Desexing Information & Resources

Mandatory desexing

All dogs and cats born after 1 July 2018 must be desexed by a registered veterinary surgeon:

  • before they are 6 months of age; or

  • within 28 days after the owner takes possession of the dog or cat; or

  • if the owner of a dog or cat is granted an extension of time, before the day specified in the exemption.

Why desex your cat

Desexing your cat is a socially responsible thing to do for a number of reasons:

  • It reduces territorial behaviour

  • It helps control your cat’s urge to wander

  • It reduces the likelihood of cancer and other diseases  of the reproductive organs

  • It increases the likelihood of your cat enjoying  a longer and happier life

  • It eliminates unwanted litters of kittens

The Dog and Cat Management Act 1995 defines desexing as:

desex means to permanently render an animal incapable of reproducing (and desexed has a corresponding meaning).

Image by Elvira Visser

When to desex your cat

Kittens can be desexed once they reach 1kg in weight.  There is no need to wait for a heat cycle or a litter of kittens to be born. 


Early desexing prior to the first heat cycle significantly decreases the risk of developing malignant mammary cancer in cats and dogs, as well as evidence of early desexing providing behavioural benefits. 

Assistance with low cost desexing

SA Cat Rescue does not provide desexing services but suggests contacting the following organisations:

C.A.T.S. organises low-cost desexing of cats in South Australia to prevent the breeding of unwanted kittens, and to manage cat-related problems humanely by returning desexed cats to their home.  Referrals work on a voucher system and eligibility criteria apply.

The National Desexing Network (NDN) is a nationwide referral system for discounted desexing made available to pet owners in financial need.  Referrals work on a voucher system and eligibility criteria apply.

RSPCA South Australia and Onkaparinga Council are working together to implement a targeted free cat desexing program which is available to all residents of the Onkaparinga District.  You must be able to provide proof of address (eg driver’s license, passport, utility/rates bill, bank statement) in the Onkaparinga region and photographic identification to be eligible for the program.

The City of Charles Sturt Council has joined forces with the National Desexing Network and participating vet clinics to offer residents in need a subsidised desexing program to help prevent unwanted cats.  Eligible residents who are on pensions, low income or with too many cats to afford to desex will pay just $50 to desex their cat.  Cats are also able to be microchipped for $5 at the time of desexing.  

National Desexing Month generally occurs each July, however this has been impacted recently by COVID-19.  Participating vet clinics will generally advertise their involvement in the program.

All cats and kittens adopted through SA Cat Rescue are desexed, microchipped and vaccinated prior to adoption.

Sources:  Dog and Cat Board  |  Good Cat SA  |  RSPCA Australia