For those wishing to review the scientific data concerning the safety of Early Spay and Neutering (ESN) in kittens under 16 weeks of age, please refer to the following articles:
Langford Vets: Neutering Pet Cats at four months of age (or Less)
Cornell University: “Should I consider a paediatric spay or neuter?”
Winn Foundation report for the CFA on Early Spay/Neuter in the Cat
The Cat Group’s policy statement on “Timing of Neutering”
Early spaying and neutering (ESN) is often brought up by our parents, who come across adverts for un-neutered kittens, mentioning the perils of early neutering. We have discussed this matter with quite a few vets, and the most often-cited reason by vets for not neutering before 4 months of age, is that the vet is not confident in their ability to perform surgery on such small reproductive organs. They may not have been trained in the specific protocols for castrating kittens under 16 weeks old, and I am always grateful when a vet chooses the safety of their patients over performing an operation that they are not confident with.
Much is said about “Adopt don’t Shop”, and whilst we adore moggies, we are also only too aware of people breeding them in their homes and the appalling conditions in which they can be kept. It is important to support the many shelters and adoption centres, so that they can continue to provide the help and vet care needed by the many waifs and strays that they re-home. We have also heard the many accusations levelled at breeders “contributing to the over-population problem” by breeding kittens for whom they can not find homes.
At Wychwood, we take full responsibility for every single kitten that is born into our waiting hands. This means that we not only care for them with love, a clean and safe environment and quality food which helps them to grow strong and fit, but we have also taken great care to find a surgical team who regularly take part in ESN campaigns with feral populations, so that their skills are honed from many hours of practice. Our outstanding vet is passionate about surgery, and sets herself new benchmarks in excellence with every one of our kittens. Her internal sutures for spays are works of art in miniature and her patients recover in record time. It is difficult to praise this exceptionally competent surgical team (Vet and Head Nurse) enough, to do justice to their talent and dedication. Our vet’s care for her patients extends to them long after they leave us, and we have brought Wychwoods back to our vet for second opinions and veterinary care when their owners require a team who understands the background and upbringing of their pet, as well as the special relationship that they share with their pets and us.
-Would our families adopt from shelters if Wychwood did not exist?
-Our families choose to adopt from us for many different reasons, and establishing their relationship with a well-adjusted, healthy kitten or adult who has an affectionate temperament is usually a high priority, as is the support that we offer our first-time families. Often, they have spent many years loving a rescue who was a bit too ‘temperamental’ or they have unexpectedly lost a younger cat to an underlying disease and are keen to ensure a longer relationship in the future. We ensure that our adults and kittens are regularly seen by vets, and we unfailingly treat them at the first sign of symptoms. We test our cats regularly and are glad to say that we do not have any of the usual illnesses found in over-crowded catteries or shelters. A visit to our home is usually enough for a responsible owner to choose a Wychwood, who will provide them with years of companionship and will not need extensive vet care for cat flu or other “cattery” illnesses.
-Another factor for adopting from us is that a family might have children under the age of six years old. Shelters will not place cats or kittens in homes with children under this age, to protect the kittens and cats from stress. However, because we meet our families in our home and can assess the children’s behaviour and relationship with their parents before adoption, we are confident that our Wychwood babies have always been loved and cared for by their big human siblings.
We do everything we can to ensure that our babies are adopted by families who are informed about the long-term responsibility of pet ownership, and should they have to re-home their treasure, we have pledged ourselves to helping them, rather than adding to the burden of shelters and overpopulation. We are glad to say that we have never placed any of our kittens into a shelter, or burdened a rescue organisation with any of our cats, and that not one single Wychwood kitten or cat has ever been used in any non-registered breeding programme. We committed ourselves to Early Spay and Neuter right at the beginning of our breeding programme, and have never skipped a beat in assuring ourselves that we are not adding to the over-population problem. There are many flourishing, non-registered producers of non-pedigree Russian Blues, but they do not have Wychwood cats behind their business.
© Wychwood Russian Blue Cats 2017