Skip to content
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 Aotearoa 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 a companion cat, stray cat or feral cat?

Companion cats are owned by someone and that person is responsible for them. The owners provide food, water and shelter for the cats.  They also make sure their physical, health, behavioural, mental, and emotional needs are met.

With over 1.2million known companion cats in New Zealand, we have one of the highest rates of ownership in the world.

Stray cats live near or sometimes amongst human populations, but are not considered owned. Some may be friendly with people (socialised strays), while others are not (unsocialised strays). Stray cats may also be lost companion cats.

Stray cats rely on people to meet their needs at times. For example, a stray cat may be known to a person or neighbourhood and be fed by the community, but not owned by anyone.  Others may find food at a rubbish site and be unsocial when approached by humans. Since they are counting on human activity to source food, they are classified as strays.

Strays can live either as individuals or in groups of strays, which are called colonies.  When a person puts time and resources into providing care for stray cats, we consider this managing the cat.

Feral cats do not live in places near humans. Sometimes people will call cats that are living in their neighbourhood or under houses feral cats, but this is incorrect.

Feral cats do not rely on humans at all and are entirely independent. In most places in New Zealand, feral cats are legally labelled as a pest.

Click here to read more about these definitions and why they are important.

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 book.spcadesexing.nz 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 book.spcadesexing.nz 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 book.spcadesexing.nz 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.

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

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.

Where can I find information about the SPCA Mobile Desexing Clinic?

For more information you can view the homepage of our website, read our article here or check out the FAQs below:

  • Where is the Clinic going to be?
    Moerewa
    Monday 11 September – Thursday 14 September

    Dargaville (SOLD OUT)
    Monday 18 September – Thursday 21 September
    Monday 25 September – Thursday 28 September

    Waimamaku
    Monday 2 October – Thursday 5 October

    Rawene
    Monday 9 October – Thursday 12 October
    Monday 16 October – Thursday 19 October

    Opononi
    Tuesday 24 October – Thursday 26 October

    Ahipara
    Monday 30 October – Thursday 2 November
    Monday 6 November – Thursday 9 November

    Pukenui
    Monday 13 November – Thursday 16 November
  • How much does it cost?
    We welcome a koha or donation for this service.
  • How do I book an appointment at the Clinic?
    Go to www.spca.nz/northland-desexing to book your cat or dog in.  If you need help with the online booking system, see the questions below.  You can also call or text 022 362 5105, or email mobiledesexing@spca.nz. Our Desexing team will be able to answer any questions you have.
    • Can I just turn up on the day?
      No, you must have an appointment booked in with the Clinic to be able to have your animal desexed.
    • Why isn’t my address working on the online booking system?
      Our online booking system uses an American format, which doesn’t recognise New Zealand addresses correctly.  Please use the 'Custom Address' option when entering your address.  For ‘State’ use the first two letters of your region e.g. use ‘NO’ for Northland.
    • Why isn’t my home phone number working on the online booking system?
      Our online booking system uses an American format and requires an extra ‘0’ at the beginning of the phone number e.g. 009 instead of 09.  This is not needed for a mobile phone number.
    • How old does my kitten/puppy need to be?
      Kittens need to be at least 1kg before we can desex them, puppies need to be 6 months or older.  Dogs that are 6 years or older may not be able to be desexed at the Clinic, but our Desexing team will be able to discuss this with you.
    • Do you offer any other treatments or procedures at the Clinic?
      If your cat or dog is being desexed, free vaccinations and flea and worm treatments will also be available on the day.  If your cat or dog is not being desexed and doesn't have an appointment, we will not be able to provide these for your animal.  Other than those listed, we are unable to provide any other treatments or procedures.

      Our SPCA Northland Centre have drop-in clinics that offer flea and worm treatment, emergency food (koha) and a range of advice.  Follow our Facebook page for locations, dates and times.
    • 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.
    • I just want my animal desexed, do I have to get my animal microchipped as part of this campaign?
      Yes, we recommend that all animals are microchipped as part of our mobile desexing campaign. SPCA supports responsible pet ownership and believes 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 this service available to other animals?
      This offer is only available for cats and dogs.  Livestock, rabbits and farmed animals are not included in this campaign.  With limited capacity, SPCA must target species where the need is highest.  Most of SPCA’s incoming animals are companion animals, such as cats and dogs, and we are targeting pet owners in the area to help them get this vital service.
    • Is this offer available in other parts of the country?
      We only have one Mobile Desexing Clinic and are unable to offer this service to other parts of the country at this stage.  We run Snip 'n' Chip campaigns in various locations across the county that provide cat owners discounted desexing and microchipping.  For more information on Snip 'n' Chip, see our other FAQs or the homepage of our website.

      If you know someone with a pet that isn’t desexed or microchipped in another region of Aotearoa New Zealand, please encourage them to reach out to their local SPCA Centre or vet clinic and they can discuss desexing options in their area.
    • Why doesn't SPCA have the Mobile Desexing Clinic running throughout the year?
      SPCA is aiming to keep the Mobile Desexing Clinic operational as much as possible. To run the Clinic, we rely on a mixture of both internal and external vets and vet nurses.  There is currently a vet shortage in Aotearoa New Zealand and this makes it very difficult to staff year-round.  We hope to have the Clinic desexing as many cats and dogs as we can throughout the year.
    • Does SPCA offer any other free or discounted veterinary services to the public?
      Unfortunately, the SPCA does not offer any other free or discounted veterinary services to the public. Any further treatments or surgeries that your animal may require, over and above the offers we have available, will be at your own cost and will need to be agreed upon with a local vet clinic.
    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 or Mobile Desexing Clinic offer we have available, will be at your own cost and agreed upon by yourself and the participating vet clinic.