Why we keep telling you to desex your pets

Desexing: Why it's important for your pets

At RSPCA NSW, we’re constantly urging community members to desex their pets. It’s our job to advocate for the health, safety and protection of all animals, after all—and we have it on good authority that desexing our companions is a really great way to tick all three boxes. 

This National Desexing Month, we want to take the opportunity to remind you (once again!) why desexing is one of the best things you can do—for your pets, for you and for the wider community.  

What is desexing?  

Desexing is a surgical procedure performed by a veterinarian to remove an animal’s reproductive organs and prevent them from breeding. In females, the operation is called ‘spey’ and for males, it’s called ‘castration’, but the procedure is often referred to by many names including ‘neuter’ and ‘sterilisation’.  

The benefits to your pet 

A desexed cat or dog is generally a healthier and happier pet. They will commonly avoid a lot of health problems associated with breeding, such as mammary and ovarian cancers, as well as uterine infections.  

Desexed animals are also less prone to roaming, which means they’re less likely to get hit by a car or get in street fights.  

Take the story of Evie, a poor cat who was living on the streets before she was devastatingly hit by a car. Evie suffered from severe head trauma, a fractured jaw and detached retinas. The injuries were so bad that she was placed on a feeding tube, and her recovery took months and months of veterinary treatment and foster care.   

Thankfully, Evie recovered and eventually found a loving home. But her story illustrates the very real danger faced by animals who roam.  

The benefits to you 

As an owner, having your pet desexed makes your life easier too! They typically won’t display all the behaviours that animals ‘on heat’ can display, such as humping, scent marking, excessive howling and discharge. They display less aggression too, which may result in less fights with other animals—including your other pets.  

And, because desexed animals are less prone to roam, they’ll spend more time by your side. What a bonus! 

The benefits to our wider community 

Did you know? An undesexed kitten can fall pregnant as young as four months old, leading to the birth of 20,000 kittens within two years!   

Desexing is crucial to managing the overpopulation of cats and dogs on our streets. The more roaming undesexed pets, the more opportunity for excessive breeding, which causes an overpopulation of cats and dogs on our streets. Not only is this a concern for the welfare and safety of these animals, but a concern for our local wildlife too.  

Let’s get to it! 

So, now that we’ve convinced you to get your pet desexed, what now?  

To get started, contact your local veterinarian or RSPCA veterinary hospital and make an appointment for desexing. Prices for this procedure vary depending on sex, weight and species, among other variables.  

If cost is a barrier, there are a number of ongoing initiatives to look into. RSPCA veterinary hospitals offer a 10% discount for Seniors Card holders. You can also check the National Desexing Network website to apply for low-cost desexing.   

Thank you for making an important and considerate choice for your pet and the wider community.  

Every animal up for adoption at an RSPCA NSW shelter, Care Centre or volunteer branch is desexed before they go on to a new home. Have a look for your new best friend here 

For more information on desexing your pets, check out the following resources on the RSPCA Knowledgebase: