Cat early-age desexing

Desexing of all cats not registered for breeding is vital to feline population management. Tragically, every year in Australia tens of thousands of cats and kittens are killed and abandoned because they are not wanted. Desexing – and in particular, early-age desexing – is the only humane solution to managing feline population.

Early-age desexing (EAD) – when kittens are 8-10 weeks old – is now practised widely by shelters and cat rescue groups in Australia, North America and Europe, and has gained popularity with breeders rehoming non-breeding pedigree kittens. Many shelters and vets have been practising EAD for more than 20 years. It is medically and behaviourally safe. An education package for veterinarians is provided on this website. The benefits of desexing for cats is explained to cat owners in this factsheet.

Everyone in the community has a role to play but particularly those in leadership: veterinarians, government, welfare and rescue organisations, the pet sector and registered breeders. With the exception of kittens rehomed by a registered breeder to another registered breeder for the purposes of breeding, no kittens should be made available for adoption unless they have been desexed.

If cats are not desexed until 5-6 months of age there is a risk the female kittens can already have become pregnant, and in both male and female kittens, the unwanted behaviours associated with sexual maturity can have been established.

Rehoming already desexed kittens provides shelters, pet shops, breeders, pounds and rescue groups with an assurance that they will not contribute to feline overpopulation. It also helps the adopting family and their kitten to bond, reducing the risk of relinquishment or abandonment.

Registration of cats is a legal requirement in NSW. For more information click here.

Cat welfare survey

On behalf of the Cat Protection Society of NSW, Ipsos conducted an online survey of 519 men and women aged 18+ years, living in New South Wales. The research was conducted between 16th and 19th May, 2017. The sample comprised of 363 cat owners (who collectively own a total of 554 cats) and 156 non-cat owners.

The research found that while the majority of cat owners in NSW are responsible (89% of cats are desexed, 78% are vaccinated and 73% are registered) there is still scope to significantly improve feline welfare.

The survey compared the likelihood of desexing cats before and after health messages about early-age desexing were provided. It found that providing information about the health benefits of early-age desexing (between 8 and 16 weeks) could increase the rate of cat desexing by up to 11%.

To download the full report, click here.

To download the 2018 report, click here.

Ipsos is an independent market research company, ranking third world-wide with presence in 87 countries. Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specialisations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research and survey management.