If it’s not spayed, fix it

Animal Protection Institute

Kittens—cute, cuddly … and unwanted. That’s the problem many Sacramento cats face, a problem they share with their brothers and sisters nationwide. If left unaltered, cats and dogs breed without limit, resulting in babies that no one wants and no one takes responsibility for. It’s an old dilemma: too many kittens, not enough homes. Animal shelters end up with other people’s problems.

Some of these abandoned animals are taken to area shelters. Some get adopted, but most do not. Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation recently euthanized 270 cats in a single week. When one cat is brought in, another must be put down; there is simply not enough room. Sacramento City Animal Care Services is already over capacity with more than 100 cats.

On a national level, about 10 million cats and dogs are killed in shelters every year, while millions live miserable lives on the streets, dying from hunger, disease, injury and predation. When a cat is allowed to breed, intentionally or not, each unwanted kitten displaces another in a shelter that will never get a home. It’s a deadly solution to a crisis that could be solved with surprising ease: cats and dogs must be spayed and neutered.

Altering a companion animal—spaying a female and neutering a male—is a simple surgical procedure. Animals usually go home the same day and recover quickly. Low-cost clinics are available. Spay/USA maintains a list of these (1-800-248-SPAY), as does Friends of Animals (1-800-321-PETS).

Altering has enormous health benefits, including a much lower rate of cancer in dogs and cats. Decreased roaming and territorial behavior means animals are less likely to fight, thereby reducing the risk of wounds and infection. “Heat” cycles are eliminated, including the crying, pacing and other undesirable behaviors that come with them. Even indoor cats in heat attract loud, persistent suitors, and may escape to mate. Complications with pregnancies and subsequent vet visits are not an issue. And, of course, altering ends unwanted births.

Euthanasia in local and national shelters is a year-round, full-time epidemic. It is worse during the summer when many kittens and puppies are born, but every month of every year, healthy, adoptable, unwanted animals die. The only way to stop this killing is to educate the public about the necessity of spaying and neutering.

Spread the word, save a life.