Our mission: To protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

 December 1, 2014

Animal lovers take note: One of the best gifts you can give to animals this holiday season is a spay or neuter surgery.

New research from the BC SPCA shows that this is especially important for cats.

After analyzing data from over 1,000 female cats in British Columbia, the BC SPCA found that the number of pregnant cats increased by 20% between December and January, with an overall spike in pregnancies between January and April.

This spike corresponds with seasonal increases in kitten intake at BC SPCA facilities across the province. The gestation period for kittens is 65 days, or just over two months, and there is a sharp rise in the intake of homeless kittens at BC SPCA shelters each spring and summer.

“Kittens can have kittens,” says Amy Morris, BC SPCA policy and outreach officer. “When we look at the spike in pregnancies it tells us that cats in B.C. go into their first heat cycle (the time when a cat is fertile and able to conceive) in December. Kittens born during the first heat cycle of the year are becoming pregnant at ages as young as five months.”

A secondary spike is seen between June and August, which corresponds with other scientific evidence that suggests cats have two heat cycles in a year.

This pattern is what keeps the BC SPCA inundated with unwanted, homeless kittens year after year.

Taking the time to ensure your cat is sterilized can go a long way toward preventing the kind of suffering too often seen with unwanted litters of kittens.

“Unwanted kittens who find their way to a BC SPCA shelter are the lucky ones. They receive high-quality care and are adopted into loving new homes,” Morris says. “Huge numbers of homeless kittens in B.C. meet a much different fate, with 75% of kittens born outdoors dying before they reach six months of age due to starvation, exposure, predators and being hit by cars. This is why we place so much emphasis on spay and neuter surgeries – it’s an easy, simple thing people can do to prevent the unnecessary suffering of animals.”

Spay and neuter should be at the top of your list of things to do when you welcome a new cat into your family. If you adopted from the BC SPCA, rest assured that your pet has already received this important surgery – 100% of the cats, dogs and rabbits adopted from BC SPCA facilities are spayed or neutered. However, for anyone who found a kitten through friends, family, a breeder or pet store, the responsibility lies with the pet guardian to take this life-saving step.

Give the gift of kindness this holiday season. Spay and neuter now!

Additional resources

Make a difference in your community! The BC SPCA has small grants available for spay and neuter projects.

Learn more about what the BC SPCA is doing to end the cycle of suffering at

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

Don’t have email? Don’t worry! Call us at 1-800-665-1868


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