February 28th – World Spay Day: The Human Connection

 Please continue to read about the human connection and what we all can do to help in the battle against cat overpopulation.



Cat overpopulation is a huge problem and the numbers of cats on the streets and in shelters is staggering, ranging upward of 70 million in the United States alone. Cats can reproduce at an alarming rate and an unspayed/neutered cat pair leads up to 5,000 cats in 7 years.

We might not think that we can do anything to help, or that we are not the cause, or that it is not our responsibility, but think again. Unless we as people intervene and act responsibly on their behalf, cats will continue to procreate and the problem will never solve itself. A cat does not have the wherewithal to have itself spayed or neutered. ONLY A HUMAN DOES.

The 10 Simple Steps to Responsibility:

1. The ideal circumstance is to keep your cat indoors and to have it spayed or neutered. Even if a cat never goes outside, it is still healthier for the cat, as it can increase a cat’s life expectancy. Spaying also reduces the risk of uterine and mammary cancer and neutering prevents testicular and prostate cancer. And no matter how careful we are, sometimes an indoor cat can accidentally get outside and find an opportunity to mate.

2. If you allow your pet cat to roam freely outdoors, it is imperative you have that cat spayed or neutered. If you do not accept that responsibility, it is highly likely that you are contributing to the cat overpopulation problem and that kind of negligence is part of the overall issue. This kind of irresponsibility is one of the reasons communities have feral cat problems and why shelters are crowded. Your lack of action does have a direct reaction.

3.  Even with the best intentions, life is not always perfect and you might be faced with a litter of kittens that you did not expect because you did not spay your female cat in time. In that case, you need to accept responsibility for your cat. Either find good homes for the kittens after they are weaned or keep them yourself. They can be brought to a shelter, but keep in mind  shelters are already too crowded. Dumping them on the street is illegal and should NEVER be an option. If you can take the concerted time and effort to dump kittens, you can just as easily pick up the phone and ask a shelter for help. Also, nursing cats can still become pregnant. Keep your  fertile female away from circumstances that could cause another litter and have her spayed as soon as safely possible.

4. It is now recommended that “pre-pubertal” spaying and neutering be done with a kitten, ideally between 8 and 12 weeks of age (or as soon as they weigh at least 2 pounds). A female cat can become pregnant as early as 4 months of age and pre-pubertal spaying will eliminate the possibility of that happening. The cat will recover quicker than an older cat and it is the only way to prevent a possible litter. Your female cat does not need to experience her first heat before you have her spayed and your male cat will not become “emasculated” if you neuter him. In reality, your cats will be less aggressive, happier, and bad spraying habits can be reduced or eliminated. 

5. Lack of money should not be a reason to not have your cat spayed or neutered. There are numerous low-fee, or even free clinics that offer assistance. Just ask for help instead of ignoring the situation.

6. Even if you don’t have a cat, or don’t even like cats, by virtue of living in a community, it should be your civic duty to be responsible. Stray and feral cats roaming the streets will procreate and cat overpopulation will continue to escalate unless TNRM (Trap, Neuter, Return, Manage) programs are put into place. Support your community, either by donations, or by understanding how important it is for these programs to be put in place and managed. If you chose to turn your head and have the attitude that it is not your problem, nothing will be solved.

7. TNRM is a proven method for reducing cat overpopulation humanely. It does not require further studies or research like finding a cure for cancer to see if it works. It already is a cure and it does work, but it must be supported and embraced by the community to remain effective.

8. If you are a single cat household because you think your cat will not like another cat, please reconsider and think about adopting another cat as a companion for your cat. It might take a while for the cats to get along, but with patience and understanding, multi-cat households can be a wonderful experience for all of you and you would be helping to reduce the overcrowding in shelters. Senior cats, in particular, are in desparate need of good homes and these often overlooked older cats make loving and devoted pets.

9. Many cats are brought to shelters because of behavioral issues. Rather than resort to that, try to figure out the root cause of the problem. Ask your vet for help or look to refutable websites and books on the subject. More times than not, with some understanding and patience, the situation can correct itself and the cat does not need to be brought to a shelter.

10. Bob Barker used the catch phrase “Have your pet spayed or neutered.” While that is a great sentiment, those are empty words unless we truly understand the full scope of what they mean. We as people MUST accept the responsibility and have our pets spayed and neutered. 70 million cats on the streets and in shelters is unacceptable and we are the only ones with the power to make it change.

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  1. excellent and most important post.

    i have a dear friend here in Michigan that I met through blogging that is a public relations individual that formed a NATIONWIDE LOW COST SPAY/NEUTER DIRECTORY

    It is called “Nooter’s Club” (their button is featured on the side bar of my blog) if you wish to check them out (which I would) her website is http://www.nootersclub.org

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for supporting this post Caren and sharing it on facebook. It is critical we get the message out in a language that people can easily understand so that they can recognize that they are part of the overall problem. Thank you also for sharing that link – I will take a look at it later on today. xo

  2. Marg says:

    That is such a great post. If only more people would spay and neuter their animals. Unfortunately, the people that need to hear that don’t get on computers etc.. BUT luckily there are many people that really do care and get the strays and feral cats fixed. I have a neighbor down the street that does. But we are all for the neutering and spaying. Take care.

    • Deb says:

      Marg – you hit the nail on the head with that comment. That is the crux of the problem. Posts like the one I have done are so critical to public awareness, but they are just not getting circulated or read to the people who need to see them. That is why I implore people to share these kind of posts outside of our intimate circle of cat friends. Thank you for your suppport and for stopping by.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Excellent post, Deb. Re: no. 8 Personally I would love to have another cat for company for Austin, but it isn’t possible at the moment. Sometime, maybe …. ! 🙁

  4. meowmeowmans says:

    Terrific post, Deb. We wish everyone would learn the importance of spaying and neutering.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you meowmeowmans – me too… But, thank goodness for organizations such as yours that take such good care of cats and their best interests. xoxox

  5. Wonderful, wonderful post! Kitties over here give it two paws up – WAY up!

    • Deb says:

      Yippee for Ryker’s Boyz ‘n’ Allie!! We love getting a “two paws up” review and are thrilled you enjoyed the post!!

  6. Hairless Cat says:

    Hi Deb,

    When you said “…an unspayed/neutered cat pair leads up to 5,000 cats in 7 years.” reminds me of the vidal sassoon Shampoo commercial a few decades ago “You’ll tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends and so on and so on and so on…”.

    That’s quite the population explosion gone out of control.

    We’ve rescued cats from overcrowded houses on more than one occasion. Not too long ago, someone had over 40 cats and 4 dogs in a tiny one bedroom house that had no basement and no upstairs. It was the size of a small one bedroom apartment.

    None of the cats were spayed or neutered and several had leukemia. All of them had fleas. I could hardly breathe in that house due to the urine smell. We had room for 4 cats at the time so we rescued 4.

    They all had to have flea treatment. One tested positive for leukemia and had to be put down. The other three lived long, happy lives.

    It’s good that you mentioned that there are low-fee and free assistance available. I doubt many cat parents know about that.

    TNRM is a great program. When a person first reads about it, they might think the R part is cruel. But once they learn that feral cats don’t want to live inside, the R part is the proper destination.

    There may be exceptions such as a feral litter of young kittens where the mother has passed on. In that case I would think a TNRM group would notice and work at finding a home for the motherless kittens.

    Good arguments and facts in favor of spaying and neutering – very detailed and complete.


    =^-^= Hairless Cat Girl =^-^=