Not sure what neutering, vaccination or micro-chipping is all about? Check out our frequently asked questions below. Still not what you're looking for? Then ask us a question.

Neutering is also known as castration or spaying. It is a safe and common operation performed by a vet that stops cats from breeding.

What are the benefits of neutering?

  • Cats can breed from just four months of age if they are not neutered.
  • They will mate with even their close relatives.
  • Within just five years, one female and her offspring can produce over 500 kittens.
  • A neutered cat will fight less and have fewer injuries.
  • Many cat diseases are passed during mating and neutered cats are at lower risk.
  • Neutered cats also have lower rates of some cancers and tumours.
  • They will wander less so won't be as likely to get lost or run over.
  • No more annoying wailing when your female cat is in heat.
  • Neutered males are less likely to spray smelly urine in your house and garden.
  • Neutering is the only way to help prevent your outdoor cat from catching feline aids as there is no vaccine for this.

Why does this help Scottish wildcats?

The wildcats left in Scotland are surrounded by domestic cats. If wildcats mate with these other cats, they have hybrid kittens. This dilutes wildcat genes.

How much does it cost?

The cost will depend on whether your cat is male or female but generally you can expect to pay between £50 and £90. There is financial help available from cat welfare charities and, if you live in a wildcat priority area (Morvern, Strathpeffer, Strathbogie, Strathavon, Northern Strathspey or the Angus Glens), you may be able to receive a free neutering voucher from Scottish Wildcat Action. Contact your local wildcat project officer to find out more.

What's the next step?

Contact your local vet to find out more about neutering.

Vaccines are injections or drops given to your cat to help their bodies develop natural protection against certain diseases. When you take your cat to be vaccinated, the vet may give your cat a wormer and a health check too.

What are the benefits

  • Your cat is stronger because its immune system is prepared to prevent infection or reduce the severity of the illness.
  • This could save you money on expensive vet bills.
  • Your cat generally lives a longer, healthier and happier life.
  • If you go on holiday, catteries will require your cat to have up-to-date vaccinations.
  • Your cat is safer from other neighbourhood cats that may be carrying disease. It is estimated that only a third of cats are vaccinated in the UK.

What vaccines does my cat need?

Feline infectious enteritis (FIE) - A severe and often fatal gut infection. Unvaccinated cats are at great risk because the virus is widespread in the environment.

Feline herpes virus/calicivirus (cat flu) – Highly contagious and causes respiratory problems. Vaccination will protect your cat against prolonged illness.

Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) - A lifelong infection that usually results in death within three years. It is passed on via direct contact between cats (saliva or bites). Usually only recommended for at risk cats. Your vet will be able to advise whether you need this.

Feline chlamydophilosis - Causes conjunctivitis and is spread by direct contact between cats so is most appropriate in multi-cat households. Your vet will be able to advise whether you need this.

When should I vaccinate my cat?

Kittens should receive their first vaccinations at around 9 weeks of age, followed by a second injection at 12 weeks.

After that, a booster after one year and then at regular intervals will make sure your cat is protected from cat flu, feline infectious enteritis and (where relevant) feline leukaemia. These intervals are usually every 1 - 3 years depending on your vet's advice.

Why does this help Scottish wildcats?

When wildcats come into contact with domestic cats, they can catch disease from them. This often weakens them, making them less able to hunt and defend themselves. Some diseases like feline leukaemia are also fatal and can kill them.

How much does it cost?

The cost will depend on what vaccines your vet advises. Usually a kitten's first course of injections including a health check is £50-60 and a booster with health check is £40-£50. A wormer is normally included.

There is financial help available from cat welfare charities and, if you live in a wildcat priority area (Morvern, Strathpeffer, Strathbogie, Strathavon, Northern Strathspey or the Angus Glens), you may be able to receive a free vaccination voucher from Scottish Wildcat Action. Contact your local wildcat project officer to find out more.

What's the next step?

Contact your local vet about vaccinating.

A micro-chip is also known as a PIT tag and is placed under the skin of your cat. It links to a database with your address and contact details to help animal shelters and vets reunite lost cats with their owner.

What are the benefits of micro-chipping?

  • It is a very quick procedure that does not require anaesthetic.
  • The micro-chip lasts the lifetime of your cat and is very cheap.
  • Lost cats are routinely scanned for micro-chips and there is a much greater chance of being reunited with your cat if it wanders.
  • Your cat is quickly identified and released from a cage trap if caught by mistake as part of a feral cat neutering programme, like our Trap Neuter Vaccinate Return.
  • If your cat is killed on the road, the body can be identified and you can be contacted.

How much does it cost?

Inserting a micro-chip usually costs £15 - £25.

There is financial help available from cat welfare charities and look out for special micro-chipping offers at your local vet. Contact your local project officer to find out more.

What's the next step?

Contact your local vet about micro-chipping.

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