Frequently Asked Questions - Cat 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.
There are thousands of cats and kittens living on the streets of Singapore and there are just not enough homes for all of them. Some live in terribly harsh conditions whilst others are lucky enough to be community cats and cared for by a committed feeder. This is why sterilisation is very important in order to humanely control the existing stray cat population to ensure sustainability.
At what age should a cat be 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, 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.
Yes. They will benefit health-wise and you will gain when they stop trying to leave your home to mate, spray urine around the house and get into fights with each other. Also, you will not have unwanted litters of kittens on your hands. A breeding pair can produce 3-5 kittens, 3-4 times a year. That would result in 9-20 kittens being born in a single year.
With so many cats in the house, owners then feel overwhelmed not just by the sheer numbers, but by the time and effort it takes to take care of so many, as well as the financial cost of food, litter and veterinary bills. Many then decide to abandon their cats. Abandonment is a major factor in hindering the efforts of volunteers to control the cat population in Singapore.
Isn’t it cruel to deprive my cat of a chance to have a family?
Cats do not mate for pleasure. They have no control over their mating i.e. they are slaves to their hormones. Studies have also shown that it is actually a rather painful experience for the female cat. It is more cruel to let the cats breed when we cannot find enough homes for their litters. Many cats, including kittens, have been abandoned by their owners who end up with more cats that they can handle. Most do not survive.
I don’t think I can afford to sterilise my cat.
The question you should ask yourself is "Can I afford NOT to sterilise my cat?" Your cat may have kittens and finding good homes for them will not be an easy task. If you do keep all of the kittens, the cost of food, litter and medical bills may prove to be a heavy financial burden. Abandoning your cats or kittens when there are too many to handle is simply not an option.
Cats that are abandoned often do not have the skills and instincts to survive on their own and you will be directly causing their suffering or death from starvation, being knocked down by cars or caught by pest control to be culled. Sterilisation is a vital personal responsibility of a cat owner.
Under the Animals and Birds Act, anyone who is found guilty of pet abandonment can be imprisoned for up to 12 months, fined up to $10,000, or both.
The cat must not be given any food and water from 10pm onwards on 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.
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!"
You can try luring the cat into a cat carrier with food. There are professional services that you can engage that provide the full service of trapping, transportation and boarding. Please contact
Tel: 98410307 (Belle)
Professional Cat Trapper
Tel: 94897626 (Vincent)
Sunshine Pets & Fish Services
Tel: 96956931 (Richard)
We have sterilisation support programmes to help you with the sterilisation of the cat.
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