Pet overpopulation troubles many places around the country, especially from stray animals. How can you work to reduce this problem? By spaying or neutering your cat or dog. It’s a simple solution, but some people question why it’s necessary.
My cat is an exclusively indoor pet. Pets tend to be escape artists, sneaking out the door underfoot. They can then become difficult to find and if not spayed and in heat, might find a partner to breed. Owners then end up with unwanted kittens to feed, provide veterinary care for, euthanize, or give away. This also increases their tendency for becoming injured from cars or fights with other animals. Side note: this is also why rabies vaccinations are important, even for indoor pets.
Health risks for unspayed female pets. As pets age, reproductive organs also age, bringing with them more medical issues. For female cats and dogs, risks for uterine infections and breast cancer increase exponentially. In 50% of female dogs and 90% of female cats, these diseases will ultimately claim their lives.
Other issues with intact female pets. When female dogs and cats are in heat, they become vocal and can urinate more frequently than typical (marking). This time lasts, on average, for four to five days out of every three weeks. You’ll also need hygiene products during their menstrual cycles such as diapers and pads, and she might need to urinate more frequently.
When is the best time to spay? To avoid unwanted behaviors developing, most vets advise to spay prior to your dog or cat’s first heat; however, older pets benefit as well and will live a longer, healthier life.
What about the cost? Unplanned veterinary expenses add up fast. You’ll also need additional food, toys, pet beds, and yearly checkups, potential surgical procedures, and ongoing vaccinations. A simple spay is far less costly than all of those for the lives of multiple other pets. In addition, check into local county resources which might offer them at a lower cost.
Myths about spaying and neutering. A spay procedure will not make them fat! Overweight pets are a product of overeating and infrequent exercise. Monitor food intake and give them plenty of activity.
Can’t I use this to teach my children responsibility or the miracle of birth? There are a multitude of other ways to do both of these, and without putting additional strain on your household from more pets and the associated costs. Look to videos, books, and online resources instead.