Frequently Asked Questions - Sterilisation

Sterilisation is the surgical removal of part of the reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus of females and testicles of males) from an animal so that it can no longer reproduce. It is a safe and quick procedure that is performed by a veterinarian. The cat is under general anaesthesia the entire time, so it will not feel any pain. The procedure takes 5-15 minutes and the cat is back to normal in 1-2 days.

Sterilised community cats can be recognised by a tipped left ear. Tipping is done during the sterilisation surgery while the cat is still under anaesthesia. It is a universally recognised way of marking a sterilised cat so that it is not neutered twice.

Why?
Only by tackling the root cause of cats being killed every year can we stop the problem -- and that is that there are too many cats breeding.

13,000 cats are killed a year -- that works out to 35 healthy cats a day. To keep that number down, the number of cats born has to be reduced drastically. To put it simply, the fewer cats born, the fewer cats have to suffer and die.

Pet Cats
Depending on the vet clinic, the cost of sterilising pet cats range from
Male: SGD 50-100
Female: SGD 80-150
Female (heat/pregnant): SGD 120-180

For a list of vet clinics, you can visit Singapore Veterinary Association.

Community Cats in HDB Estates

We provide free sterilisation for cats in HDB estates through the Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme that is co-funded by the Agri-food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore and supported by the Town Councils.

Email catsnip@catwelfare.org to book a slot at a participating clinic.
All cats sterilised through SCSP will have their left ears tipped.

Community Cats in other areas

If you are sterilising community cats, you can email catsnip@catwelfare.org to book a subsidised slot. CWS will make an appointment for you at the nearest participating vet clinic.

All cats sterilised through CWS will have their left ears tipped.

The cost of sterilising a cat through CWS is:
Male: SGD 25-38
Female: SGD 40-65
Female (heat/pregnant): SGD 45-100

The Cat Welfare Society offers further subsidies through a sterilisation reimbursement scheme.

After the sterilisation of community cats is done, you may submit the receipts to us within 1 month. Please note that the maximum reimbursement per membe per month is $800. You will get:

CWS Members (How you can become a member):

* S$20 for each cat sterilised
* S$30 per cat from 5th cat onwards, for receipts dated in the same month

Non-Members:

* S$10 back for each cat sterilised

In general, cats are sterilised when they are 6 months old. However, some female cats do come into heat at an earlier age. Signs of heat include increased appetite, restlessness, being more affectionate than usual and emitting short low calls. At this point, she will also start to attract males. Tom cats, on the other hand, when they reach sexual maturity, will instinctively spray their surroundings with strong-smelling urine. Look out for these signs and take your cat to be sterilised immediately once you see them.

Sterilising male cats will result in health benefits and eliminate ‘anti-social’ behaviours. Also, if a male cat is not sterilised in an area of sterilised female cats, it will roam further afield to look for non-sterilised females and impregnate them.

The cat must not be given any food and water from 10pm the night before surgery.

After surgery, keep the cat in a quiet place and observe its behaviour. You may release it only when it is fully alert and eating well. A male cat usually takes 24 hours to recover, while a female cat might need 48 hours.

When we trap, sterilise and return the cats to their environment, the sterilised cats will guard their territory against other non-sterilised intruders. The sterilised colony will first stabilise, and then decrease over the years as the cats live out their natural lives. But this is only possible if pet cat owners do not abandon their cats and kittens.

There must be an optimal number of cats in each area to guard against unwanted intruders. If the area is big and the number of cats few, the small number of sterilised cats may not be able to keep out non-sterilised intruders effectively. It is however, difficult to conclude what the optimal figure should be, as many other factors, such as the area’s density and number of food sources, affect the outcome. Therefore it is best to return all sterilised cats back into the neighbourhood and let natural attrition decide on how many sterilised cats each area needs to keep out intruders.

The MUIS Fatwa Committee states: "Fundamentally, all mazhabs (Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence) allow the sterilisation of animals. After analysing the arguments and position of the different mazhabs and medical opinion from the Society of Prevention of Cruelty Againts Animals (SPCA), the Fatwa committee decides that sterilising cats on the basis of 'maslahat' (general good) is harus (permissible)."

Sol Hanna, President of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia says: "There is nothing in Buddhism that indicates that sterilisation creates unwholesome kamma. While the female cats may experience some suffering after the operation, this is relatively mild, and is inconsequential next to the wholesome kamma of preventing the future suffering of cats that are without homes and being destroyed by the authorities. Plus there is good kamma in helping all the tom cats restrain their lust!"

Me
If you don’t like cats, you will be glad to know that sterilisation is an effective way of reducing the number of cats in your area in the medium to long term.

If you like cats, you will be happy that fewer cats are being killed because of sterilisation.

My Neighbourhood
Sterilisation eliminates or severely reduces certain ‘anti-social’ behaviours of cats. These include calling out loudly while mating, spraying urine and fighting. While these are perfectly natural behaviours in the wild, they often invite complaints in our urban environment.

My Cat
Sterilisation has health benefits for both male and female cats. Spayed female cats will not contract ovarian and uterus cancers, or pyometritis (a potentially fatal uterus infection). Their chances of getting breast cancer are also greatly decreased, especially for those sterilised before their first heat.

As for sterilised male cats, they will not suffer from testicular cancer and because they are less inclined to fight other cats, their chances of being bitten and hence contracting feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are very much reduced.

Also, when sterilisation reduces the number of cats in an area, there is less risk of complaints, which would otherwise lead to the cats being rounded up and killed.

Sterilisation saves lives by reducing the number of cats that are killed each year in a bid to control the cat population.

For more than 25 years, an average of 13,000 cats have been killed each year to control the number of cats on the streets. This means that more than 325,000 cats have been killed.

Sterilisation is a humane and effective alternative to killing. When we reduce the number of cats on the streets through sterilisation, there will be no need to kill.