Why should I have my tomcat neutered? He won’t have kittens… He will!
A tomcat can serve 40 queens (female cats) a year and he can smell and follow the scent of a female over 7 miles. This can happen at a very early age, before the owner has even noticed that he is mature, as young as 5 or 6 months old. In the course of such a honeymoon he can easily get lost; in the trance of his erotic pilgrimage he does not take note of his route and finds himself homeless when the romance is over. Unless his owner is persistent and lucky and finds him through advertising, Tom is doomed to live a life of misery. Nobody will adopt an unneutered tomcat or even tolerate him in the back garden because he fights other people’s pets, male and female, and marks houses and gardens with an intolerable scent.
Tail up, who is neutered?
Homeless and hungry, he will enter houses through the cat door in search of food, only to get shooed away. Fighting for his survival, he will soon look run-down and battered and his chances of finding a new home dwindle. “Mangy toms” are usually not mangy at all, they are often only neglected, undernourished and battle scarred. And now, the biggest threat of all is a newly discovered virus: the killer FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), which is passed on during fights through biting, when the saliva of the infected cat enters the bloodstream of the other. No cat has been known to recover from it and unneutered tomcats are most likely to fall victim.
And what about “the girls”?
Did you know that one unspayed female cat can be responsible for 10,924 kittens over 6 years?
We assume a female cat, let’s call her Pandora, 1 year old in spring, starts breeding: although most cats have 3 and sometimes 4 litters a year, our calculation is based on the low rate of only 2 litters a year per mature female cat, with 4 kittens each time, 2 male and 2 female – and we do not take the death rate into account. If not spayed, the explosion pictured below can happen. Unfortunately, there are people who, for whatever reason, do not have their cat spayed and who place their unwanted kittens with like-minded people or irresponsibly in pet shops.
So next time you are tempted to let your cat have just one litter or hear someone insist it is kinder for the cat to give birth just once, remember – the “just one litter” can be the start of many, many litters. It only needs one of your cat’s great, great, great grandchildren to have Pandora’s fate…
LET’S KEEP PANDORA’S BOX FIRMLY SHUT!
©Elke de Vries – CAT 77 Fieldwork Advisor, 1999