Spay Aware Ireland - Cats

CATS

Spay Aware Cat

The Problem: Too many cats and not enough homes!

Cats - An unspayed female cat, her unneutered mate and all of their offspring, producing 2 litters with 2.8 surviving kittens per year, can total 11,606,077 cats in only 9 years. (Source: Spay USA)

The Solution?

Have your own pet spayed or neutered. Help out during Spay Week Ireland by encouraging and educating friends, family and neighbours to have their animals spayed and neutered. Sponsor the spaying and neutering of a shelter animal.

What Do the Terms “Spaying” and “Neutering” Mean?

“Spaying” and “neutering” are surgical procedures used to prevent pets from reproducing. In a female animal, “spaying” consists of removing the uterus and ovaries. The technical term is ovario-hysterectomy. For a male animal, “neutering” involves the removal of the testicles, and this is known as castration.

Does It Hurt?

As the surgery is done under a general anaesthetic it is painless. The operation for both males and for females is straightforward and low risk. Recovery is usually uneventful. The worst your pet might experience is some discomfort for a short time after the operation.

When Should It Be Done?:

“The traditional recommendation was that cats should be spayed at 6 to 7 months, but the latest advice is that the operation can be done earlier, at 4 – 5 months of age. Since cats can become reproductively active at this earlier stage, it does make sense to get the operation done sooner rather than later, to minimise the risk of unwanted kittens.

The Myth: “Shouldn’t A Female Pet Have One Litter First?”

The Facts: Allowing a female dog or cat to produce a litter does not have any benefits. There are health risks to the mother during the pregnancy and when giving birth. Finding good homes for puppies and kittens isn’t easy. Plus, even if you manage to place your pet’s offspring, you are in essence condemning that number of unwanted shelter and pound animals. Irish local authorities have to destroy over 25,000 unwanted dogs every year. To help visualise this figure: If one dog was killed every five minutes, this would equal over two thousand continual hours of killing. This is equivalent to eight hours a day, 52 weeks a year of continual killing.

The Myth: Spaying and Neutering are not “natural.”

Humans domesticated animals and brought them into our lives. The environment we and our pets live in is very different from the ‘natural’ one. We have made them dependent on us, which means we are responsible for their well being, just as we are with any other family member. What’s natural about getting ‘rid’ of the resultant litters of unspayed animals in dumpsters, drowning or destruction in the pound?

The Myth: “I want my children to ‘experience the miracle of birth.’

This isn’t a very good reason to let your animal procreate. First, animals usually give birth in a secluded place. Second, wouldn’t it be better to teach your children the importance of responsible pet ownership? Once again, do you want to contribute to the misery of overpopulation? To understand the scope of the overpopulation problem, scan the papers and notice all the ‘free to good home’ ads, talk to your vet, and/or call local pounds and animal welfare groups. They’ll tell you first hand about our overpopulation crisis.

Maura Derrane

The Myth: My pet will become fat and lazy once he or she is sterilized.

Pets become fat and lazy as a result of overeating and a lack of exercise, not from spaying or neutering. Your pet will actually benefit from spaying or neutering, because he or she will lead a healthier and longer life. Furthermore, spaying a female eliminates the possibility of her developing uterine and/or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the chance of breast cancer. Neutering a male reduces the incidence of prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.

The Myth: It will change my pet’s personality.

Generally not. For a female there is virtually no change at all. For males it usually results in a diminishing of some aggressive behaviours. Spayed/neutered pets are free from sexual anxiety and are, therefore, calmer and more content to stay at home. You also have the peace of mind that you are not adding to the pet overpopulation. Also, if you have more than one pet, you will find they get along much better if they are all spayed or neutered.

How does spaying and neutering animals contribute to the community?

Ethical: Reducing the number of animals born is the only ethical solution to overpopulation that will have a long-term effect. Killing is not an ethical means of reducing the number of animals.

Financial: Increasing the number of animals sterilized will reduce the number of animals born and will, therefore, reduce the number of animals entering shelters. This, in turn, will reduce animal control costs.

Public Health and Safety: Reducing the number of animals born will benefit public health and safety. For example, a reduction in surplus animals will mean a reduction in: dogs running loose, animals causing traffic hazards, quarantines, dog bites, dog fights, barking complaints, dog droppings. (Source: The Fund for Animals ­ Kim Sturla)

What is It Going To Cost To Spay/Neuter My Pet?

The cost of spaying or neutering your pet depends on many factors. For example, a large dog will cost more than a small dog; if your pet is overweight or in season this can also add to the cost. Contact your veterinarian to get a more accurate idea of the costs involved for your pet. The cost of spaying/neutering is really quite small when compared, for example, to what you will spend on food for your pet over its lifetime. Also consider the possible costs if you do not spay and neuter. If your pet should wander off in search of a mate, you may be faced with paying fines and impoundment costs. Worse yet, think of the costs should your pet be injured while roaming for a mate.