Why Spay or Neuter?

If you're wondering if a trap/neuter/release program such as ours is really effective, take a moment to check out this video on a companion site www.humanesociety.org/feralcats .  It is only 4 minutes long and may surprise you....
About Spay and Neuter

The Spay procedure is routinely performed on female dogs and cats. The operation consists of the surgical removal of the ovaries and the uterus. Spaying before the first heat can reduce the incidence of tumors and breast cancer and eliminate the development of uterine infections.

The Neuter procedure is also routinely performed on male dogs and cats. The operation consists of the surgical removal of the testes. Neutering can have a calming effect on some males. It reduces the incidence of prostatic hyperplasia and the development of various cancers. Spaying and neutering helps reduce the numbers of stray animals and contributes to the reduction of euthanasia practices in many animal shelters. Both procedures help reduce a pet's future medical expenses by avoiding problems related to their reproductive systems.

The Benefits of Neutering a Male

The benefits of neutering a male are so significant, that it is possible to say that unaltered male cats cannot make good house pets. If you want to keep a male cat as a pet you simply must neuter him.

Here are some reasons, other than helping to fight the cat overpopulation crisis, which may convince you to neuter your male cat:

Prevent spraying.
Tomcats (unaltered males) spray foul-smelling urine around their territory. Neutering a male cat before he reaches sexual maturity, almost always prevents this behaviour pattern from emerging. If a tomcat had already taken to spraying, neutering is still likely to stop or at least significantly reduce the habit. The urine of a neutered cat is also less smelly.

Prevent roaming.
Tomcats tend to roam long distances. This means they are often away from home, sometimes for days on end. Roaming puts these cats in danger, as they are more likely to be hit by a car, poisoned, or be hurt by dogs and people.

Prevent injuries and disease.
Tomcats tend to get into catfights over females and territory. This means they may get injured and are more likely to be infected with disease. By the way, this also means that it is virtually impossible to keep two or more unaltered male cats together.

Common Questions About Spaying And Neutering

Here are some common questions about spaying and neutering:

At what age should I have my cat spayed/neutered?
The rule is to spay/neuter before your cat reaches sexual maturity. In fact, some in the Veterinary now support early spay and neuter for cats as early as 8-16 weeks of age. Consult your vet concerning your cat, but remember to have the cat altered before the sexual maturity (usually before the age of 5-6 months).

Will my cat get fat and lazy?
Numerous studies have show that spaying and neutering are not a cause of weight gain in cats! You can and should spay your cat without allowing her to gain weight (the same applies to male cats!). Cats become fat if they eat too much and don't get enough exercise, not because of sterilization. Your cat is not likely to get lazy or sedate either. The cat's personality is determined by its genetic make-up and by external stimuli, not by its hormone glands.

I want to have a large cat - Will neutering stop my kitten's growth?
No. Some studies indicate that early spaying/neutering actually makes the cats larger - not fat but rather taller and longer!

Will my cat be deprived of manliness/the experience of motherhood?
Please don't make the mistake of thinking about your cat in terms of human experience. Cats are not bothered by our social concepts of gender and gender-specific

Are there any risks involved?
As with any operation, there are some medical risks involved. However, these pale in comparison to the medical and behavioral advantages of spaying and neutering cats! As stated earlier, you will in effect be extending your cat's lifespan and improving her or his quality of life. Also, please bear in mind that these are among the most common operations performed by veterinarians.

How much does it cost?
The price of neutering and spaying may change according to where you live and the veterinary clinic you go to. Vets today recognize the importance of spaying and neutering cats as a means to fighting the cat overpopulation crisis. Many vets may offer significant discounts on these operations if financial difficulties are evident or if you're treating several cats (your own or strays and feral cats).

I really love kittens and I'm sure I'll find good homes for all of them - why can't I let my cat breed?
Millions of cats are euthanized each year in the United States alone. In many countries, stray and feral cats are simply poisoned by state and local authorities. The fact is that there are simply not enough good homes for the numbers of cats born each year.

Finding good homes for cats and kittens is difficult. Giving them away from a cardboard box in your supermarket's parking lot is not considered finding a good home! You need to make sure that the adopters are willing to make the commitment to care for a cat for the next twenty years.

And what if those people think like you and let their cats have kittens? Next year there will be dozens of kittens looking for homes! Do you really think you can find good homes for all of them?

There are literally millions of wonderful cats and kittens waiting to be adopted at shelters all over the country. If you're really good at finding homes for kittens, why not start with some of those? If you know anyone who's looking for a cat - great! Refer them to your local shelter and help save a cat's life!

I have a purebred cat. Surely I can breed her and find good homes for the kittens?

Please read the answer to the previous question. The Humane Society estimates that one of four cats in the shelters is a purebred cat. Unfortunately, purebred cats are just as much a part of the cat overpopulation problem as mixed-breed cats.

Breeding cats can be very complicated and requires professional knowledge about the breed and its genetics. Don't become a backyard breeder just because you own a purebred cat. You could end up with a bunch of sick kittens with congenital defects. As a matter of fact, unless the breeder who sold you the cat specifically told you otherwise, your purebred cat is probably not suitable for breeding programs and was sold to you as a pet.

If you are truly interested in breeding cats, start by reading on the subject, visiting cat shows, and discussing the technicalities and problems with as many breeders as you can. Don't start by breeding your cat without the required knowledge and expertise.

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