Thursday, February 21, 2019

Why You Should Spay/Neuter Your Cat And How You Can Afford It

Spaying or neutering a pet is often a hot topic amongst pet parents. I’ve personally known people who refuse spay/neuter surgery for a variety of reasons, and I’ve even had debated conversations with family members. Spaying/neutering your cat is one of the greatest acts of kindness you can show them because it will improve their lives and health long term. Spaying/neutering also helps control pet overpopulation and saves thousands of cats’ lives every year.  


why you should spay or neuter your cat


My experience has been that some cat parents are either uninformed or misunderstand the benefits of this important procedure. Today I’ll explore some key reasons your cat should be spayed/neutered and hopefully debunk some myths as well.



Why You Should Spay/Neuter Your Cat


Your Cat Will Live a Longer, Happier, and Healthier Life


USA Today published an article in May 2013 stating that cats (and dogs) who live in states with higher spay/neuter rates have longer life spans. Spaying your female cat prior to their first heat cycle greatly reduces their risk of uterine infections and uterine/breast cancer. Neutered male cats are at less risk to develop prostate gland enlargement and perianal tumors.  

Unneutered male cats have a tendency to roam and are at a higher risk of being injured or of becoming infected with feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia. Once neutered, their instinct to breed is reduced, and they are happier to stay at home. 




why you should spay/neuter
Photo via ASPCA

It’s Cost Effective

In the long run, spaying/neutering your cat will be more cost effective than not doing it. Since your cat is at less risk for serious health issues (see above), you will avoid costly surgeries and treatments which could easily run in the thousands of dollars. Additionally, the cost of a spay/neuter surgery is much less than having to care for a litter of kittens (the cost of which includes not only food but veterinary care as well.) And if your male cat roams, or get out of the house, and happens to find himself in a real life cat fight with another territorial male, the vet bills from injuries could be costly.

It Eliminates “Problem” Behaviors

Spaying/neutering generally reduces the undesirable behaviors that many cat owners find frustrating. Your neutered male cat will not have the instinct to mark his territory; i.e, he will not spray urine around your house.  According to the Human Society of the United States, neutering your male cat can solve 90% of all marking issues. Neutered males have less of a desire to roam because their instinct to breed is reduced. Thus, they will be protected from community dangers (cars, larger predators, etc.) because they will be happier to stay at home.

Spayed females will not go into their heat cycle and will not experience the related constant crying and howling, pacing, and sometimes spotting. 

why you should spay/neuter
Photo via Ershova_Veronika getty images

It Decreases Animal Over Population

Let’s face it, street life is tough for a cat. Winters are harsh, summers are hot, and many times food is scarce. Not to mention the dangers that community cats face. Many who do find their way to a shelter are often euthanized because they are deemed “unadoptable”. The Humane Society of the United State estimates that between 6 and 8 million animals enter shelters every year. Six to 8 million! And barely half of them are adopted. Their fates can be changed simply by spaying and neutering. 


Let’s Debunk a Few Myths

Many pet owners are misinformed regarding spaying and neutering and there are a few myths floating around. Let’s take a look at a few. 


My Cat Will Get Fat

According to Alley Cat Allies, cats require fewer calorie to maintain a healthy weight after being sterilized. If an altered cat is gaining weight it can more likely be due to lack of exercise and excessive food than being spayed or neutered.

why you should spay/neuter
Photo via deposit photos

My Cat Should Experience Motherhood at Least Once

Alley Cat Allies has a wealth of information regarding spaying and neutering. They tell us that female cats do not need to experience motherhood. They don’t reproduce because they want to, they reproduce because Mother Nature (their hormones) tells them they have to. A spayed female cat has no urge to reproduce because they no longer go into heat. 

My Cat’s Personality Will Change

In part, this is true. Your cat’s personality will change, but in a positive way. (See above regarding roaming, howling, spraying, etc.) The characteristics of your cat’s personality that you love will remain the same after they are sterilized. 


why you should spay or neuter your cat

My Cat Will Never be Around Other Cats

Even if your cat will be an “only child”, they should still be spayed or neutered. As stated above, neutered males are less likely to roam and look for a mate. And if and if they do get out, they cannot impregnate another cat. The health benefits of spaying/neutering are worth doing it. 

It Costs Too Much

Many pet parents believe the cost of spaying and neutering is cost prohibitive. While going to your private vet can be on the expensive side, there are many low cost options available. I’ll delve into this below. 


why you should spay or neuter your cat
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How to Find Low Cost Spay Neuter Programs

Understandably, pet parents often opt not to spay/neuter due to the cost. While going to your private vet can be expensive, there are affordable options that will enable you to take care of your pet. A good place to start is doing a search for low cost spay/neuter programs in your area. I did a search for my hometown and when I entered “low cost spay neuter Rockland County NY” many options came up, including Hudson Valley Human Society where I adopted Lexy.


cat pawsitive pro|jackson galaxy


If for some reason you don’t find an alternative that works for you in your area, here are some websites that may be helpful: 


If you live in or near New York City, these are great resources: 


I hope this article was informative and educational and gives you tools to educate people you know. Let’s make cats happy and save lives along the way by spreading the word about the benefits of spaying and neutering. 

Are your cats spayed and neutered? Have you ever encountered someone who didn’t want to spay or neuter their cats? 

Dawn


Additional Resources: 




30 comments:

  1. I wuz neutered at my rescue as a kitten. All of da animals here are spayed or neutered - no puppies or kittens unless da momma's choose to add to da family!

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  2. My human comes from a long line of humans who spay and neuter - her grandmother sent her farm cat off to be spayed... in the 1950s! The funny part of it is that "Minnie" wasn't a she - she was a he! So he got neutered. My human has a photo somewhere of her pestering Minnie when she was about three. In spite of being an indoor/ outdoor cat, first at the farm in Covina, and then at my human's parents' house, Minnie lived to be 24.

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  3. You're so true, and it's so important ! We agree, it's better educating people instead of just telling them they're wrong : it takes longer, but is finally more powerful (we misspelled and wrote first pawerful, MOL !) Purrs

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  4. thanks for this....it still astounds mom that people aren't doing this. she saw WAY too many lives lost in a local open intake humane society just due to lack of space.

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  5. Terrific post! We've always been all in on the spay and neuter thing, that's the way it should be...pay attention humans!

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  6. Spay & Neuter rocks! Good way to get the point across today, it's still unbelievable that folks don't get this done - wait a minute, it's VERY believable when I think about it - that is how we ended up with a multi-cat household - taking in unwanted kits that the neighbors through out!

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  7. Great post. Thanks so much for doing it.

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  8. We had a co-worker who thought he'd only get his male cat fixed, and left his females unspayed. Well, one fine day, a window screen was broken out, and ALL FOUR of his females got out and got pregnant! So, in his effort to go cheap, it cost a whole lot more! Low-cost spay/neuter clinics are everywhere, but some people may feel embarrassed to ask; I wish folks would get over it!

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  9. Great post!

    Athena was spayed at 5 months.

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

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  10. We are big proponents of spaying and neutering. We’re fortunate enough to have a low cost spay/neuter clinic near us.

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  11. Excellent post. I wish all people would spay and neuter.

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  12. Lola, they should put your face on posters - I don't know anyone that could look at you and not melt. Not really related to the post - but what came to mind.

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  13. Lola, Lexy and Mom Dawn, you each and everyone of you rock. Excellent information, all of it and giving readers the means to find a lower cost spay and neuter was wonderful. I just grinned and beared it (bore? 😻) and cleaned out my wallet for my kids, but to find it less expensive would have been super. They're worth it of course and they have lived happily every after. The boy cats and the girl cats through the years.

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  14. I don't have a lot of experience with cats. Both my dogs are neutered, but I wait until my personal pets are older and done growing before getting them fixed. I do believe, with dogs at least, there can be cons associated with fixing them especially when it's done at a very young age. A lot of people are on one side of the fence or the other, when I personally appreciate a more balanced outlook and like to learn everything I can about both the pros and the potential cons. In general, though, I'm pro spay/neuter especially for animals like cats and dogs - there are just too many of them being killed in shelters.

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  15. For me there was never a question as to whether or not I would fix my cats - the answer was always yes. Lately I've been noticing some chat about how perhaps it's not the best thing to do or is that only dogs, not sure. As with anything you'll always have the pros and the cons. If I remember a statistic clearly, one breeding pair of cats are responsible for 144,000 kittens. A staggering figure and one that should get everyone on the fence reconsidering their position. Imagine all the unfixed cats having access to the outdoors! I'm glad you debunked all those myths as well.

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  16. It's never been a question for me if I was going to spay or neuter my pets, it was just a given that I would. You make valid points as to the benefits for doing so. I still am a little taken back when someone tells me their pet is not spayed or neutered. Wonderful post

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  17. Great post! When we found our first stray (Dexter), it was never a question that we'd get him fixed even though he'd be an indoor only cat. I wish everyone would spay/neuter their pets.

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  18. This is SUCH an important message!!! I can't even imagine not spaying or neutering my pets. The alternative just doesn't make sense.

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  19. Not knowing anything about cats, are there any medical problems that can stem from early spay/neuter like it can happen in dogs?

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  20. This is such an important topic I wish everyone would spay and neuter their pets. Prevention is the best way to reduce the population as well as cancer. Our pets benefit as they will live longer.

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  21. Great post! SO many reasons you listed as to why people avoid getting their pets fixed is so true. As a volunteer and foster for a low cost spay /neuter clinic I've heard the same thing. Thanks for sharing the importance of spay/neuter. It's so important. To add to your list, People for Animals (in Northern New Jersey) is another resource for low cost spay neuter for cats and dogs only. www.pfaonline.org Dogs are about (based on weight) $135+ and up/ Cats $90

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  22. Pawsum posty. Lots of peeps includin' our VETs wanted mommy to breed us. Ragdolls are rare in our State. We couldn't believe it. And of course, mommy said No way Jose. MOL She got us spayed 'round 6 months old. She likes kitty to develop a bit so the VET doesn't miss somethin'. It's happened too many times and requires a whole new surgery and lots of tests cuz it's the last thing they look fur. Big hugs

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Raena

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  23. Great, informative post Dawn! I'm amazed that there are still people who refuse to spay & neuter their cats and dogs! There is so much ignorance out there. Most municipal shelters offer very low cost spay/neuter, and there are many other organizations that offer it as well.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  24. Yes, yes and yes! Thank you for this really important post, Dawn, and for setting the record straight. Spaying and neutering really do work!

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  25. I hope this important message reaches a lot of people! I'm grateful that there are so many low cost (and sometimes free) spay and neuter clinics to help cut down on pet overpopulation and health issues.

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  26. Excellent post. Truffle and Brulee were spayed around 7 months of age because they are Persians. Our breeder recommended this amount of time because Persians tend to mature later.

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  27. The key is access to low cost or free spay and neuter resources. I know that in my area having a low cost clinic really made a difference. But the lack of transportation is still a barrier.

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  28. Some of the ',myths' make you roll your eyes don't they. I mean really every cay needs to be a mother, will get fat? Thank goodness we have posts like this to point people and say SEE. LOOK and really you DON'T NEED more kittens!!!

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  29. Our Mom has spayed and neutered and vaccinations 80+ strays in her adult lifetime out of her own pocket. Preventing kittens galore who will have a hard time finding a home is worth the cost. Great article!

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  30. As someone that gets to foster the aftermath of what not spaying and neutering results in I can say first hand nope your cat does not need or want to experience motherhood. Even young females will have 3 or more often many more kittens and become overwhelmed and unable or unwilling to care for them all.
    When you check on the kittens and realize momma has been laying on one and you need to perform mouth to mouth. With first litters expect to have to revive kittens over the first several days. The little jelly bean sized kittens are adorable until they start getting to the age where they are moving around on their own and getting ready to eat and your realize maybe the kittens aren't as healthy as you though.
    That's not to say that I don't love getting to spend time with the kittens but no overwhelming majority of cats does not need to experience motherhood.
    Also have you witnessed female cats in heat that are carrying on? Not sure that would be a fun house to live in for a while.
    Also boy cats marking all over the house is a big nope for me.

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