Passing the Spay/Neuter Kool-Aid: Because Pets Deserve Better

LogoThe pet blogosphere has lit up this week in support of World Spay Day. A most worthy initiative indeed.

Reading all the varied opinions on spay and neuter surgeries has been enlightening. When I was a kid, it seemed like it was just what you did. If you had a dog or cat, you made sure he or she couldn’t have babies. It was a no-brainer. When I entered the world of animal welfare as an adult, at first it baffled me how many people didn’t automatically alter their pets. Unless one plans on breeding, I didn’t understand why she would take the risk. Now I realize it is a lot more complicated than that.

There are many good reasons people have for not spaying or neutering their pets. I trust that everyone reading this today knows all about the costs and benefits. I’m not going to ramble on about it again. You all are responsible and have made your decisions in the best interests of your family. It’s part of why we get on so well.

The struggle begins when trying to reach those who don’t read the literature – people who genuinely don’t know the costs and benefits of spaying and neutering. These are the people who might need the information shared by organizations across the continent in promotion of the big event.

By this point, you all know how I feel about cats. More specifically, you know how I feel about the massively massive overpopulation of cats and how these beautiful animals are often ignored, abandoned, and then euthanized. It is impossible for me to think of spay and neuter programs without immediately thinking of the feline plight. In my opinion the latter cannot be improved without the former. These neglected animals are the reason World Spay Day exists.

Prevent a Litter

The large cat overpopulation problem has been building for decades. There is no one individual or group to blame. Most people who bring home pets have the best of intentions. No one adopts a cat unless one enjoys being around animals. People might be misinformed but they are not purposefully negligent. Yet, no matter how kind the thought, priorities change. Life happens.  Vet care is expensive. Things get busy.  Appointments are pushed off. Indoor cats escape. Things get busier. Pets get forgotten.

I understand. There is a lot to think about every day. That’s why spaying and neutering is so vital. It’s kind of like insurance. I don’t want to think about how many litters of kittens my cat could have sired by now if he wasn’t altered. Between Calgary and Halifax, he might have had quite a crew of offspring. And we’d never even know it. Getting him snipped prevents me from having to worry about his fatherly duties. I’d hate to think of more cats killed due to my own ignorance.

Cats like this guy:

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And this guy:

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And even these guys:

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They are the lucky ones. None of the above cats will ever have to face euthanasia because they are unwanted. I wish I believed they were the majority. Cats deserve better. All companion animals deserve better.

World Spay Day isn’t about debating whether or not it’s healthier to keep a dog intact for two years, or five years, or forever. It’s about saving lives. The animals aided in these promotions aren’t the ones owned by knowledgeable humans making informed choices. They are the ones who may otherwise face abandonment or death.

It’s a cause I am pretty sure we can all get behind.

Poster shown above taken from SpayUSA.org.

11 thoughts on “Passing the Spay/Neuter Kool-Aid: Because Pets Deserve Better

  1. Another very positive side effect that one might not think of…..all of those 2,072,514 cats from the one unneutered one…..they all catch birds if left to wander. That can have a devastating affect on bird populations. So preventing cat over-population not only helps the lives of cats, it also helps the lives of birds!

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  2. Since moving here Jen has met many people who genuinely love animals and yet they breed and sell dogs. Why? Oh, my friend wants one. Or because people will buy them is the most common answer. They honestly do not see how they are a part of the problem. It’s sad. And terribly frustrating.

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  3. I disagree with your last sentence. The whole “you must spay and neuter” movement does not differentiate between unwanted animals and those that are pets and have owners who have made informed decisions to leave them intact. It is pushed on every pet owner regardless of what is healthy for the pet. If the message was as you stated, then I bet there would be much less debate.

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  4. I am so totally with you on that one. I can’t see any reason to leave intact that stacks up to the millions of lives that will be saved by spaying and neutering. I honestly can’t understand why there is debate on the topic anymore.

    The only exception I can think of is owners who are absolutely committed to ensuring that their animals never have the opportunity to procreate, which I suppose might be possible for apartment dwellers and those who keep their cats inside.

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  5. I agree – especially in the case of cats – which is why I spayed and neutered the little babies that I was “fostering”. It breaks my heart that are so many unwanted cats out there and spaying and neutering is a simple and effective solution to the pet over population problem!

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  6. Very nice post. Unlike you, my family was not big on the whole spay/neuter thing I guess. We had many cats when I was a child, one of which I remember having three litters. We always found homes for them all, but I think being able to reflect on that has helped me realize how important it is. My mother still doesn’t understand the concept after all these years. She took 2 female kittens home with her that were unspayed. She has no money to care for them. They are still unspayed. While she feeds them and provides them with shelter as best as she can, I am sure they will only contribute to the feral cat population in her neighborhood.

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  7. Well said, Kristine. I think you really hit the nail on the head – the issue here is overpopulation, and how spay and neuter can help reduce that problem and reduce the number of unwanted animals who suffer each year.

    A.J.
    Team BtC4A

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  8. Kristine – thanks for participating in the BTC4A World Spay Day blog hop and for spreading the word about the importance of spay/neuter. It has been enlightening to read the discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of spay/neuter, but I think you make an important point. It’s very different when you’re talking about your pets – you can look at other possible options such as non-surgical methods of birth control. But with homeless animals, spay/neuter provides the most cost effective method of preventing unwanted pregnancies. With millions of homeless animals entering the sheltering system each year, it’s a shame for even one healthy animal to be put down due to lack of a forever home.

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  9. Thank you for opening my eyes to the importance of spaying and neutering through a cat’s point of view…only because I always have “dog” on my mind. The statistics about the feline community is heartbreaking!

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  10. That’s why spaying and neutering is so vital. It’s kind of like insurance. I don’t want to think about how many litters of kittens my cat could have sired by now if he wasn’t altered.

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