February 25 – World Spay Day

Posted on February 25, 2014

The Humane Society wants you to know how important it is to spay or neuter your pet. The last Tuesday of February each year, the society and other organizations hold a campaign to make people more aware of this important responsibility—and to encourage veterinarians and veterinary clinics to hold events during which this kind of surgery is affordable and available to all.

Spaying is sterilizing a female animal by removing her ovaries. Neutering is sterilizing a male animal by removing his testicles.

Why would we do this to animals? Well, there is a horrific overpopulation of dogs and cats, and that means lots and lots of them are homeless, and many are captured and put into shelters. Happily, some of the animals taken to shelters are adopted, but many are “put down.” And of course, this euphemism means that they are killed. They're killed in a painless, humane way—but we would be a better society if we didn't have so many homeless dogs and cats, and if we don't put down so many strays. If every pet owner did his or her part by spaying and neutering pets, it will help make the problem smaller rather than make the problem larger.

Spayed or neutered animals actually tend to live longer, healthier lives, and they even tend to have fewer behavior problems. Of course, this results in reducing costs for the pet owner, as well.

Spaying and neutering are good for rabbits, too.

The numbers of the situation

If you are still not convinced we should be spaying and neutering our pets, consider the fact that you should either (1) provide or (2) find a good home for any puppies or kittens your pet has.

So, how many would that be?

Let's go with kittens. A female cat will usually have two to five kittens per litter, and so we can say that the average litter is three. With that female having 29 litters in 10 years, that makes 87 kittens!

Do you want to have 87 cats? I guess you'd still have the mother cat, so that would be 88 cats. And surely some of these cats would also start having kittens...so that makes it the number explode into thousands and thousands of cats!

Do you want to find good, loving homes for 87 kittens? Good luck! I once had a female cat who had five kittens—all as cute as could be! We found four good homes after a lot of effort...but we could never find a fifth family to take the “runt” of the litter, a little black kitty we had named Howie (for Halloween). Finally my husband found a kitten rescue place that would take little Howie—and he lived a full, fun life with lots of other cats in a playground-for-cats kind of setting. But he didn't have his own family to love and cuddle him.

What if you have a male cat that you do not want to neuter? Well, you may not ever see his kittens, so you may not have to provide homes for them—but you will have to walk around with the knowledge that he could be fathering 2,500 kittens each and every year that you put off neutering him.


If your tomcat lives a full life, he might father 35,000 kittens!

The numbers are similar for dogs. One unspayed female dog and her puppies can produce 67,000 puppies in just 6 years.

The saddest number is that at least three million cats and dogs are put down every year—not because they are gravely ill, or badly injured, or old and in pain—but because caring pet owners cannot find good homes for their pets' kittens and puppies.

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