The Importance of Spaying and Neutering your Cat

by Mary Fariss

The Importance of Spaying and Neutering your Cat

Here in the USA, it is Spring time and summer is approaching soon.
It is a time of year that we all await after a long cold winter.
But for those of us who work with Cat Rescue, it is a time of year that we dread.

We call it “Kitten Season” and it is a time that the phones are constantly ringing from people who have found a litter of kittens somewhere on their property.
It is also a time of year that our Humane Society and Animal Shelters are over populated with these litters of kittens.

Sadly, most of these kittens do not get adopted.
Most are euthanized to keep the population under control in the shelters.
This breaks my heart but it is a sad fact.

The constant traffic of incoming kittens also makes adoption of older cats who have been waiting for a time to be adopted almost impossible.

It is a sad circle of events and very unfortunate for many young and old cats who are healthy and adoptable. But the true fact is this.

Our shelters are not big enough to accommodate the overload of kittens this time of year so euthanasia is used to bring these numbers under control.

This brings me back to the Importance of Spaying and Neutering your cat.
If every cat owner would make the choice to Spay and Neuter their cat before it reaches the age of sexual maturity then we humans could make a huge difference in the cat over population problem all over the world.
Here is a Story that will get you to thinking about this problem.

Free Kittuns
An Essay by Jim Willis, Copyright 2002 - 2007
The sign on the mailbox post was hand-lettered on cardboard and read "FREE KITTUNS." It appeared there two or three times a year, sometimes spelled this way, sometimes that, but the message was always the same.

In a corner of the farmhouse back porch was a cardboard box with a dirty towel inside, on which huddled a bouquet of kittens of different colors, mewing and blinking and waiting for their mama to return from hunting in the fields. The mother cat managed to show them enough interest for the first several weeks, but after having two or three litters per year, she was worn out and her milk barely lasted long enough for her babies to survive.

One by one, people showed up over the next several days and each took a kitten. Before they left the woman who lived there always said the same thing, "You make sure you give that one a good home - I've become very attached to that one."

One by one the kittens and their new people drove down the long driveway and past the sign on the mailbox saying "FREE KITTUNS."
The ginger girl kitten was the first to be picked. Her four-year-old owner loved her very much, but the little girl accidentally injured the kitten's shoulder by picking her up the wrong way. She couldn't be blamed really - no adult had shown her the proper way to handle a kitten. She had named the kitten "Ginger" and was very sad a few weeks later when her older brother and his friends were playing in the living room and someone sat on the kitten.
The solid white boy kitten with blue eyes was the next to leave with a couple who announced even before they went down the porch steps that his name would be "Snowy." Unfortunately, he never learned his name and everyone had paid so little attention to him that nobody realized he was deaf. On his first excursion outside he was run over in the driveway by a mail truck.

The pretty gray and white girl kitten went to live on a nearby farm as a "mouser." Her people called her "the cat," and like her mother and grandmother before her she had many, many "free kittuns," but they sapped her energy. She became ill and died before her current litter of kittens was weaned.

Another brother was a beautiful red tabby. His owner loved him so much that she took him around to meet everyone in the family and her friends, and their cats, and everyone agreed that "Erik" was a handsome boy.

Except his owner didn't bother to have him vaccinated. It took all the money in her bank account to pay a veterinarian to treat him when he became sick, but the doctor just shook his head one day and said "I'm sorry."

The solid black boy kitten grew up to be a fine example of a tomcat. The man who adopted him moved shortly thereafter and left "Tommy" where he was, roaming the neighborhood, defending his territory, and fathering many kittens until a bully of a dog cornered him and ended his life.
The black and white girl kitten got a wonderful home. She was named "Pyewacket." She got the best of food, the best of care until she was nearly five years old. Then her owner met a man who didn't like cats, but she married him anyway. Pyewacket was taken to an animal shelter where there were already a hundred cats. Then one day, there were none.

A pretty woman driving a van took the last two kittens, a gray boy and a brown tiger-striped girl. She promised they would always stay together. She sold them for fifteen dollars each to a laboratory. To this day, they are still a jar of alcohol.

For whatever reason - because Heaven is in a different time zone, or because not even cat souls can be trusted to travel in a straight line without meandering - all the young-again kittens arrived at Heaven's gate simultaneously. They batted and licked each other in glee, romped for awhile, and then solemnly marched through the gate, right past a sign lettered in gold:


That story still brings tears to my eyes but it is a sad reality that those of us in rescue see everyday, unfortunately. I would like to educate animal lovers everywhere on the importance of Spay and Neuter of our own pet cats.

Two cats this summer are 12 next. The following year, the colony will grow to 67. By year three, you will have 372 cats born that YOU could have done something about. Imagine how you will feel knowing that you could have easily taken care of this NOW.

Return to spay form.

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