UK: Compulsory Cat and Dog Neutering?

Poster by Ruth aka Kattaddorra

Poster by Ruth aka Kattaddorra

The compulsory neutering focus group is a fairly new UK group on Facebook and I was invited to join. They say:

‘We are getting together to petition the government for compulsory neutering for pet cats and dogs, compulsory microchipping for pet cats and dogs and compulsory breeding licences for breeders of cats and dogs’.

(For our friends abroad who use the terms spay/neuter, here in the UK the term neutering covers both sexes, spaying a female or castrating a male).
There are quite a number of Rescue Shelters involved in the group as well as people like me who care about the welfare of all animals.

This may be a good idea but I really can’t see the government passing a new law, animals come very low in priority on the present government’s agenda.

But there are situations where it would be very good news if there was such a law. If people have queens on heat they attract un-neutered tom cats from far and wide.

Cats can be a nuisance to a neighbourhood, even cat lovers must feel worried by the toms yowling their courting and fighting songs in the night. The cats mating instinct is very strong, it’s not their fault.

To people who don’t particularly like cats, it must be very irritating and this gets all cats a bad name.

Cats Protection would pay for people on low income to have their cats neutered but at present they can’t force people to accept their help. Do you think neutering should be compulsory? It would certainly solve the problem of so many unwanted kittens being born, but how could it be enforced?


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Comments

UK: Compulsory Cat and Dog Neutering? — 18 Comments

  1. I may have an opinion which is not in line with a lot of other cat owners but I see an advantage in slightly more controls over cat ownership. I know people hate the idea of regulations and governmental controls and at the moment there are absolutely none in respect of owning a cat.

    I would certainly support the idea of obligatory neutering of the domestic cat in the UK. I would tend to go further actually. It may sound a bit extreme but I would like to see registration of the domestic cat. That would not be a problem to good cat caretakers. I think it would help by raising standards and keeping a database so we could track lost cats etc and indirectly track whether a cat owner is being irresponsible not.

    You could also argue the case for obligatory micro-chipping which is what the Facebook group is asking for. I would tend to agree with that as well although it does not suit a lot of cats to be micro-chipped because they are indoor cats or elderly cats. We know that micro-chipping is not completely risk-free and therefore to make it obligatory to microchip every cat is possibly the wrong thing to do.

    The bottom line for me is that there is a need for a tightening up of cat ownership anywhere in the world and that’s going to mean some sort of regulation from local and national government. I believe that will come about sometime in the future.

    Thanks for the article, Ruth.

  2. Hi Ruth,

    A really well thought out blog! Love the graphics also!

    Here in our county in Florida are required to vaccinate for Rabies annualy. While I am not thrilled with this mandate concerning Rabies, the county gives a discount for neutering and spaying once the cat is vaccinated and the tags are registered. Then the pet guardian is given a voucher for a discount for the surgery.

    Many folks take advantage of the discount, since the discount really helps. But as far as enforcement is concerned that is tricky.Our animal control office is way overworked, with too little staff and are extremely busy taking care of complaints, etc. So that part of it is difficult. While there is a law that all pets be spayed or neutered in our county, (with the exception of registered, legitimate breeders), and every once in awhile we get notices about this law, it is extremely difficult to ensure that the law is being enforced.

    If people could truly be educated about the importance of the surgeries, not only to reduce the population of unwanted kittens and puppies, and to save these innocent animals from being euthanized, but to ensure the better health of their pets, perhaps that might have an impact.

  3. Michael,

    I had to chime in here about microchipping. I think that microchipping – even for indoor only kitties is important. Cats escape- run away, get lost. I can’t begin to tell you how many pets were reunited with their guardians after many years when the pet is picked up by animal control, go to shelters that give a damn, and check to see if the pet is microchipped.

    There are two problems however with microchipping however, at least here in the USA. One is that so far all microchipping companies are not manufacturing chips that can be read for all of these items. If the chip isn’t in a data base that a shelter uses, etc., then the animal’s guardians cannot be found. Some folks forget to update their contact information, so cannot be easily reached.

    The other issue is now there are some people who are worried about microchipping causing cancers to form around the chip, much like a vaccine associated sarcoma. While the research I have done still leaves this issue up in the air- although microchipping manufacturers completely claim that the chips are totally safe– there is a bit of controversy going on.

    My vet spays, neuters, vaccinates and microchips all the animals that she has up for adoption- and it is included in a minimal adoption fee- which really helps people to be able to afford the adoption- many more pets find permanent loving homes this way.

    • I agree with you (as usual)! I think we have to agree that micro-chipping is a good thing even with the risk and even for indoor cats. But also the point you make about consistency across the board regarding reading microchips and a full nationwide database, is a problem. There is a need for nationwide consistency and coordination in order to make it really effective and perhaps at the same time to eliminate the health risk if possible.

      The problem that I have with micro-chipping is that we are inserting an inanimate object into a cat just below the skin and although there are fantastic benefits to that, it is, ultimately, unnatural and a living organism probably won’t like it or there will be some issues with it.

  4. Thanks for the comments. I think micro chipping is very important, as Jo says even for indoor cats as they can escape. Collars are unreliable and can be dangerous to the cat.
    Walter and Jozef were both micro chipped as kittens, they have the chips which show the cat’s temperature too, so they have never had to have the indignity and discomfort of a thermometer inserted under their tails.
    Yes there is a risk as there is with all things which invade the body and I hate it that we have to do these things to them but it’s for their own good, as is neutering too.

    • Ruth, I have to confess that Charlie is not micro-chipped and neither was my Binnie. I think this is because I keep such a tight control over them and supervise them all the time and I am with them all the time so there is almost zero opportunity for them to go wandering and get lost. Under different circumstances I would certainly have Charlie microchipped.

      • Our Ebony wasn’t micro chipped either Michael, when she came along in 1990 it wasn’t deemed as important and like your Binnie and Charlie she didn’t go far from home.
        I think it’s like everything else to do with cat welfare, we all have to do what we think is right for each individual cat.
        Yes micro chipping is important but I don’t think it should be compulsory because it doesn’t affect other cats like not neutering them does, not being micro chipped doesn’t cause fighting Toms and litters of unwanted kittens being born.

        • I think you make a good point in that every cat is an individual and therefore every situation is different which makes a blanket compulsory micro-chipping unsuitable.

          • The problem is that many people tend to look at cats as ‘cats’ not as each and every individual cat 🙁

  5. well i agree that dogs or cats need compulsory getting fixed. not sure on mico chipped just cause is very expensive. Though are looking at getting it done for jasmin. I think its a responsible thing to do to make sure your animal is properly looked after i.e vaccinations, flea and worming treatment. It does get expensive esp if u have more than one or two cats. Ive had to wait till vet bill is down as was over 400 with cassy. So its getting abit down now thankfully. So will be able to get jasmin looked at soon. i do agree each caretaker needs to take special care of their animals i know alot cant really be bothered and tahts why kittens are always available.

  6. I guess I am the only one that is against mandatory spay/neuter laws. Anyone else against it?

  7. Cats (and dogs) should be licenced in my opinion so that there is a database of everyone who has a cat or cats in their care, in an ideal world everyone would then be required to produce proof of neutering their animal or have to pay a higher licence fee to be allowed to breed the animals. Sounds harsh? Well so is life for animals that are neglected and allowed to breed/interbreed indiscriminately with multiple toms with God knows what illnesses or diseases, if people weren’t so ignorant and uncaring we wouldn’t be shouting about mandatory neutering but as we’ve witnesses so many times in our lives people ARE ignorant and stupid and irresponsible and unbelievably they actually need laws to make them do the right thing by their animals.

    • You are right Barbara, as always it’s people causing the problem and animals paying the price.
      Maybe it should be mandatory for idiot humans to be neutered.

  8. I am making this brief and hope it makes sense. I am fixing to go to sleep because I am working graveyards and it is nearly noon here. I will be back on here tonight.

    Studies have shown that mandatory and punitive spay neuter laws are ineffective. It is usually the lower income people that are not neutering their pets. I don’t remember the exact figures, but it was about 80% of the people that made $35,000 yr. and up have their pets fixed. The biggest issue is economics and all the city is going to do is issue more citations, pick up more animals which may make the kill rate higher.

    Instead of shelter staff focusing on s/n I would rather see them use their resources on off site adoption events, TNR programs for ferals, no/low cost and high volume clinics. In Houston, Tx there is a serious stray/homeless problem. For example, we look like a third world country on the east side of town which is one of the poorest parts of town. Once again, I think it is economics that is driving part of the problem. So many of the poor are elated to get their pets fixed when we can get it done for no cost. If we penalize these people, there are going to be more pets abandoned on the streets. They won’t even be able to turn them into a shelter, because they will not be in compliance.

    Backyard breeders will continue to fly under the radar, just like they do now. I don’t even see the law having an effect on them.

    In a nutshell, I view it as the city penalizing the poor and have not see any studies where mandatory s/n made a difference in the kill rates at a shelter, such as TNR does.

    Does this make sense? Have a great day.

  9. I am making this brief and hope it makes sense. I am fixing to go to sleep because I am working graveyards and it is nearly noon here. I will be back on here tonight.

    Studies have shown that mandatory and punitive spay neuter laws are ineffective. It is usually the lower income people that are not neutering their pets. I don’t remember the exact figures, but it was about 80% of the people that made $35,000 yr. and up have their pets fixed. The biggest issue is economics and all the city is going to do is issue more citations, pick up more animals which may make the kill rate higher.

    Instead of shelter staff focusing on s/n I would rather see them use their resources on off site adoption events, TNR programs for ferals, no/low cost and high volume clinics. In Houston, Tx there is a serious stray/homeless problem. For example, we look like a third world country on the east side of town which is one of the poorest parts of town. Once again, I think it is economics that is driving part of the problem. So many of the poor are elated to get their pets fixed when we can get it done for no cost. If we penalize these people, there are going to be more pets abandoned on the streets. They won’t even be able to turn them into a shelter, because they will not be in compliance.

    Backyard breeders will continue to fly under the radar, just like they do now. I don’t even see the law having an effect on them.

    In a nutshell, I view it as the city penalizing the poor and have not see any studies where mandatory s/n made a difference in the kill rates at a shelter, such as TNR does.

    It has been at least 4 or 5 years since I have read up on this. If anyone knows of any recent studies that show it is helping to lower kill rates I would love to read it. Please send me the link or where I need to check it out. Have a great day.

  10. I would like to read any updated articles on mandatory spay neuter. It has been a few years since I have read anything on MSN.
    Any of the successful No Kill shelters in the U.S have not had MSN laws. They have provided low cost or no cost s/n. They set up a TNR program for the ferals. They get foster programs going, hold adoption events off site from the shelter, get a good volunteer base and work with local rescues.
    I think with a punitive law that more of the lower income people are going to give up their pets which clogs up the shelters even more. Just my .02.

    Hopefully someone on here has more up to date findings than I do.

  11. Good on you Cindy, but that just wouldn’t be possible here 🙁