Cats just seem to “show up” on your doorstep and we wonder if they are the result of being dumped. Cat owners that live in and around rural areas are more likely to feed free-roaming cats than are people who live in the cities. There are those who think that cats and dogs would eventually become extinct with required altering. Most pure-breeds are pets. Cats don’t hang around unless there’s a really good reason to do so, and if you want an outside cat, you are pretty much going to have to wait it out until one comes along. A kitten raised indoors cannot be put out to live outdoors because it has never learned how to live outdoors.
The problem of pet overpopulation is created by letting them breed and it is just one litter after another. Since humans have domesticated animals, we’ve created the tragedy of pet overpopulation. We now have the responsibility to solve it. There are hundreds of thousands of households with pets, and billions of dollars are spent yearly on pets. But as a nation, we should take a hard look at a different annual statistic: the millions of dogs and cats given up to shelters or left to die on the streets.
As pet owners, it is our responsibility to try and reduce the scale of this tragedy. The way to do this is simply by having our cats spay/neutered and urging our friends and acquaintances to do the same. Neutered pets do require fewer calories, but when placed on a proper diet and given adequate exercise, they maintain their trim figures with little difficulty. Pets acquired from animal shelters are already spay/neutered or, as we know from experience, require that you visit a participating vet to have the procedure done at a very reasonable rate. Only a small percentage of pets are acquired from animal shelters though, so neutering these animals can only have a small effect on the overall population problem. My own veterinarian’s recommendation to me, if you are not going to show the animal then by all means neuter at an early age. If everyone would follow this advice, a significant decrease in unwanted animals could result.
There are added benefits to spay/neutering beside cutting down on the cat population. The procedure can increase the lifespan of your pet and has other numerous health benefits. It reduces the urge to roam. The female will cease bleeding on your carpet, your furniture, the interior of your car, and on the ground outside. When she is outside, as soon as she has marked your yard, you can be sure that every unaltered male in a very large area will be visiting your yard.
If you are on a fixed income, have a cat that needs the operation but you can’t afford it, please don’t hesitate to call the Humane Societies or Animal agencies in your area and ask if they have any information about who might help with the cost. In our location, we have an agency by the name of the Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) that helps out with the cost of the surgeries. Keep in mind that without the operation, in less than one year’s time, each of your pet’s offspring may have his or her own litter, adding even more animals to the population.