A survey by the BVA has found 93% of all vets asked were concerned about cats having unplanned litters.

Birth control: cats can be neutered from 16 weeks old.

Professional concerns

The Voice of the Profession survey also found 95% of vets always recommend owners have their kittens neutered, with the remaining 5% recommending it sometimes.

Two thirds of respondents (66%) advise neutering kittens when cats are five months old or younger. Female vets, and those vets who had graduated since 2000, were significantly more likely than average to recommend neutering at four months (34% of female vets; 33% of more recent graduates).

Owner awareness

John Blackwell, BVA president said: “Cats and kittens can make great pets. However, I am saddened by the amount of unplanned litters I see on a regular basis during work.

“Organisations like Cats Protection work hard to try and rehome all the unwanted cats that come through their doors, but there is only so much they can do.

“We need owners to be more aware of the young age their kitten can become pregnant from and to work with their vet to ensure their pet is neutered on time. The operation is relatively low cost. There are also a lot of organisations that will help with the cost of neutering if owners are unable to afford it.

“For social, health and population control reasons, there is a strong case for neutering earlier and moving away from the more ‘traditional’ age of six months. Our survey reflects how attitudes are changing in the profession.”

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association recommends cats can be neutered from 16 weeks.

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