All of us cat lovers want to see cats living the best lives they can possibly live. Cats should be living in homes where they are loved, well cared for, and considered as part of the family. Some of us might even add that our kitties should be spoiled rotten! One way that each cat owner can do their part in helping every cat find a home is to spay or neuter their cats.
What is spaying and neutering?
The neuter procedure is done on male dogs and cats and removes their testicles. Since the testicles lay outside the body’s main cavity, this procedure requires very little to no recovery time.
The spay procedure is done on female cats and dogs and consists of removing their ovaries and uterus. This surgery requires an incision in the abdomen and thus carries a little more risk and recovery time than does the neuter procedure.
Both spaying and neutering are surgical procedures that result in the animal being unable to reproduce. Either procedure will only take minutes to perform when done by an experienced veterinarian. In most cases, your pet will go home with you the same day.
If you are really curious, each procedure is clearly explained by Doc Pawsitive.
Why is it so important?
About ½ of all pets that enter shelters are euthanized!
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to put our pets through any medical procedures. There would be no homeless pets. People would all be great pet owners and do their part to control their pet’s reproduction. However, we don’t live in an ideal world – not even close.
According the Humane Society of the United States, every year 6 – 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters. Only 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are adopted from shelters every year, leaving the other 3 – 4 million pets homeless. Believe it or not, about 1/4 of all pets that come into shelters are purebred! Sadly, every year about 1/2 of all cats and dogs entering the shelters ( many of whom are healthy, good-mannered pets) are euthanized because no home can be found for them. American tax payers pay $2 billion per year for the process of euthanizing all of those homeless pets.
What does this have to do with my cat?
Any extra kittens your cat could produce only worsens the situation for all of the already homeless cats. Each female cat can have 3 litters per year with an average of 4-6 kittens in each litter. Every female kitten in each litter can do the same thing. The number of kittens adds up quickly; one female cat and her offspring are capable of producing 420,000 kittens in 7 years (the shorter end of the average feline lifespan). That is a lot of extra kitties added on to the number that already can’t find homes!
Note: Male cats are not off the hook. While a female can only have one litter at a time, a male can impregnate many female cats in a matter of hours!
Just imagine the impact all of those kitties will have on your wallet! Until you can find homes for those kitties (which could be a bigger task than you think), you will have to feed them, have enough litter and litter boxes for them, take them to their vet check-ups, handle any emergency medical needs, etc. The average cat owner spends $193 per year on regular vet visits. One litter of 6 kitties could be very expensive.
Concerns About Spaying/Neutering your Cat?
Always talk to your veterinarian about your concerns, but spaying/neutering is a common procedure. It does not cause personality changes in your cat, though it will curb sexual behaviors (spraying, humping, loud “in heat” crying, etc). Your cat will not gain weight as a result as long as you provide proper food and exercise. Male cats do not feel any less manly. Spay and neuter procedures eliminate the risk of sex-organ related cancers and reduce the chances of some other diseases.
Low Cost Spay/Neuter Programs
If money is an issue for you, there are a lot of programs dedicated to helping you afford to spay or neuter your pet. Some of these programs will even offer free spay and neuter procedures while others charge very low fees or work on a sliding scale. Even if you had to pay full price, the spay/neuter procedure would cost less than caring for a litter of kittens.
About the Author: Robin Mudge is the Detroit based blogger behind Playful Kitty. Animals are one of her greatest passions. Besides spending lots of time with her 2 cats (Cinco and Manna), Robin loves to learn and enjoys expressing herself artistically. This article was first posted on March 11, 2014 on Playful Kitty.