Kitten Season: The Importance of Desexing Your Cat Posted on November 2, 2023 an RSPCA NSW staff member pictured with a kitten at our Sydney Adoption Centre. With the days getting longer and the weather warming up, cats are set to begin their breeding season. In New South Wales, this often starts around August and continues through the spring and summer months. We are anticipating a drier summer as the year comes to an end, meaning that the upcoming kitten season may be longer than ever before. Read on to find out four reasons why it is so important to desex your cat and ways you can help this kitten season. Cats Can Give Birth Multiple Times in Kitten Season A female cat (aka Queens) can go back into heat before her first litter is weaned, and as a result, many cats can reproduce multiple times in one kitten season. The average cat will have two to three litters during a single kitten season, resulting in up to 15 kittens in the spring and summer months. And when those kittens later mature, they only add to the problem; a cat and her grown-up kittens can have up to 225 cats in two years! Queens Can Start Coming into Season around Five Months! A female cat can start to breed from as young as 4 months old, and is able to produce up to two full litters in a single kitten season. That can quickly add up to a lot of newborn cats; without supervision, a pair of cats could grow to a family of 50 cats! And if all those cats continued to breed then, after only six unmonitored years, you’d be looking at a potential population of over 30,000 cats! You might hear about ‘heat cycles’ in cats, referring to when your cat is ready to mate. Cats are seasonally polyoestrous, which means they have multiple heat cycles during the breeding season. The increasing day length at the end of winter triggers female cats to start cycling. Each heat generally lasts around 7 days, then if the queen is not mated, she will come back into heat again after another 2-19 days. This cycle will continue until the days start getting shorter again in autumn. Cats in heat can be a handful! You will notice a big change in their behaviour; they become very demanding of attention, and very vocal. They might also spray urine inside the house and will be very determined to get outdoors and roam away from home. A queen in heat will also attract Tomcats (intact male cats) from all over the area, who can also be very vocal, spray urine, and be aggressive to local cats. That’s why at RSPCA NSW, we encourage all feline lovers to have their kittens desexed before they turn four months old. Click HERE for more information on why you should desex your cats early. The Importance of Desexing and Keeping Cats Safe at Home Desexing is not only vital to prevent unwanted pregnancies but also our keeps beloved felines safe from various health conditions. Research shows that desexed animals often live longer than their kitten-bearing counterparts, are less likely to get certain illnesses like uterine infections and mammary gland cancer. They also experience a reduction in behaviours that animal guardians can find difficult to manage, including roaming, bouts of aggression, and marking territory with urine. Moreover, there are numerous beneficial outcomes to keeping your feline friend at home. Cats kept indoors are less likely to become lost or injured (like being hit by a car or attacked by another animal), less likely to get into cat fights, and less likely to catch diseases like FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus). Keeping your cat at home also increases the time you get to spend with them and reduces their impact on wildlife. Importance of Microchipping and Vaccinating Your Cat Having your pet both microchipped and vaccinated is also important part when becoming a pet owner as it will ensure your furry friend can stay as healthy and happy as possible. Microchipping will mean your pet can always find their way back home, while vaccinations provide them with protection against common and dangerous diseases. Ways You Can Help This Kitten Season Desex Your Cat Ensuring your cat is desexed from 4mnths old and urging those around you to desex their cat as soon as their kitten is able to reproduce. Foster a Kitten To foster a kitten until it’s old enough to be adopted from our shelter, click HERE. Adopt a Kitten To adopt a kitten of your very own to love and care for, click HERE. Donation to Help Animals in Need. To donate to help the animals in our care, click HERE.