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February: Spay & Neuter Month

Part 1: What's the Big Deal About Spay and Neuter?

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Photo of rescued stray cat  & kittens

Cage of Rescued Stray & Kittens

Photo Credit: © Dick Olsen
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.

Misconceptions About Spay & Neuter:

  • She needs to have one litter before spaying.
    There is no medical research to support this supposition. In fact, spaying your female cat will not only save her the misery of frequent heat cycles throughout her life, but also will reduce her risk of mammary cancer, and eliminate the risk of uterine and ovary cancer, as well as pyometra. If none of these arguments are convincing enough, consider the possible complications of birth, which may result in the death of mother and/or babies, not to mention the potential threat of eclampsia.
  • I'd like for my kids to witness the Miracle of Birth
    Rather than add to the cat overpopulation problem, watch this video first, then ask yourself if this kind of live experience is worth having your kids watch. Even better yet, read "Misty, the One in a Million Cat" to your children.
  • Spaying or neutering will make my cat fat and lazy.
    All cats have the potential of getting fat and lazy. Feeding your cat an appropriate premium food and engaging with her in interactive exercise will keep her in prime physical condition.

    For other myths and facts, see link on the sidebar.

Reasons to Spay & Neuter

  • Promote Good Health
    We've discussed female cats above. Neutering male cats will prevent testicular cancer. It will also vastly reduce the urge to fight other males, which inevitably leads to abscesses, torn ears, and sometimes death.
  • Reduce Potential Behavior Problems
    Unaltered male cats spray indiscrimately, and their urine has a pungent, musky odor that is extremely difficult to remove from walls, furniture, and drapes. Unspayed female cats also spray - it is a natural instinct designed to attract a mate. In addition, unaltered cats of both sexes will stop at nothing to escape the house for mating purposes.
  • Help Prevent Overpopulation
    The first two reasons are personal; this one is universal. You may think that because you can find good homes for your cat's babies, that you're not contributing to the problem. Think again. There are simply not enough "good homes" to go around. For every kitten you place in a good home, another cat loses its life in a shelter or pound.

    If you want the "kitten experience," consider fostering a litter from a shelter for a rescue group. You will have the joy of seeing them in their "cute" period (which lasts only a few months), and you will have the satisfaction of helping, rather than contributing to the problem.

Hopefully, if you've read this far, you're convinced of the value of spaying and neutering your own cats. Wait! There's lots more that you can do to help the hundreds of thousands of cats in need of S/N. And this month is a good time to start.

Next > Ways to make a difference

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