Dr. Pol Says, “Spay Your Cats!”

Pet owners have a long list of reasons for NOT spaying and neutering their animals, especially their cats. They think it could hurt their cat. It’s too expensive. It’s not necessary for an indoor pet. Regardless of the reasons against it, Dr. Pol argues that there is a strong case to be made for spaying and neutering your pets. The bottom line is that many animal shelters are overpopulated and an inconceivable amount of cats (and dogs) are dying needlessly. These numbers could be substantially reduced if pet parents would simply spay and neuter their four-legged family members.

The Hard Truths

  • The leading cause of companion animal deaths in the United States is shelter euthanasia. (source: American Humane Association)
  • Every year in the United States, approximately 2.7 million homeless dogs and cats are euthanized (source: Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Most of these animals are the consequence of unexpected litters that could have been avoided by spaying and neutering.
  • There are 5 homeless animals living on the streets for every 1 homeless person.
  • An unspayed cat can be costly! The cost to spay or neuter your cat is less expensive than raising a litter of kittens for one year. And, statistically speaking, your fertile unspayed cat is likely to have two litters a year with an average of 4 to 6 kittens per litter. (source: ASPCA)

Low-cost spay and neuter clinics are in many states to make spaying and neutering affordable. You can find these low-cost vet clinics on the ASPCA database.

The Benefits of Spaying and Neutering

  • There are tremendous health benefits when pets are spayed or neutered. For females, there is a lower risk of breast cancer plus no risk of infections, cancers or diseases of the uterus.
  • A neutered male dog eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate cancer.
  • It can also impact behavioral problems in males such as urinating in the house, mounting, excessive roaming. It may also reduce aggression.

Spay/Neuter Surgery – Common Questions

  • When should I get my cat spayed/neutered? It is common to have the surgery as early as two months or when an animal is at least two pounds. However, four months is the average age it is performed. For dogs, some areas have laws that require it to be spayed or neutered by a certain age so you should check with your local veterinarian.
  • Should I let my female have a litter before spaying? It is better to have the surgery prior to her first heat. Plus, allowing that one heat is a senseless way to contribute to pet overpopulation. If your animal does have a litter, you should wait about four to five weeks to have the surgery.
  • Is the surgery painful? Your pet will certainly feel no pain during the surgery. Normally animals are provided pain medication which will alleviate their discomfort for eight to twelve hours. Additional post-op infection preventing veterinary medication may be given to administer once you take him home but usually they will only feel mild soreness. Everything should be back to normal within 48 – 72 hours.

Debunking the Myths

  • Pets will not gain weight because they have been spayed. You can help your animal stay a healthy weight by not over feeding her and making sure he gets enough exercise.
  • There is no impact on your dogs’ ability to protect you. Proof of this is the fact that many law enforcement canine units neuter their dogs.
  • If you think your cat is adorable and you know that can find good homes for the kitten, think again. Even if you are able to find them good homes, those are homes that could have welcomed an unwanted cat waiting for a loving home at your local animal rescue shelter. The truth is that the horrifying overpopulation in animal shelters is propagated one litter at a time.

The Final Word from Dr. Pol. . .

“I love fluffy little kittens just like the next guy, but if you want a companion for a pet, seeing so many of those little guys in shelters is so sad. Here’s an idea – spay your cat and then go down to your local animal shelter and rescue a kitty!”

Animals come first.