Manncat Sanctuary often has unneutered male cats brought in. Usually they’re much-loved pets but have wandered off in search of female company and become viewed as strays by people who find them, and bring them to us. Not all of them get returned to their homes.
Male cats should be neutered at 5 – 6 months, to prevent this, but can be neutered at any age. Without that, they will travel far and wide, crossing busy roads and fighting territorial battles with other unneutered male cats.
That makes them the most at-risk group, of contracting the FIV virus, which is transmitted through deep bites. It cannot be transmitted to humans, or dogs, but only other cats.
If unneutered male cats carry the virus then females are at risk if they are bitten during mating. Feline sex can be very violent, particularly when several males are fighting over one female. While un-spayed female cats are less likely to roam in search of a male, they may become lost when they are chased by males, and can’t find their way home. Then they become pregnant and have kittens that are often brought to us when owners find it harder than they expected to give them away.
And that’s hardly a surprise. Females can mate as much as three times a year, producing up to six kittens each time. And when they reach six months old, the kittens will also begin to breed, leading to an explosion of unwanted kittens which end up in rescue centres if they are lucky, or just out on the street if they’re not.
To prevent this, like males, females should be neutered at 4-5 months. There is no benefit to the cat in letting her have a litter before she is spayed, but if she has already had kittens, she should be neutered when they are seven weeks old or she will become pregnant again; this will not affect her ability to feed the existing litter.
Female cats which are not neutered are at serious risk from various unpleasant health problems which can also be fatal.
This is why we at The Manncat Sanctuary always neuter both male and female kittens as soon as they reach 4 – 5 months (depending on the individual) and why all male and female cats should be neutered as a matter of course.