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

Commissioned by the Cat Protection Society of NSW, Ipsos has conducted annual surveys on cat welfare in NSW since 2017. In particular, the surveys have sought to identify rates of desexing, vaccination and registration of pet cats, as well as to understand the barriers to desexing and knowledge of early-age desexing.

The 2019 report which can be downloaded here also references findings from earlier surveys. The report for 2018 can be downloaded here and the 2017 survey here.

Ipsos is the third largest market research company in the world, present in 90 markets and offering insights and analysis across a range of areas including marketing, public opinion, social policy, advertising and media.