Why spay your cat?

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The Humane Society of the United States estimates that six to eight million pets are surrendered to shelters each year, and that about four million are euthanized annually.

An unspayed female cat, her mate and all of their offspring, producing two litters per year, with an average of 2.8 surviving kittens per litter, can total 12 cats in one year, 67 cats within two years, and rapidly spike to 376 cats in three years, and then to an astounding 11 million cats within that single cat’s nine year reproductive lifespan, according to spayusa.org.

It is possible for a kitten to have a litter from her first heat at 5 months, and it is not medically necessary to let her have a litter before she is spayed. In fact, spaying your kitten before her first heat reduces the risk of developing mammary cancer later in life. Unspayed females are also at risk for developing uterine infections and cancer.

Cats can go into heat at any time of year. The cycles last from several days to two weeks or longer, and can repeat every few weeks for several months each year. She will typically cry and yowl and behave strangely. This behavior can draw male cats from miles around, adding male cat urine scent and cat fights to the mix.

A few myths to debunk if you have your cat spayed:

My cat will get fat: Cats get fat due to overeating and lack of exercise. Increase playtime and watch her diet to prevent obesity.

My cat’s personality will change: Your cat’s personality is more likely caused by genetics and the environment in which she was raised. She will still be the same kitty she was before you spayed her.

My cat is a purebred: There are purebred cats in shelters around the world who are in search for permanent, loving homes.

Even if you think you can find good homes for your kittens, the fact is that there are just not enough good homes out there. If you want a litter because you need a “kitten fix,” consider offering to foster a litter for your local shelter instead. And if you think you can’t afford to spay your cat, there are organizations out there that can help. Contact your veterinarian or local shelters to get more information on low-cost spay clinics or vouchers in your area.

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