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Franny Syufy

February is Spay & Neuter Month

By February 5, 2014

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For several years, the last Tuesday in February has been designated as "Spay Day U.S.A.," and February has been chosen as Spay and Neuter Month by countless humane societies and animal advocacy groups. There are many ways you can contribute to this effort, starting with spaying and neutering your own cats.

It is hard to believe that in this enlightened age, many people still are ignorant about the value of spaying and neutering their pets. A few years ago I posted an article as the result of a blog comment that proclaimed "God Told me Not to Spay & Neuter my Cats." The responses posted in the User Answers attached to the article have been frequent and varied, since then. One of the most thoughtful, logical, and compelling responses received yet:

Neutering and spaying your pet is as much of a Responsibility & Obligation as proper diet and health care. Anyone who believes that Fluffy won't feel fulfilled without producing offspring, or sees it as a disregard of God's will, is welcome to visit my shelter or Any shelter nearby. The story will be the same everywhere you go: abandoned like garbage, animals confined and waiting to go home, or waiting to die. That animals are forced to suffer and die because of overpopulation is no one's fault but Our Own. Let's not be naive. If you're a pet owner who has chosen not to fix their animal, you are lending your hand to sign the death certificate of an inordinate amount of helpless animals. Every year, 8 million animals die (that''s one every 8 seconds) not because they are sick, mean, or old but because someone decided to give their pet a reproductive license without any thought of the repercussions. If there is a God, he is outraged by the lack of care we show the rest of his creation.
--Guest N. Rose

Photo Credit: © Dick Olsen, who rescued my Billy's mother

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Comments

February 5, 2008 at 6:37 am
(1) Carlie says:

Having your animals fixed is morally wrong. Playing God is not our place. If you really love your pets, say NAY to Spay!

February 5, 2008 at 12:08 pm
(2) Ashley says:

all soooo cute

February 5, 2008 at 4:33 pm
(3) June says:

Carlie,

You need to visit behind the scenes at a high-kill animal shelter on the days the excess cats are euthanized. I believe many of them use a gas chamber. You’ve got no idea of the suffering and tragedy of homeless cats.

Humans have created cats as *domestic* animals. This means something! It is an artificial condition where the population can actually thrive too much. Wild animals do not thrive out of control like this because they have to contend with food scarcity, disease, predators and being at the mercy of the elements. Do I need to tell you that death at a young age is how the wild population is naturally controlled?

Spaying and neutering is the choice of rational, intelligent and informed owners. It is the *only* way to avoid the suffering of unwanted kittens.

But I don’t know why I’ve spent so long typing this because you’ve obviously got your head too deep in your fake morals. Taking responsibility is where true morals live. Not in claiming circumstances are out of your hands, which is what you’re really saying when you drag ‘god’ into it.

February 6, 2008 at 2:26 pm
(4) June says:

I wish someone would rationally explain to me the phrase, ‘playing god’ and why it’s always pulled out as some victorious debate-ender. It means absolutely nothing to me, it’s just another worn-out borrowed phrase.

Spaying and neutering is about taking responsibility for a situation the human race has created when we domesticated cats. If you equate being responsible with ‘playing god’, so be it.

Admittedly surgery is never a walk in the park, but you’re seriously saying modern surgical techniques are barbaric? You’d better change doctors if that’s your experience.

Perhaps your phrase ‘barbaric means’ meant euthanizing unwanted cats. Well you might be right there. But do you think all the unwanted cats should just roam free, getting hit by cars, catching rabies and trying to survive the winter? That’s truly barbaric. And standing back and allowing that to happen is not the act of a compassionate or rational person.

My cats are very, very happy with their lives and I guarantee you they are not at all upset because they are unable to have kittens. They have been done no harm whatsoever.

February 6, 2008 at 4:39 pm
(5) Sue says:

In addition to controlling overpopulation and eliminating the terrible discomfort and other problems brought on by heat cycles in females and hormone production in males, spaying and neutering can help prevent many diseases. Some of these diseases are fatal – various cancers of the reproductive system, for example. Why allow an animal to suffer or die when it doesn’t have to?
God cares for the sparrows and the lilies of the field; your pets and your children are given to you by Him for your care. Perhaps spaying or neutering a pet is “playing God,” but only in the sense that doing what is best for those in your charge is what God would have us do.

February 7, 2008 at 7:25 am
(6) Marsha G. says:

Sue, If you think about it, you could make the same arguement for humans. “…terrible discomfort and other problems brought on by heat cycles in females and hormone production in males. Some of these diseases are fatal – various cancers of the reproductive system.” I highly doubt you would have the same practice applied to humans. Just a thought :-)

February 7, 2008 at 7:31 am
(7) Candice says:

Does the church (any religion) have a stance on killing animals? I know some faiths absolutley abhorr killing or birth control. Any info?

February 7, 2008 at 3:09 pm
(8) June says:

I’m sure all the airy-fairy ethical debates about ‘morals’ and ‘religion’ are interesting on some level.

Try having these discussions down at an overcrowded shelter with the workers there. And try explaining it to the millions of homeless cats who are on death row because they cannot find a home. I’m sure they’ll be deeply impressed with your moral high-ground.

The crisis of cat overpopulation needs practical and humane solutions, and real solutions come from rational thought. Not worrying about some non-existent slippery slope leading to humans being ‘fixed’ without their consent. Do you honestly believe that is the direct outcome of spaying & neutering our pets?

And for anyone who claims we must not euthanize or sterilize our cats on ‘ethical grounds’, I have some questions. Do you own a fly swatter? Have you ever set a mouse trap? Do you eat meat or own any leather goods? Unless you can claim you’ve never been responsible for or benefitted from an animal’s death you’ve got flexible morals. And bending morals to suit yourself is the definition of hypocrisy. End of lecture.

February 7, 2008 at 5:01 pm
(9) Sue says:

Marsha,
I knew someone was going to say that, but it’s obvious that we are talking about two different situations. My cats are like children to me, true, but I still know they have to be treated differently than humans in some cases.
While there are humans (especially women) choosing every day to have themselves “fixed” for those reasons – or just because they don’t want to have children – cats don’t have the resources to either make the decision or go get surgery on their own if they did decide to have it. Since cats can’t choose for themselves, we do have to make those decisions for them, and prevention is much healthier for them in the long run than the cure. Plus, cats don’t think about whether they can have kittens in the future, they just don’t like the pain they’re going through when they’re in heat or in the middle of cancer treatment. Why in heaven’s name wouldn’t you want to save them from everything you could?
Frankly, unless those against spaying and neutering are planning on adopting and properly caring for every unwanted kitten out there, I don’t want to hear them criticize me for taking responsibility for my pets.

February 8, 2008 at 11:51 am
(10) Anthony says:

You should let the Lord’s will take it’s course. Otherwise, you’re interfering with his grand plan. Besides, do you really enjoy seeing animals go through the pain of being fixed?

February 8, 2008 at 12:40 pm
(11) Jane says:

Oh please be rational. You haven’t the slightest clue how much suffering is involved in cat overpopulation.

Do you seriously oppose all forms of medical intervention on humans and animals just because it might hurt a little?

My female cats had exactly one day of feeling down post-surgery. And it’s dramatically less invasive for males. This is nothing compared to the discomfort of a lifetime of heat cycles, getting pregnant, carrying and giving birth to kittens.

And are you incapable of imagining what it is like for an unwanted cat to sit for weeks in a cage in a miserable shelter to be finally euthanized by a gas chamber. You are devoid of compassion if you wash your hands of trying to prevent that suffering.

Do you just lie back and leave everything to god? Your grocery shopping, your retirement savings? You’re picking and choosing what you want to take responsibility for and I just can’t let that irrational approach go unchallenged.

February 8, 2008 at 12:51 pm
(12) Jane says:

Oh, and no one gets their cat fixed because they relish the thought of having their kitten cut open with a scalpel. What a childish thing to suggest otherwise.

February 8, 2008 at 1:12 pm
(13) Khalid says:

Letting God/Allah do his work without inter-fearence is a very common in most other parts of the world. Spaying/neutering is unheard of in more remote locations around the globe. What ever your view, keep in mind that your view (either one) may not be well received and, in some places like Saudi Arabia, a crime. Hope this helps.

Khalid in DC.

February 8, 2008 at 2:27 pm
(14) June says:

I admit I am not a religious scholar, but I do understand completely that my views are not shared by every major religion around the world.

However, practically every culture around the world has no qualms about killing animals for meat and other uses. I am completely mystified that these same people are so vehemently opposed to spaying and neutering pets.

Am I the only one who thinks these two beliefs are conflicting? Why is it alright to kill and eat a cow, but it’s disgusting and abhorrent to prevent your cat from having kittens? Killing is okay but surgery isn’t?

Could someone please tell me which religious text or religious leader explicitly commands that we do not spay & neuter our pets? Seriously. I have never heard of this before.

I’m sorry to go on and on with this issue, but ‘god told me not to’ just isn’t a reasoned argument to me. Homeless cats are suffering by the millions and no one has put forward any rational alternative solutions here.

February 9, 2008 at 8:37 am
(15) C. Blumpkein says:

In resonese to June’s comment, “Could someone please tell me which religious text or religious leader explicitly commands that we do not spay & neuter our pets? Seriously. I have never heard of this before.”

Does “Thou Shall Not Kill” ring a bell?

By fixing animals and altering God’s divine plan, we are 1) Playing God and 2) Killing potential life.

It’s very clear to most.

February 9, 2008 at 1:19 pm
(16) Rodger says:

In response to Khalid above, most countries around the world do not consider pets worthy of spending money on in the first place, much less to spay and neuter. I’ve lived abroad for the past 20 years and I’m quite sure Saudi Arabia does not consider this a crime. An unimaginable but nervertheless true fact is animals all too often find themselves on the menu since diets are unique when compared to the more common place diets we in the west are accustomed to.

February 9, 2008 at 1:54 pm
(17) June says:

C.,

You don’t seem clear at all. No one got killed when my cats were spayed. NO ONE. Where are these potential kittens anyway? The vet didn’t find any, that’s for sure.

Seriously, I’m really having a problem understanding this religious angle. I keep reminding you that cats are KILLED every day in shelters because they cannot find a home. Is this the divine plan you’re talking about? Who built these shelters exactly?

From the religious side, I haven’t heard one single criticism of shelters for killing millions of cats. All that death at the hand of man does not concern you at all? It’s the surgery that disgusts you more? Truly?

That’s not how I feel. I think that killing a cat that is alive right now in the real world is far, far worse than preventing the conception of a hypothetical kitten that does not exist in the past, present or future. You disagree with that?

And ‘thou shalt not kill’ actually applies to animals? Really? Have you never heard of slaughterhouses? You’ve eaten meat, right? We’ve been killing animals since the dawn of time and this is the first time someone has pointed out that the bible tells us not to.

It sounds like you’re blurring the line between humans and animals. Do you think humans are animals? You must believe it if you are applying your religious ideals equally to cats and people alike.

I’m just trying to understand. Since when does prevention literally mean killing, and actual killing is something you ignore?

I just can’t believe I am arguing about this issue in the world of cats. When I read Franny’s article, I could have thought of a dozen lame excuses why someone would refuse to get their cat fixed. None of them was ‘god told me not to’. I am astounded.

February 11, 2008 at 1:19 pm
(18) Sue says:

I’ll ask my minister about it, but I think he will be completely stunned to learn he’s supposed to consider spaying and neutering a sin.
At the risk of stirring up more controversy, I’m completely in favor of birth control for humans, too. I suppose if we had never “interfered in God’s plan” by coming up with ways not to die in our 30s like people used to or to keep our cats and dogs alive longer, there wouldn’t be any population problems and birth control of any kind would be unnecessary – although, with the economy the way it is, I’m not sure about that.
Anyway, if you didn’t care about any of the health ramifications of not fixing your pets, I suppose you could gamble on your ability to keep them from ever being in the presence of a potential mate. If you were successful, that would accomplish the same thing as spaying or neutering – preventing the birth of kittens or puppies. Do you also consider that murder?

February 11, 2008 at 2:30 pm
(19) Franny Syufy says:

>>>When I read Franny’s article, I could have thought of a dozen lame excuses why someone would refuse to get their cat fixed. None of them was ‘god told me not to’. I am astounded.< <<

I am too, June. It is beyond my belief to think that God would prefer to see thousands of cats killed on the streets, or languish in shelters waiting to die, in lieu of humane surgery to prevent those tragedies from happening.

It appears that “humane” is a concept these people simply refuse to understand. :(

February 11, 2008 at 2:57 pm
(20) Sue says:

And by the way, before anyone jumps on me about the human birth control comment, let me clarify that I mean any human who wants to use birth control should be allowed to – I know there are people who think that’s a sin as well, for the same reasons mentioned here regarding cats. Sorry if it sounds like anything more than that.

February 1, 2009 at 10:26 am
(21) Gerard says:

Carlie you are right about what you say do not listen to these people who go against nature.Just because the animals get euthanized and put in gas chambers does not mean we have to spay an neuter the animals it means that they have to stop killing the animals.

February 13, 2009 at 10:45 pm
(22) Susan says:

My thought I could not feed all the animals if I hadn’t got everyone spayed and neutered.

February 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm
(23) Bobby says:

Carlie,

I’m with you on this one. I personally don’t believe spaying and neutering is morally wrong, but I support you the more and more I see bigoted comments on this board that mock your religion and your religious beliefs.

God bless and Masha’ Allah.

March 9, 2009 at 1:18 am
(24) kelly says:

I hope the people who wrote here against spaying and neutering will answer some of the questions I have put forth below…

First of all,(and with NO insult intended) I’m pretty sure that when most of the Holy text we read today were written, the earth was NOT bursting at its seams. There was plenty of room to spread your seeds and be fruitful. And 40 was old age.

Even today, many countries that do not value companion animals have a much lower quality of life and health than the people posting here.

I worked at a shelter and I have had to pick the pets that get to die in a given week, because nobody wants them. Do that job and then tell me that I should let my pets breed freely.

When we breed cattle to eat, then yes we need to replenish the species. But there is NO ROOM for all the pets we are allowing to be born. WHERE DO WE PUT THEM? MAYBE THEY SHOULD RUN FREE TO SPREAD DISEASE ON THE STREETS, LIKE THEY DO IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES.

I would like for someone to show us the devine plan for the altered domestication of the perfect animals god created.

If you don`t like the solution. Give us a better one.

Please don`t litter!
Kelly

January 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm
(25) mary says:

In my opinion when people say things like “Having your animals fixed is morally wrong. Playing God is not our place” it REALLY MEANS “I have pets but can’t really afford to take care of them PROPERLY so I will say its morally wrong just to cover my butt”

February 20, 2013 at 8:48 am
(26) oneandahalfcats says:

While on the one hand it is unfortunate that we must put animals in harms way to carry out the business of spaying and neutering cats and dogs, this is absolutely necessary to prevent both the birth of unwanted cats and dogs, serious diseases, and to prevent animals from wandering in the pursuit of a partner which can result in injury or death due to accidents. As far as any religious aspect here, I think the act of abandoning animals and having to put down innocent, unwanted animals that someone has abandoned, is by far a much greater sin than intervening in an animal’s life to remove their ability to procreate. This is not to say that those who are involved with shelters who practice euthanasia, are bad people, but that the act itself is wrong in my opinion.

I don’t think there are any excuses when it comes to the responsibility that pet owners have for preventing unwanted animals. If you decide not to spay or neuter your pet, then it is your responsibility to ensure that your pet is kept indoors at all times, but there may be consequences of this for your pet, and you. The problem of unwanted animals should be partially our government’s responsibility, just as animal abuse has become) but they have not yet made this their responsibility. Laws are in place to stipulate that animals must be licensed, but government needs to go further and stipulate that animals must also be spayed or neutered.

February 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm
(27) pauline says:

Charlie, I’m sure you have a strong belief system and there are millions of homeless animals who dont practice rhythm and unfortunately cannot buy condoms. It is our responsibility to protect and control these populations of animals who can breed over and over.I think your belief system suggests that you also feel people have dominion over animals so why not help them all find happy healthy homes and safety.Charlie it’s just like all those homeless children who are in the world sadly it seems people and animals are often motivated by short term sexual desire and not family planning, so should we all suffer because of it. Get your self off your pulpit and volenteer at a trap neuter return facility or care for someone else’s child, you’ll find God in that.

August 23, 2013 at 3:19 am
(28) Cindy Kreiner says:

I am with you June- all the way! I own six cats, all strays – have many Feral’s coming in for food. Trapped four so far which were taken to be spayed / neutered. Next morning they were brought back to the area they know as home. They acted as if nothing had happened, their thoughts on food as always and were given extra spoon of TLC.
Putting food out is not enough, taking responsibility is!.
Rather thank G-D for our Cat Lovers, at least a small percentage get to live being loved and giving love in return.

February 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm
(29) Carol says:

God gave humans “dominion” over animals. That means He gave us the intelligence and compassion to care for His creatures. I have adopted many kitties over the years. All have been fixed because I don’t want them to bring kittens that I can’t care for. Also, I want to prevent reproduction diseases so they don’t die untimely deaths.

Besides that, after you’ve seen a female cat “in heat” you don’t want any guests or children
to have to witness that!

Remember, one female cat can have 440,000 descendants in 7 years. Our environment and our finances can’t handle that! Be responsible. God gave us the knowledge to know how to do that.

February 6, 2014 at 5:13 pm
(30) Franny Syufy says:

Carol, I agree with everything you wrote except the last paragraph. I too subscribed to that 420,000 number at one time. However, several years ago, those huge numbers backfired against TNR advocats, and some studies were done. Please read my article, <a href=”http://cats.about.com/od/spayneuter/f/MultiplyingCats.htm”>Can an unspayed cat really result in 420,000 cats in seven years?</a> for the details.

I took it a bit further and put together some numbers of my own, with this article: <a href=”http://cats.about.com/od/faqspregnancyandbirth/f/How-Many-Times-Could-My-Cat-Become-Pregnant-In-A-Year.htm”>How Many Times Could my Cat Become Pregnant in a Year?</a>

Best,
Franny

February 6, 2014 at 8:10 pm
(31) Sheila1977 says:

I used to think spay and neuter was wrong, argument being, how would be like it if I were forced to have hysterectomy against my will. Now I am older and wiser. People who say spay and neuter are wrong are just as intelligent az people who say hysterectomy iz wrong if its medically necessary to save life

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