Did you know that the overpopulation of cats is a very serious problem? It's something that is out of control due to the sheer amount of litters being born with no homes to go to. This is why deciding to/not to spay or neuter your cats can affect more than just your family.
So, Why Consider Spaying/Neutering Your Cat?
1. Unwanted Litter - If your female cat isn't spayed and accidentally gets pregnant, what are you going to do with these unexpected kittens? Are you going to be able to afford to keep the litter and mother healthy until the little ones have new homes to go to? Or if your male cat gets a female pregnant, where are they going to end up?
A lot of the time, the cats are neglected. People will try and take the litter to a shelter, they will throw them to the side of the road or dump them in a bin, or sell them for next to nothing just to get rid of them and happily hand them over to individuals or families who can't look after them properly.
Of course we're not suggesting this is what you would do in this situation but the reality is, you never know what's going to happen when you have several new born kittens in your home that you don't want to/can't afford to keep.
2. Suffering and Death - When shelters get full, they often resort to having the cats put down, now it's a bit of a different story in Wanaka because we have the amazing Cat Rescue Wanaka set up who try and foster and re-home as many abandoned kitties as they possibly can. But think about these charities, the effort, time and money they put it, their dedication to saving the lives of so many cats is incredible, but it would be unnecessary if more people took care of their cats by spaying/neutering them.
Even in lovely Wanaka, kitty litters are left at the side of roads and unfortunately, some meet a horrible end at just days old, others barely make it, pushing through the starvation.
3. Frustration in Males - Un-neutered males will have raging hormones, they will constantly be searching for a female, even those miles and miles away. In addition, they will likely turn to aggression when they come in contact with other males. Fights between male cats can be tragic when both are un-neutered and feeling threatened or possessive.
Un-neutered male cats also spray... a lot. So say goodbye to your nice-smelling home with fresh furnishings!
4. More and more and more cats - If a male mates with an unowned female, the litter will grow to be cats in the wild adding to the overpopulation, they too then go on to mating creating an unbelievable amount of cats...
In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce an incredible 370,000 kittens! (PETA*)
5. Stress and Health Concerns - Not only is continuous mating painful and stressful for the female cat, but giving birth also poses a risk to her health. Repeated heat cycles can also be stressful on the body.
It's entirely possible that your cat will pick up a disease from mating too, especially after males have been with strays.
6. Frustrating Situation for the Family - Female cats will be very unpleasant at times as they will want to escape the house and search for a companion. She will attract males from all over the neighbourhood to your house too, some of which will start spraying around your property/in the garden and may resort to fighting each other.
7. Can Eliminate Cancers - Spaying your female before her first cycle can greatly reduce the risk of cancer (such as mammary, ovarian and uterine), whilst neutering your male can also benefit his health by reducing the risk of cancer!
When is the right time?
It's safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered and it’s advisable to schedule the surgery before your cat reaches five months of age. As PETA suggests, "it’s best to spay animals before they reach sexual maturity in order to reap the full health benefits," so talk to your local veterinarian today about the de-sexing of your furry friend.
There is no reason not to spay or neuter your cat. To be a truly responsible pet owner, the best cause of action is make sure you don't contribute to the issues facing cats and their livelihood.
The single most important thing that we can do to save cats and dogs from all the suffering and death that their overpopulation causes is to spay and neuter them. Spaying and neutering are routine, affordable surgeries that can prevent thousands of animals from being born, only to suffer and struggle to survive on the streets, be abused by cruel or neglectful people, or be euthanized in animal shelters for lack of a loving home. (PETA*)
Remember, when you adopt from an organisation like Cat Rescue Wanaka - the cats are already spayed/neutered by the time they come and live with you!
*Quotes sourced from PETA's website, where you can find more useful information on your pet's health.