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!

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5 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

You might be thinking about a special person in your life this month, but February is also a time to think your pets! In addition to Valentine’s Day, we’re also celebrating National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. If you haven’t already, this is a great time to take your pet in to get spayed or neutered. And if you’re wondering whether or not you should, here are five reasons why it’s important.

1. It saves lives!

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Source: Pixabay

According to the Humane Society, between six and eight million animals enter shelters every year. While about half of those will end up getting adopted, the rest are tragically euthanized. It’s clear that pet overpopulation is a big problem! When responsible pet owners spay and neuter their pets, they are working to solve that problem.

2. It’s good for your pet’s health.

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Source: Pixabay

Spaying and neutering can reduce the risk of certain health conditions. For example, spaying female pets before their first litter can help to prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, while neutering your male pets can prevent prostate problems (see ASPCA). This article from USA Today lists spaying and neutering as one of the key factors related to longer life spans in pets.

3. It saves money.

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Source: Pixabay

While some pet owners may shy away from the cost involved in spaying or neutering their pets, it really does save money in the end. If your pet is healthier, you’ll have fewer vet bills. Treating the type of health problems mentioned above can get expensive, so avoiding them is going to be good for your wallet. Caring for litters of puppies and kittens can be also be costly.

Fortunately, there are lost cost spay and neuter programs all over the country. Check out this Humane Society page for an easy provider search as well as some suggestions for what to do if you can’t find an affordable option in your area.

4. It can prevent bad behavior.

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Source: Pixabay

Some unsavory pet habits are less often seen in spayed or neutered pets. These include the tendency to mark territory by spraying urine all over, mounting other pets or people, roaming, and aggression (see ASPCA). Of course, spaying or neutering won’t completely solve all of these problems, but it can go a long way toward preventing them.

5. It’s good for your community.

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Source: Pixabay

Pet overpopulation isn’t just bad for the pets who end up getting euthanized, according to this WebMD article. It’s also bad for the community. Stray animals living on the streets can cause all sorts of problems, from property damage to car accidents. Seeing that your pets are spayed or neutered helps reduce the number of animals that wind up as strays.

Show your love for your pets, your community, and domestic animals everywhere by spaying or neutering your pets this month!

Adoption Spotlight: Check Out Some of the Amazing Pets Waiting for Adoption

Thinking about getting a pet? There’s no better way to bring a four-footed friend into your home than to adopt one in need! When you adopt through Survivor Tails Animal Rescue, or another rescue organization, you are saving a life and helping to offset the problem of overpopulation in America.

Here are two of the amazing animals currently hoping to be adopted:

bullseyeBullseye

Bullseye is a three-year-old Pit/Beagle mix who is great with people, children, and other dogs! His former owner loved him very much, but got into a situation where she could no longer care for him. Now he’s looking for a new home and a family to love! He weighs about 45 to 50 pounds and is good on a leash and in the car. You can check out his profile at RescueMe.org.

lilyLily

Lily is a Tiger Cat who enjoys head scratches and naps in warm places. A stray on the streets outside Boston, Lily was found when she had a litter of kittens in someone’s backyard. A kind stranger took the family into their home, but now that her kittens are growing up, Lily is ready to find a forever home of her own. She has been diagnosed with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). While cats with FIV can live long, healthy lives, Lily would be best as an only cat. If you think you might like to give this sweet kitty a home, check out her profile on RescueMe.org.

These are just two of the hopefuls waiting in Survivor Tails’ foster homes for a second chance at life. You can see more adoptable rescue animals at RescueMe.org and PetFinder.com. You can also check out our Facebook page for information about newly rescued animals and to find out more about what we do at Survivor Tails Animal Rescue.