There are more cats than there are families with room in their homes for them. Lots more. The ASPCA estimates there are 70 million stray cats in the United States alone. 3.4 million enter animal shelters every year, and 41% never come back out again. Yet more unwanted kittens are born every day.
No one wants to see 1.4 million cats die in shelters every year, but what can we do about it? The most effective way to combat overpopulation is by spaying and neutering cats. In other words, making them sterile so they won’t continue to reproduce and have kittens that there aren’t loving families to adopt.
Cats who are spayed and neutered live longer, healthier lives, too. Both spayed and neutered cats are less likely to roam far from home, making them less likely to be hit by a car or lost. Neutered male get into fewer fights with other cats, and they are less territorial, meaning their drive to spray in the house to mark territory is reduced or eliminated. They also can’t get certain kinds of cancer, like testicular cancer. Female cats, once spayed, are protected from ovarian and uterine cancer, and mammary cancer chances are reduced if the spay is performed before the cat goes into heat the first time. And of course, spayed female cats can’t have unwanted kittens.
World Spay Day is tomorrow, and it is a chance to help raise awareness of the importance of spay and neutering of cats both here in the US and abroad. Many people know they should spay or neuter their cat but don’t think they can afford it, but this is a great chance to let them know that there are lots of resources out there for reduced cost and even subsidized programs for spay and neuter.
Do you need to direct someone to a reduced cost spay/neuter clinic? This tool helps you find them in the US. We can all be part of the solution by helping spread the word about how to avoid contributing to pet overpopulation.
Reference and further reading:
ASPCA, Shelter intake and surrender, Pet statistics