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What is desexing?

There are many different words to describe this procedure (desexing, spaying, neutering, altering, castration, sterilisation etc.), but they all refer to the surgical removal of the animals’ reproductive system to prevent breeding (having babies).

Should I desex my pet?

Yes! Both male and female cats, dogs and rabbits can, and should, be desexed.

Other companion animals can also be desexed. Please speak to your vet clinic for more advice.

Desexing has many health and behaviour benefits for your animal. We also know desexing and microchipping is one of the key things we can all do to make a real difference for animal welfare in New Zealand and reduce the large number of unwanted litters and lost animals we see.

At what age should my animal be desexed?

SPCA recommends pre-pubertal desexing - that is desexing before the animal reaches puberty and is able to reproduce. We recommend that all companion animals are desexed as early as possible in accordance with veterinary advice.

Cats can enter puberty as early as three months of age.  It is normal for SPCA, and animal welfare organisations in other countries, to desex healthy kittens as soon as they reach eight weeks old and are at least 1kg in body weight.  It is associated with faster surgical times, fewer complications, and reduced recovery time.

Each vet clinic will be able discuss their individual processes and desexing requirements (including minimum age and weight), and answer any questions you may have.

Should my female cat or dog have a litter before being desexed?

No! Well-meaning people may tell you that your female cat or dog should have a litter or experience a heat cycle/season before she is desexed. However, veterinary science tells us that the opposite is true. Female animals that have not been spayed are at higher risk of developing cancers of the uterus, ovaries and mammary glands, as well as suffering from complications of pregnancy and birthing.

Will desexing change my dog's nature?

There is generally no great character change noted after desexing, although your dog may be quieter, more placid, and less likely to roam. Your dog will not feel self-conscious after being desexed.

Other than preventing breeding, what are the advantages of desexing?
  • Prevents false pregnancies in females
  • Eliminates “heat” cycles in females, which is often inconvenient for owners
  • Reduced roaming activity (in search of mates) - meaning they are also less likely to be hit by a car, or come into contact with infectious diseases and parasites
  • Less chance of developing certain kinds of cancers
  • Eliminates the chance of common uterine infections (in females)
  • Reduces fighting and aggressive behaviours which reduces risk of contracting infectious disease spread by fighting
  • Reduces unwanted animals being attracted to your property by females in heat
  • Reduces urine and scent marking behaviour
  • Reduces dog registration fees
  • Reduces territorial aggression towards owners in rabbits

Desexed animals generally live longer, healthier, happier lives due to various health benefits, some of which are listed above.

What is Snip ‘n’ Chip?

Snip ‘n’ Chip is the name of SPCA’s desexing and microchipping programme. SPCA works with local vet clinics to offer these services to cat owners at a fraction of the cost. Making desexing and microchipping services accessible to everyone is really important to us and Snip ‘n’ Chip is a great way for SPCA to reach out to cat owners who may not be able to afford it, or wouldn't usually consider getting their cat desexed. It’s also a great opportunity for cat owners who do not currently have a local vet to get to know one in their area.

How do I purchase a Snip ‘n’ Chip voucher?

You can check if your area has a current Snip ‘n’ Chip campaign and book your voucher by visiting or check your location on the homepage of our website.

The team at the vet clinic will be able to answer any questions you have about the surgery.

My animal is desexed already, can I just get the microchip?

Yes! Microchipping is a great tool which helps hundreds of lost animals reunite with their owners each year. You will still need to book a Snip ‘n’ Chip voucher by visiting and your animal must already be desexed.

My animal is microchipped already, can I just get them desexed?

Yes! Desexing not only helps your animal live a happy and healthier life, but it helps break the cycle of unwanted litters of animals in our communities.

Book your voucher by visiting or check your location on the homepage of our website. Please let the vet clinic know that your animal is already microchipped when you arrange your Snip ‘n’ Chip appointment.

I only want my animal desexed, do I have to get them microchipped as part of this campaign?

Yes, we recommend that all animals are microchipped as part of our Snip ‘n’ Chip campaigns. SPCA supports responsible pet ownership and believe that microchipping your pet is part of this responsibility. Should your pet ever become lost, microchipping gives you the best chance of being reunited with them.

Is Snip ‘n’ Chip available to other animals like dogs or rabbits?

Snip ‘n’ Chip is currently only available for cats. We are working on several Desexing Projects to tackle the problem of overpopulation of unwanted animals in Aotearoa New Zealand and support our communities to be part of the solution.

We will continue to look for opportunities to bring Snip ‘n‘ Chip to dog owners. If you require help with desexing your dog or rabbit, please contact your local SPCA Centre to see if they are able to assist you.

What do I do if Snip ‘n’ Chip is not in my location?

We are working on several Desexing Projects to tackle the problem of overpopulation of unwanted animals in Aotearoa New Zealand and support our communities to be part of the solution. We aim to run a Snip 'n' Chip campaign in every region of the country at least once a year.

All our current Snip ‘n’ Chip campaigns are listed on our website. If you don’t see one for your area, we have compiled some other options that may help you with desexing your animal:

Compare vet clinic prices

The cost of a desexing surgery can vary between vet clinics and we recommend calling around to compare their prices. There are a number of vet clinics across the country that provide low cost desexing, as well as payment plans. Each vet clinic will be able discuss their individual processes and requirements, and answer any questions you may have, but generally kittens will need to be at least 1kg or approximately 8-12 weeks old before they can be desexed.

Look into other services

Other organisations or social services may be able to offer desexing services or provide financial assistance. Most of these can be found online through Google.

Check in regularly at “Help Someone Desex Their Pet”

Help Someone Desex Their Pet is a great resource page on Facebook that lists desexing options around the country and is updated regularly.

If needed, please contact your closest SPCA Centre as they may be able to offer local advice or assistance.

Does SPCA offer any other free or discounted vet services to the public?

SPCA does not offer any other free or discounted veterinary services to the public. Any additional or future treatments, surgeries or medications that your animal may require, over and above the Snip ‘n’ Chip offer we have available, will be at your own cost and agreed upon by yourself and the participating vet clinic.