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The Importance of Spay and Neuter
According to the ASPCA, there is no central agency to report to on how many stray cats are turned into shelters annually. The last known statistics are estimates only. They are for the year 2002.
“Approximately 8-12 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year and approximately 5-9 million are euthanized (60% dogs and 70% cats)….These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.”*
If you consider that not every state reports how many cats have been turned in, then the amounts are truly staggering. Over-population of cats is a monumental problem. The solution is so easy when you think about it.
The solution is to spay and neuter your cats!
Let’s take a look at some popular arguments against spay and neuter:
“I want my children to experience the miracle of birth!”
Ok- then might I suggest you go to the local video store and rent a video about live birth in animals. This way, you will prevent your child from experiencing any difficulty encountered during a bad birthing. They will also skip having to be told about the facts of life, if the kittens don’t for some reason or another make it safely into the world, or heaven forbid the mom cat dies while giving birth.
“Preventing my cat from having a litter is playing God!”
If you believe this, what do you think euthanizing cats means? More kittens in the world, ultimately means more deaths of older cats or even kittens.
“I find homes for all my kittens!”
Good for you! You are a responsible pet owner. But wait, a responsible pet owner wouldn’t have to find homes for kittens because their cat would be fixed!
“I don’t need to neuter my tomcat, he can’t have kittens!”
This is true, but he can get certain cancers. He will spray your home with cat urine. He will be aggressive and fight with other cats. If you let him outside, you could lose him as he goes in search of females in heat so he can mate. And bottom line, it takes two to tango so cut his strings quickly!
“Spaying and neutering makes my cat fat!”
No, being inactive makes your cat fat. Overfeeding makes your cat fat. Certain health issues can make your cat fat.
“A cat should have at least one litter before being spayed.”
I could never figure this argument out. What difference is it going to make to the cat whether or not she has a litter? The difference is that it matters to you. You want the kittens, or you would get her spayed.
“I can’t get my Tomcat neutered; I want him to experience lovemaking!”
This is most often what males will say to me. Cats don’t romance each other. If you have ever seen cats mate in the wild, it is a violent act. The mating can be done by several tomcats in succession or over time, resulting in the female giving birth to several litters all at once. When a female cat is in heat, there is no way she is going to stop a tom from mating with her. If she does resist, she pays the price sometimes dearly.
Spaying and neutering stops unwanted litters. It prevents injuries and stops health issues. In the toms it stops cancers and tumors. Spraying is an issue, so is aggression as mentioned previously.
In the females it stops pyometra and mammary cancers. It also stops unnecessary deaths of kittens and mastitis.
When you allow your cat to go outdoors and breed, you are playing with her life. There is no way of knowing what cat mates with her, or how many cats mate with her. Are these tomcats sick or a carrier of a disease? You won’t know the answer until the kittens are born.
You want a kitten? Call your local animal shelter or animal rescue group. I guarantee they have a kitten or a cat just for you.
Mary Anne Miller is a freelance writer, website content provider and member of The Cat Writers’ Association. Her expertise lies in feral cat socialization, bottle babies and animal abuse issues.