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Neutering and aftercare for cats

Provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc.

Deciding whether or not to neuter your cat is one of the most important decisions you can make as a cat owner.

While a bundle of kittens under the kitchen sink may be every child’s dream, it’s not a straightforward decision. There’s the cost of looking after a pregnant cat and her kittens as well as medical implications and risks to be aware of.

This guide will explain why you may decide to have your new kitten neutered, the cost of cat neutering and everything you need to know about their recovery.

What is cat neutering?

Cat neutering is a common procedure that stops cats getting pregnant or impregnating other cats. It’s an operation to remove a male cat’s testicles or female cat’s ovaries. This prevents a female cat getting pregnant or male cats getting a female cat pregnant.

Neutering is the general term for the operation in all cats. For males it’s called castration, and for females it’s called spaying.

Reasons for getting a cat neutered

Neutering is a safe, painless way of controlling the cat population, making sure every cat has a safe and happy home. Cat neutering can also provide a whole host of health benefits.

Female cat neutering

Here are some of the reasons why you may consider neutering female kittens:

  • Prevents unwanted pregnancies
  • Reduces the risk of womb infections
  • Helps the cat to stay healthy as having lots of kittens can cause the mums to fall more vulnerable to disease
  • Reduces the risk of certain tumours and cancers – mammary cancer is over 90% less likely to develop if the female is spayed before she is six months old
  • Prevents unwanted behaviours from a cat in heat, like spraying, calling and trying to escape to find a mating partner

Male cat neutering

You may decide to go down the cat castration route as it can:

•    Reduce the risk of your cat roaming to find a mate
•    Reduce the risk of fights with other  males
•    Prevent them from contracting and spreading infectious diseases like feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukaemia
•    Prevent testicular cancer
•    Weaken the smell of their urine

When is the best time to neuter a cat?

While cats can be neutered at any time in their life, it’s recommended to do so when the kitten is four months old. This is because female cats can start having kittens from around this age – so neutering a cat early on can prevent any unwanted litters. Spaying your female cat before they’re six months old also can reduce their risk of contracting mammary cancer, according to the PDSA.

What does cat neutering involve?


Neutering a cat is a fairly quick operation – the vet will likely ask you to drop your cat off in the morning and collect them later the same day. 

Your cat will be under a general anaesthetic and your vet will advise you on the risks. You’ll need to complete your vet’s instructions for pre-operative care. This includes making sure that they don’t eat six to eight hours before the operation to make sure their stomach is empty. 

It’s usually fine to give them dinner the night before, but no treats after that or breakfast the next morning. Make sure they’re kept inside overnight – so they don’t get any extra food from elsewhere. You’ll also need to remove their water bowl the morning of the surgery, but your vet will advise on what’s best.


Your vet will give your cat a last look over before the operation and ask some more questions about their health. Your cat will be given a sedative and pain relief, and the surgery site will be clipped, cleaned, and prepared for the operation.

In males, a small cut is made in each scrotum of each testicle, and they are tied off and removed. If your male is cryptorchid, meaning that one or both testicles aren’t in the scrotum, the procedure will take longer, as the vet will need to find them. 

In females, a small cut is made in the abdomen and the ovaries and womb are carefully tied off and removed. The abdomen is stitched back up in layers. Spaying is usually done via the side of the cat, or the flank, but sometimes can be done midline, like male castration. Your cat may be sent home with some pain relief medication.

Your vet may recommend microchipping if your cat is not already chipped by the time they are neutered.  

How long will it take for my cat to recover?

After the surgery, your neutered cat will be carefully observed until they’re good to go home. In most cases, cats will be able to return home after just a few hours. Your cat will be given a bodysuit or a cone to wear to stop them from grooming their incision.

It’s normal for your cat to be a little wobbly, tired, or even excitable when they come home after being under anaesthetic. Keep a close eye on them and give them a little more TLC until they’re back to themselves.

Your neutered cat’s wound should completely heal in around 10 days. They’ll need to be taken for check-up appointments to make sure the vet is happy with their healing.

Neutered cat aftercare

It’s important to continue your cat’s care after you take them home to speed up their healing process. Try to:

•    Create a safe, quiet spot for them to recover
•    Make sure they continue to wear the collar or bodysuit as long as the vet suggests
•    Keep them as calm as you can so their wound can heal
•    Check the incision every day for redness, discharge or swelling and call the vet if you have any concerns
•    Keep them indoors as long as your vet advises
•    Make sure you give them the recommended medication

What is the cost of cat neutering?

The cost of cat neutering will vary depending on where you are in the country as well as which vet practice you choose. On average, it may cost between £40 and £80 to castrate a male cat and the female cat spaying cost in the UK is between £50 to £100. For an accurate price range, contact your vets or look at their website.

It’s important to remember that in most cases, the cost of neutering is more affordable than being responsible for a pet’s pregnancy and caring for their kittens and any associated medical bills.

Can pet insurance help with cat neutering costs?

Most pet insurance providers will not cover neutering costs, or any complications that arise, as these are considered a routine or preventative treatment. However, there are some circumstances where neutering can play an important part in an insurance policy.

For example, Sainsbury’s Bank cat insurance will help with the cost of vet recommended behavioural therapy – unless this could have been avoided by neutering your pet. Take a look at our neutering guide for more information.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to neuter a cat in the UK?

The cost of cat neutering depends on the location and the specific vet surgery, so you’ll need to contact your practice for accurate pricing. On average, the cat spaying cost in the UK is between £50 and £100, and the castration cost is between £40 and £80.

Is neutering a cat an easy surgery?

As with any surgery, there are risks, but this risk is minimal if you follow your vet’s recommendations on pre-operative and post-operative care. Any time an animal is put under anaesthetic there is a chance of complications, which your vet will explain, but neutering a cat is very common in the UK.

How do I prepare my cat for neutering?

To best prepare your cat for neutering you should follow all of the pre-operative steps outlined by your vet. These may include keeping them in overnight and stopping their food and drink intake a certain number of hours before the surgery.

What is the best age to neuter a male kitten?

According to the Blue Cross, it’s recommended that cat castration should happen when the kitten is around four months old to avoid unwanted pregnancies. This is because cats can be sexually mature from five months.