The last Tuesday in February is set aside annually to bring international attention to the importance of spaying and neutering pets. For cats this is particularly important because they can breed when they’re as young as 4 months old and as often as three times a year – starting in late winter and continuing into fall.
It’s easy to see how the situation spirals out of control. You adopt a stray cat or the kitten of someone you know and before you realize it she’s pregnant. Once her kittens are born you try to find them homes but a few don’t adopt out so your single pet cat is now a family of cats. And – if you don’t act quickly to get the entire family fixed – more kittens will follow. We hear this story over and over again from people applying for our free spay/neuter vouchers – and we think – if only they had known about our program sooner…
And -- as important as cat spay/neuter is in containing the domestic cat population --it’s even more important for the cat. Once spayed (or neutered) the cat is healthier, a better companion and statistically much more likely to retain his or her original home. Left intact, it’s only a matter of time before the difficult cat behaviors – yowling, spraying and kittening – become more than even the most dedicated caregiver can manage. When this happens the cats are typically abandoned outdoors (where they form or join feral cat colonies and continue reproducing) or taken to the local animal control shelter (where they’re often put down -- for no other reason than they were never sterilized).
Fortunately for most pet cats – about 85% of them – spaying and neutering is a routine part of adopting – shelter cats are typically fixed at 8 weeks of age before they are released to a permanent home. And stray cats that are rescued by families with the resources to take their new cat or kitten to the vet for a new cat checkup are usually fixed right away.
It’s the remaining 15% of cats that miss out – not because their new family doesn’t understand the importance of spay/neuter but simply because they lack the front-end money to get it done. This is where we—and many other organizations today -- help. By fixing the pets adopted outside the shelter systems by students, young parents, and disabled or elderly adults living on a fixed income. And by doing so more cats will keep their homes forever -- which is the best outcome for everyone – the cats, their caregivers and their communities. To learn more about our spay/neuter program visit Zimmer-Foundation.org
Happy Spay Day!