De-sexing your Pet

De-sexing your Pet

Cats and dogs are able to start their reproductive lives at a very young age and throughout their lifetime can potentially deliver many litters of kittens or puppies.

It only takes 2% of our domestic (non-de-sexed) cat population to replenish the entire cat population (the remaining 98%) over a period of one year.  Or to view it another way, just one female cat can produce through its offspring 1,048,756 cats in one year.

Pet owners must decide whether to de-sex their pet or whether they prefer to leave it intact.

Many pet owners who don't want their pet to breed have it permanently sterilised.  In doing this, the owner no longer needs to take precautionary steps to prevent their pet from mating.

There are many good reasons to have your cat or dog de-sexed.  Importantly, pet owners who choose not to de-sex their pet must, as a consequence, fulfil extra obligations to ensure their pet does not have unwanted litters or impregnate other pets.

You can keep your pet intact and still be a responsible pet owner but it does require extra effort and commitment on your part.

The Benefits of De-sexing

Not only does de-sexing help reduce the problem of unwanted puppies and kittens; it can also result, in varying degrees, in positive behavioural advantages.  A de-sexed pet may:

  • be less prone to wander
  • be less likely to mark its territory by 'spraying' in the house
  • be less likely to develop aggressive tendencies, which is desirable unless your dog is a guard or security dog
  • no longer be sexually frustrated by not being able to reach another pet on heat

Other Advantages of De-sexing

  • de-sexed animals are far less inclined to go in search of a mate - if your pet goes wandering from your property (it should of course be confined at all times), it could get lost or injured
  • it eliminates the need to house female pets to protect them from keen males that are attracted by her scent if she is on heat
  • Council offers reduced registration fees if your cat or dog is de-sexed
  • by reducing the population of stray or unwanted cats, we in turn reduce the damage these strays can do to our native flora and fauna
  • you will not have the problem of having to find homes for unwanted or unexpected litters of puppies or kittens

What is involved in De-sexing?

Pets of any age can be de-sexed, even as young as eight (8) weeks.The operation is undertaken by a vet and is a very straightforward procedure, causing minimal discomfort to your pet.  Most pets are fully recovered within twenty-four hours.  Discuss with your vet any questions about what's involved and how to care for your pet after the operation.

Some Common Myths 

  • A de-sexed pet will become fat. 
  • De-sexing your pet does not make it fat or lazy - only lack of exercise and too much food will do this.
  • Pets lose their personality after de-sexing.  Your pet will retain his or her own, very individual personality after the operation.  The only 'character' change resulting from de-sexing may be that your pet calms down a little.
  • The operation is painful.  Pets will experience some tenderness in the affected area immediately after the operation.  Your vet can advise you on caring for your pet after de-sexing.  Most cats and dogs bounce back very quickly.
  • Females should have one litter first.There is no benefit in letting your pet have a litter before it is spayed - it is actually better for her not to have a litter or a period of being on heat before being spayed.

Think carefully before letting your female pet have a litter, as you are responsible for keeping the offspring until you find good owners for them.  Puppies and kittens must not be dumped or left to fend for themselves.  Dumping puppies and kittens carries a penalty of up to $1,000.  Apart from being inhumane, these animals could add to the stray and feral cat or dog populations.  A more responsible course of action, if you are unable to find a caring home for unwanted pets, is to have them put to sleep by a trained vet.

For more information please contact Council's Customer Service on (03) 5722 0888 or email

Last Updated: 17-08-2011

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