Spay Day 2017

Feb 25, 2017

Sweet Momma Cat and her cute babies - uh-oh!
Credit hmr86 (HM Razi) [Flickr]

This momma cat's litter may seem small, but it's the start of something that could become overwhelming when you start counting possible future litters.  Spaying the Momma Cat will go a long way toward helping to stem the tide of pet overpopulation.

Animal shelters and animal welfare groups are gearing up for a very important day this coming week. Tuesday is Spay Day USA, initiated by the Doris Day Animal League in 1994. Twenty-three years later Spay Day is still an opportunity to encourage pet owners to have their furry friends spayed (or neutered) to reduce pet overpopulation by preventing the birth of unwanted pets.

You may think that your cute, sweet, lovable four-footed family member would have such beautiful litters of puppies or kittens that people would be beating a path to your door just to adopt one. But let’s talk numbers.

Let’s say one male cat and one female cat mate and a litter is born – four kittens – two males and two females. Because animals can have multiple litters in a year, they mate again and have a second litter of four kittens, two males and two females. At the end of the first year, there are now ten cats where there used to be two. In the second year, every female cat has two litters of four kittens each, two males and two females, so now you have fifty cats, after only two years. By the end of the fourth year, you will have more than a thousand cats; after seven years, the total is more than one hundred fifty thousand cats.

While you may be able to find homes for the eight kittens born in the first year, the impact on your community is greatly reduced if instead you go ahead and have that first female cat spayed.

There are benefits for you and your cat (or dog) beyond helping to reduce pet overpopulation. After spaying or neutering, both male and female animals have a reduced risk of certain tumors and cancers. Males tend to be less aggressive, so there is less biting and fighting. Their tendency to roam is reduced, which keeps them safer and less likely to be hit by a car.

The bottom line is that spayed female pets and neutered males tend to live longer and be healthier than their un-altered counterparts.

Celebrate Spay Day this week by calling your veterinarian to schedule an appointment to have your pet spayed or neutered. It will benefit your community, and it could help your best friend to live a longer and healthier life, when you’re speaking of pets.