Neutering/Spaying Pets

Some people say it's interfering with nature to spay or neuter an animal, but what is to become of all their babies? There are just not enough caring homes available for them all, and that's a fact. All too often they are treated cruelly, abandoned or drowned. There are animal welfare organisations all around the country literally bursting at the seams with adorable dogs, cats and rabbits looking for caring homes, so please don't make the situation worse by bringing more into the world.

The Donegal SPCA strongly recommends that you get your pet spayed if it is female and neutered if it is male. As well as preventing unwanted offspring there are medical benefits, cancer is less likely to occur in older animals. We know it is lovely to see a litter of pups or kittens but spare a thought for their future.

When should an animal be neutered?
Thousands of unwanted puppies, kittens, etc are born every year, and the Donegal SPCA strongly advises neutering at an early age. Charities worldwide are now neutering animals as early as possible so ask about early neutering as soon as you get your pet. This is a straightforward operation that can be arranged with a vet.

Un-neutered female dogs come into season twice a year. Dogs may have up to 12 puppies in each litter, an un-neutered female cat can have three to four pregnancies a year and five or six kittens per litter, you do the math! Also do the math on how much it would cost to feed all these offspring? 


It's very cruel to let these baby animals grow up and go wild... causing them terrible hardships and an early death. Prevention is the way to go... neuter as soon as possible. A cat can have kittens at 4 months of age. Dogs come into heat from 6 months of age onwards, depending on the breed.

Will my pet behave or look differently afterwards?
It may for some, but most owners think any changes are for the better. Animals become more workable for many owners, less headstrong. Un-neutered males tend to be more aggressive than their neutered counterparts - they get into fights with other animals; they often escape from their owners in an attempt to find a female in season and are sometimes injured or cause traffic accidents as a result.


Male animals, which are kept indoors, may turn their amorous attentions to pieces of furniture or even people. In dogs, barking and ill temper are other symptoms of frustration.  Tom-cats can be great wanderers and fighters which can lead to injury and infected wounds, they also mark their territory by urinating - this is called 'spraying'. The smell is difficult to eliminate.

Un-neutered female dogs come into heat twice yearly for about three weeks each time and female cats come into heat three to four times a year. A bitch in heat usually attracts scores of visiting males to her owner's front door and windows. She will also be quite anxious to escape and, as a result, may be difficult to control. Females who have shown no interest in other animals before will have a change of mind when in heat. 


Un-neutered females can also go through phantom pregnancies which can lead to all sorts of odd behaviour and may even require veterinary attention to sort it out. They are also more prone to tumours of their breasts in later life and a deadly serious disease of the womb called pyometra.

Will neutering make my pet fat?
No, it shouldn't. Animals generally only get fat from overeating or not enough exercise. A neutered animal may not need as much food as before and you should keep an eye on what you are giving it. Ask your vet for advise

Is it best to let my pet have one litter first?
No, this is a myth. There is no good reason for letting a dog or cat produce a litter and the normal health risks associated with birth and pregnancy can actually be harmful... not to mention incredibly costly.

Feral/Wild cats

Each spring, uncontrolled breeding means that hundreds of litters of feral kittens are born, which leaves them prey to disease and sickness. Thousands of abused, injured and sick cats and kittens are taken in by local charities each year. 

Neutering your pet cat - both the males and females - it will go a long way towards reducing the numbers of feral kittens being born each year. a male produces more kittens than a female... as he roams all over the place. Cats can wander as far as 10 kilometers at a time (some more) when they're out an about.