World Spay Day 2019: Why Spay/Neuter Matters

February 26: World Spay Day 2019

Today is World Spay Day, an international day devoted to calling attention to the need for spaying and neutering animals across the world.

Originally founded by Doris Day and her animal organization in 1995, this day has grown into a global event.

Why spay?

The reality is that there are more animals than there are homes for. Back in the mid-90s, 14-17 million animals were euthanized in shelters each year due to overpopulation and overcrowding.

Fortunately, due to spay/neuter efforts, including educational campaigns, awareness initiatives, and low-cost clinics, those numbers have come down.
But, there is still work to be done as 2-3 million animals — healthy, loving animals who want homes — are still euthanized annually in the US alone,
due to overpopulation and lack of homes.

February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month

In honor of World Spay Day and Spay/Neuter Awareness, here are some facts and stats to emphasize the importance of spaying and neutering, particularly in cats since roaming cats produce lots of kittens!

  • Stray and feral cats are the number one source of cat overpopulation and produce up to 80 percent of the kittens born every year!
  • Female cats are “seasonally polyestrous,” which means that they have multiple estrus (heat) cycles during the breeding season, typically going into heat in mid-to-late January. A female cat will keep coming back into heat every 1-2 weeks until she is bred. Plus, unspayed females can still get pregnant while nursing.
  • Kitten Season is just around the corner! Spring is kitten season (feline gestation period is approximately 65 days), usually beginning in late March and running through the Summer. We get it, kittens are cute, but in the spring and summer, shelters are overflowing with them and they tend to get adopted first, meaning older cats are less likely to get adopted and more likely to be euthanized due to overpopulation issues.
  • Spaying refers to removing the ovaries and uterus of female cats; neutering means removing a male cats’ testicles. Although neutering typically refers to males, it is often used interchangeably for males and females, such as in TNR.
  • Statistically, unneutered male cats are by far the most likely to be involved in accidents since hormones and the desire to roam means they are less cautious around roads or busy areas.
  • A male cat can travel for miles when they pick up the scent of a female in heat. Hormones drive them to seek a mate to breed with (not for pleasure), often leading to aggressive behavior.
  • Neutering a male cat has many benefits, including stopping or reducing spraying, less aggression and fighting with other male cats, and lower risks of testicular cancer or prostate problems. Overall neutered toms are quieter, gentler, and more affectionate.
  • Spaying or neutering cats and dogs is not cruel. They do not have an emotional or psychological attachment to their genitalia. In fact, neutering animals is compassionate since it protects their health and helps them live happier safer lives.
  • Neutered dogs have lower rates of cancer and are less aggressive. Neutering dogs often eliminates aggression or other behaviorial issues. Unneutered males have a higher risk of injuries since they are more likey to stray and get into fights.
  • In female dogs, spaying greatly reduces the risks of mammary cancer and uterine infections (called pyometra).
Unneutered animals roam looking to mate, which increases their chances of getting injured or lost.

Ways to Help

Always Spay or Neuter

Always spay and neuter your pets, especially if you have outdoor or free-roaming cats. Even if you have indoor-only cats, it is better for their health and overall temperament. Plus, in the awful event your indoor cat gets out, spaying eliminates the chance of unwanted pregnancy and increases the chances of her returning home.

Be a Friend to Ferals

If you know of stray or feral cats in your community, contact a local shelter or rescue group for help. Many run TNR programs, where feral cats are trapped, neutered, and returned to their colonies. Also, be nice to ferals — they might not want to be touched, but they always appreciate food, water, shelter, and kindness. Remember, they did not choose to be homeless.

Become a foster!

We always need foster homes for cats as well as dogs. Sometimes the dogs get more attention, but all of us at STAR love cats just as much and want to help as many as possible, but we need your help! Apply to foster. 

Spread the Word

Help get the word out by sharing this post. Talk to friends and family about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets. Volunteer with an animal organization. Donate money or supplies.

Resources:

ASPCA: Spay/Neuter Your Pet

Best Friends: FAQ on Trap Neuter Return (TNR)

Humane Society: Why You Should Spay/Neuter Your Pet

Doris Day Animal Foundation: World Spay Day

Kitten season is right around the corner! Apply now to be a foster!

Pet Adoption & Children: 4 Tips to Pick the Perfect Match for Your Family

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of bringing a new friend home to your family. Whether you’re looking for a new exercise buddy, a companion for cuddling, or anything in between, choosing a new pet is a big deal.

For families with children, however, choosing the right pet can be especially hard. You want the best for your kids, and want to make sure your pet and children are the best possible fit for each other.

To help make sure your newest family member is the perfect match for you and your children, we’ve put together a list of helpful tips to help you find the ideal rescue companion.

1. Understand the Kind of Characteristics You’re Looking for in a Pet

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When it comes to pets and children, having a clear idea of what characteristics you want in your pet can go a long way. For example, dogs with high energy can make great backyard playmates and adventure buddies, but if the pet is too physical, it may not be an ideal match, especially if you have young children.

Even if you do not have young children, consider if you have other companion animals; many dogs love having a buddy, while others do best as an only pet. The same goes for cats and mixed-species households.

Plenty of dogs are great around kids (and other animals), so it is essential to understand your needs and do thorough research before adopting. Take the time to understand what kind of traits you would like your pet to have — attributes that compliment your family and your lifestyle — and look for a dog or cat that matches them best!

2. Consider Personality and Temperament Over Breed

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Too often, families will choose a pet based on the overall reputation or look of a breed. While a pet’s breed can certainly play a role in its behavior and temperament, their individual personality and overall behavior are far more critical.

Just like people, every pet has unique qualities that make him or her special. When it comes time to find the perfect match for your children, understanding these special quirks and personality traits can give you a much clearer and dependable idea of how well a potential pet will fit in with your kids.

3. Keep Your Living Space in Mind

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The type of pet you choose for your kids greatly depends on your family and your family’s living space. Large dog breeds are often better suited for households with room to accommodate their energy, such as a large fenced-in yard or close access to a park.

For those that live in apartments or smaller sized homes, it may be appropriate to consider pets more tolerant to small-space, indoor living. Cats make great household companions and don’t require a daily walk or romp around the yard. 

By keeping your living space in mind, you’ll be able to provide the ideal home for your pet, while creating an atmosphere that your pets and children can both enjoy.

4. Consider Where You’re Getting Your Pet

If you’re reading this, we’ll assume that you’re considering adopting your newest family member, which is excellent!

Good Boy

Unfortunately, breed stereotypes and misinformation can sway people to thinking they should buy a dog from a breeder or pet store. Bred animals live sad lives, often in deplorable conditions, and nearly all pet-store animals come from puppy mills. With 7.6 million companion animals in shelters across the U.S., you can rest assured that there’s a perfect pet for your children patiently waiting for a new forever home. So please, adopt, don’t shop!

When it comes to finding the perfect pet for your kids, it’s crucial to understand your new buddy as an individual, rather than a “type” —  which goes far beyond breed. Another benefit of adopting is that shelters and rescue groups know much more about the overall temperament of an animal and can help you gauge their characteristics, personality, and temperament, and get a sense of whether or not a specific pet would be a good fit within your home.

Interested in looking at local pets up for adoption? Visit our website or check us out on Facebook for a list of adoptable dogs.