It’s World Spay Day and we’re advocating for Feline Fix By Five.
I get asked all the time when is ideal time to spay/neuter.
There is no controversy surrounding the fact that cats should be spayed or neutered. But it is not IF, but WHEN, that is the issue. Our shelters are overrun with unwanted cats, and the number of feral and stray cats continues to generate opposition and hostility to cats. Fewer cats would go a long way to solving a number of problems for people and for the cats. There is a movement towards earlier spay/neuter by five months of age.
The Feline Fix by Five initiative has been positively received and endorsed by many veterinarians nationwide and organizations such as The Cat Fanciers’ Association, The Winn Feline Foundation, The Catalyst Council, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians and the American Association of Feline Practitioners For more information, check out their website: www.FelineFixbyFive.org. You’ll find plenty of resources including low cost spay/neuter in your area (hopefully).
Three interesting facts:
- A recent study by IPSOS Marketing commissioned by Petsmart Charities found that about 75% of people surveyed either did not know when cats should be spayed/neutered — or thought it was six months or later
- Veterinarians in the past have not been consistent in recommending when to spay/neuter. Most often “six months or older” is recommended even though cats can have litters as young as four months in some areas.
- Cats that are sterilized before first heat have a very significantly lower risk of developing mammary gland cancer. Significantly in this case is over 90%.
If veterinarians educate their clients, and the general public becomes aware of the impact of earlier spaying for felines, the numbers of cats entering shelters will decline as will rates of mammary gland cancer in felines. This one change has the potential to eliminate enormous suffering, prevent much of the homelessness that cats currently experience, and raise the status of cats. Once every cat is a wanted cat felines will take their rightful place as household royalty as they so richly deserve.
To drive the message home, KITTENS. Let’s enjoy kitten videos but please spay/neuter since there will always be more kittens than there are homes. Most no-kill shelters are not ideal havens. They kill, only less and what is humane about a kitten surrendered to a shelter who doesn’t get adopted?
I’ve seen cats grow up in a shelter setting, never knowing a real home. Some in cages, some in cage-free areas but essentially warehoused in a high-stress environment. They’re not killed but is it living?
When no-kill shelter get full as they always do, they close the doors to admissions. What do think happens to those kittens someone can’t find a home for? They are often set free in alleys or dumped in the woods or worse. The kindest solution is to spay/neuter.