What is sterilisation? Why sterilise?
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.