Monday, October 5, 2009

Spaying and Neutering

This post will be a bit more serious than some of my usual. If you find the idea offensive, please do not read it.

There are 2 issues related to animals, particularly cats and dogs, that I feel very strongly about. The first is animals being put to death, euthanized, because our shelters are too full. The second is animal abuse.

I want to share some facts from Holly M. Bowers' website, "The Dog Hause." I believe she got her information from PaLC, Prevent a Litter Coalition.

Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. - and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. As long as these birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes for all the animals. As a result, every year 4 to 6 million animals are euthanized because there are no homes for them.

Every year millions of dogs and cats end up in animal shelters because their owners have abandoned them. Thousands more become strays. In the United States alone the number of animals entering shelters is estimated at more than six million annually. In human terms that is the equivalent to the population of some of the largest cities in the world. About half of the animals that enter shelters are killed, because they cannot be found homes. And now with the economic troubles many families are in, more pets are being left at shelters because owners cannot afford to keep them. Globally there are tens of millions of strays.

You get some idea of the scale and risk of the overpopulation problem if you work out how many animals can be born from just one female cat and her offspring. One cat can have five kittens three times a year – these kittens reach maturity, have kittens of their own and so on. In this way, half a million cats can be born in a little more than seven years! One dog, her puppies and their offspring can produce more than 60,000 puppies in six years!

I find these statistics tragic. Dogs and cats are having puppies and kittens, only to have them put to death because there are not enough homes available for them. The 2 reasons why animals end up in shelters is because owners do not have their pets spayed or neutered, and pet owners get rid of their animals because they have behavioral problems.

It seems to me the only realistic way to make a dent in this problem is for pet owners to spay or neuter their animals. This will not solve the whole problem, but it is a start.

Female cats are spayed, which means the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the uterus are removed. Male cats are neutered, which means both testicles are removed. These procedures are common but are still considered major surgery and require complete general anesthesia and a hospital stay with careful monitoring by the medical team.

There are many benefits for the animal as well as for the owner. Spaying and neutering is good for your pets health. It can help prevent future problems, including tumors or cancer of the reproductive organs, behavior problems such as fighting, roaming, and marking. Older female cats that have not been spayed can develop serious uterine infections that can be dangerous and expensive to treat. Neutering your male cat decreases prostate tumors and eliminates testicular tumors.

All of our cats were adopted from animal organizations that try to find forever homes for animals. And K.C. was spayed and Tiger and Motor were neutered. It just seems like the right thing to.

In a following post, I will give recommendations for places that have more information on spaying and neutering, as well as recommendations for places to look into for low cost services.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Not for nothing, but for two people who seem to like cats it is a wonder why you didn't take into account Smokeys size when peicing your outdoor container together.
Now you write that there is a container for Smokey but without insulation and no REAL shelter to keep him warm from the cold. Why not?