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!

What Are Pets Good For? 5 Reasons to Adopt a Pet.

The 2015-2016 APPA survey indicates that 65% of U.S. households include a pet. Ever wonder what all the fuss is about? Whether you’re seriously considering getting a pet, or just curious about why so many people do, here are 5 reasons that explain exactly what pets are good for.

1. Pets are good for your heart.

cat

Source: Unsplash

Really, they are! According to the CDC, owning a pet can result in lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Why? Probably because pets tend to have a calming effect on their owners, helping to combat stress, and because pets can help you stay more active. If you want to know more, check out this article from Harvard Healthy Publications.

2. Pets are good for helping you lose weight.

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Source: Pexels

You wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds, but you know you don’t exercise enough. Sound familiar? Owning a pet, especially a dog, can be a great motivation to get up, get outside, and get moving. This article from Weight Watchers notes a study that showed participants who walked as little as 20 minutes a day, five times a week, lost an average of 14 pounds!

3. Pets are good for your social life.

Want to be more social? Pet ownership not only gives you an instant animal pal, but can help you make more human friends as well. For example, one study found that pet owners were 60% more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood! Just taking your dog for a walk can be a great way to meet new people and any kind of pet gives you an instant conversation starter.

crowd

Source: Pixabay

4. Pets are good for your mental health.

hammock

Source: Unsplash

If you ever feel stressed out, anxious, depressed, or lonely, having a pet can help to relieve these negative emotions and improve your overall mental health. Partially, for all the reasons listed above, like getting outside and being more active, but also because of the hormone oxytocin.

Oxytocin is released during physical contact and plays a big role in human relationships, causing us to feel more relaxed, trusting, and psychologically stable (PyschCentral). But did you know that interacting with your pet can also increase your oxytocin levels? For more on the psychological benefits of pet ownership, check out this Psychology Today article or this one from Huffington Post.

5. Pets are good for your children.

Have your kids been begging for a pet? There are plenty of reasons to give in. Not only can your children enjoy all the above benefits, but there is research that indicates having pets in the home actually reduces your child’s risk of developing some types of allergies. Is your child learning to read? Pets also make great reading buddies, since kids may feel more relaxed reading aloud to a pet than to an adult.

kids

Source: Unsplash

Pets are great for all these reasons and so many more! If you live in Massachusetts or New Hampshire and are considering fostering or adopting a rescue animal, visit our website to learn more about Survivor Tails Animal Rescue. If you live somewhere else, we encourage you to seek out shelters and animal rescue organizations in your area. There are many, many healthy, loving animals just waiting for a good home!

Of course, pet ownership may not be for everyone. Next week, we’ll be talking about things to consider before you adopt, so keep watching for that!

In the meantime, if you already own a pet or are seriously thinking about getting one, take a moment to comment and let us know what you love about pets!

7 Ways to Get Involved with Survivor Tails Animal Rescue

featured-getinvolved

2.4 million healthy, adoptable pets are euthanized in shelters every year (Humane Society). Here at Survivor Tails Animal Rescue, we work with volunteers and communities to rescue cats and dogs from this fate and place them in loving homes. If you would like to get involved, here are seven ways you can make a difference today.

1. Foster a rescue animal.

mattie

Mattie is one of the many pets currently available for adoption.

If you are in the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut, you can become one of our foster families. Since we have no shelter, we rely on our incredible fosters to care for the cats and dogs we rescue while they wait to be placed in their forever homes. Fostering a rescue animal through Survivor Tails is free, aside from food and toys, and we ensure that every animal is fully vetted and spayed or neutered if of age.

You can learn more about our foster program or fill out an online application by visiting our website.

2. Adopt a rescue animal.

For individuals or families who are ready to welcome a pet into their home permanently, you can save a life by adopting a rescue animal. Visit our Adopt page to learn more.

3. Volunteer with Survivor Tails.

In addition to fostering or adopting animals, we always need people who are willing to help out. From processing applications to assisting with animal transportation, there are plenty of ways you can be a part of Survivor Tails. Click here to find out more or to fill out an online volunteer application.

4. Donate to Survivor Tails.

Each rescue comes with many financial costs, such as pull fees, transport, vetting, fixing, quarantining, training, and more. Since the money we receive from adoption fees does not always cover these costs, we depend on the generous donations of our supporters. Each donation helps us to save more lives. You can donate by visiting our website.

5. Shop from our Amazon Wish List.

Purchasing one or more items from our Amazon Wish List is a simple, but significant way to help us keep the animals we rescue safe, healthy, and happy. The list includes items like toys, leashes, treats, and bedding. Whatever your price range, your gift will go to help an animal in need.

6. Come to an event.

You can support Survivor Tails and meet some of our great volunteers and supporters by attending one of our community events. We don’t have an event on the schedule for the next few weeks, but you can watch for future events by periodically checking out our Facebook Events Page.

7. Spread the word.

Finally, the easiest and quickest way you can get involved today is to share our mission with friends and family on social media.

  • Share this post.
  • Like our Facebook page. While you’re there, check out some of our recent posts and share one or two with your friends.
  • Follow us on Twitter and like or retweet some of our tweets.
  • Visit the About page on our website and scroll down to the Press section. Read and share one or more of the news stories that have been written about Survivor Tails.

As a volunteer-only organization, we know the value of each person who decides to get involved. Whether your contribution is time, money, or a loving home for a rescue animal, there is something that you can do today to help us save lives and combat the problems of animal overpopulation.

How will you make a difference today?

Featured image via Pixabay.