Juvenile castration in cats: The current situation in the Netherlands
MetadataShow full item record
Cat overpopulation remains a problem in the Netherlands. Juvenile castration (6-16 weeks of age) can help facilitate adopting out young kittens which are unable to reproduce. As a result, problems with owner compliance are avoided and a shorter holding period for kittens in shelters can be achieved. While widely applied in the United States of America (USA), Dutch veterinarians seem reluctant to perform this procedure in kittens. A survey was sent to Dutch veterinarians, specialised in the field of companion animals, which showed that 21% of Dutch veterinarians perform juvenile castration and that this procedure constitutes 9.0% of the total number of castrations. Similar to other western countries, the majority of veterinarians (89%) recommends their clients to castrate cats at the ‘traditional age’ of 6-9 months of age [1-8]. Little scientific data supports this advice . In addition to ethical objections, main concerns among veterinarians regarding juvenile castration are related to anaesthesia and long-term complications. However, research shows that short-term complications are similar to those in adult cats when appropriate care is taken regarding anaesthetic and surgical procedures. Many possible long term complications are either rejected or remain unproven. In the Dutch veterinary practice improvements concerning the procedure of juvenile castration can be executed especially regarding monitoring (i.e. temperature), recovery (feeding) and post operative pain management. Many veterinarians do not see juvenile castration as the right intervention to solve and prevent further overpopulation. However, there is a platform for awareness and advancement in this area since the majority of veterinarians believe there is currently overpopulation of cats and veterinarians should play a role in solving this problem. Practically applicable strategies can be created for long-term solutions regarding the current cat overpopulation. This may be achieved by creating a discussion among veterinarians, shelter personnel, researchers and the professional society for veterinary medicine.