Last year about 17 million dogs and cats were turned over to animal shelters. Out of every 10 that were taken in, only one found a home. Of the rest, some 13.5 million had to be destroyed.
The suffering and sorrow associated with pet overpopulation is overwhelming. And yet, much of it could be eliminated by simple operations. Spaying and neutering surgeries are performed under general anesthesia and are quite painless. By neutering pets, people can prevent numbers of unwanted and homeless creatures.
Spaying Your Female Cat
Avoiding unwanted litters is good for both animals and people. Keeping the pet population in check increases the chance of adoption for already homeless animals.
A spayed female is a more pleasant pet to live with. There are no late night howls and no annoying advances or serenades from neighborhood males. What's more, her chances of leading a healthy, happy life are improved, including a reduced susceptibility to mammary cancer and uterine infections.
Neutering Your Male Cat
Neutering discourages "wandering" which all too often leads to fights, car accidents and the spread of disease. It eliminates foul smelling sprays as your cat stakes out his territory in and around your home. It also reduces male tendencies toward overly aggressive behavior and the likelihood of his developing prostate infections and cancer.
Sterilization and Your Cat's Disposition
Cats that have been spayed or neutered are not only healthier, they're easier to get along with – both for people and other animals. They tend to be more gentle and affectionate. Neutered cats are not inclined to be inactive or overweight, though special care should be taken when feeding them.
What About Your Kids and Baby Cats?
Worried that your children will miss out on the opportunity to see kittens born? Chances are, they'd miss it anyway. Most litters are born when you are not around – often in undiscovered hideaways. Of course, schools offer excellent films and books subjects so the opportunity to learn about birth is still there.
If you've ever had to find homes for kittens, you know it can be difficult. Even if you do find homes, you can never be certain the animals will still be welcome when their cuteness wears off. And too many of them often go on to add to the overpopulation problem by having litters of their own.
Animal shelters try very hard to place homeless pets. But they receive thousands of kittens from well-meaning pet owners who had no luck trying to place them. And there are thousands of older pets whose owners got tired of caring for them. Sadly, these newly homeless creatures wind up competing for adoption with those who have been waiting in shelters for homes of their own. There aren't enough homes for all the existing dogs and cats, much less those yet to be born.
What About Paying for Neutering?
You can't afford not to. If you're unable to place even one of your cat's offspring, raising the kitten for only one year will cost you far more than the price of sterilization surgery. In order to encourage more people to have their pets spayed or neutered, contact your local Spay/Neuter Assistance Program or any participating veterinarian.