by male cats, which spray pungent smelling urine.
- Reduces aggressive behaviour between entire male cats and other cats.
For these and other reasons, neutering is strongly recommended for all kittens. Ideally this should be done at around 4 months of age before they become sexually mature. They recover from the surgery remarkably quickly and there are no significant detrimental effects from neutering at this age.