Doesn’t everyone get their cats spayed and neutered?
No. There are millions of healthy cats and kittens put to death each year in U.S. animal shelters because of unaltered cats and not enough homes for their offspring. Some people don’t know this, or they don’t recognize this is related to themselves or their cats.
People put off spay/neuter due to issues of money, transportation, or time. Some people believe it’s more fair to allow the cat to mate “just this once” — or they think a female cat’s pregnancy and kittens will be sweet or educational for their human children. Also, some people don’t know that:
- Cats can start mating as early as six months
- Even indoor-only house cats often find ways to get outdoors when the sexual urge hits them. Whether they disappear for good (due to panic, accidents, or enemies) or they return home, kittens are the result.
- An unaltered male cat can father hundreds of kittens a year.
- Statistically speaking, even if a person finds good homes for a litter of kittens, some of the kittens will grow up and produce litters of kittens.
- Spaying a female before her first heat protects her from risks of uterine, ovarian, and mammary cancers.
- Spaying also protects her from the stresses of pregnancy.
- Spaying reduces her frantic interest in the outdoors and reduces the chances that she’ll wander far.
- Spaying reduces the chances she’ll mark your home with urine when she’s in heat.
- Unaltered cats have urges that make them irritable and anxious. They yowl or whine frequently, fight with other cats, and/or destroy objects in the house.
- Neutering a male reduces his risk from numerous health problems.
- Neutering lowers his urge to roam and to fight, and thus lowers chances of disease transmission and woundings.
- Neutering also reduces his tendency to spray in the home.
- And neutering eliminates the powerful odor of adult male cat urine.
You can help cats and people by distributing flyers in your neighborhood about low cost or free spay/neuter services. Design an attractive flyer highlighting the benefits of spay/neuter plus the names and phone numbers of local services. Post the flyers in supermarkets and other public places where flyers are accepted. Distribute flyers to households in your neighborhood, especially those with new or unaltered pets.
Some people delay spay/neuter for their pet because they’ve heard the animal must be six months or older. Although many older veterinarians were taught that, a number of studies show that cats and dogs as young as eight weeks have no problems later in life due to early- age spay/neuter. Plus, young kittens bounce back faster from the procedures than older kittens or cats. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) endorses early-age spay and neuter.
Due to traditions in some vet schools, some veterinarians are not familiar with the procedure or have no experience performing the surgery on younger kittens. Also, the procedure requires the safer and more expensive inhalant anesthetics such as isoflorane.