Let’s talk about sex. We all know how appealing sex is, but we also know that it’s a primal drive imprinted in our very DNA. The same goes for dogs and cats. They have that drive written right into their DNA, but unlike us, they can’t really choose to abstain or take birth control. If they get that urge to go have sex and procreate, they’re going to try their darnedest to do just that. Which means even if they’ve always been an indoor cat or an indoor dog, they’re going to try to get out of the house, out of the yard, to go find a mate. It’s not because they’re a bad dog or a bad cat, it’s simply nature. However, that nature can very easily get them into trouble that could potentially be fatal. That same dog or cat that’s looking for a mate may not be street-wise and could end up getting hit by a car. They might get in a fight with another dog or cat looking for the same thing. They might get picked up by an undesirable person. They might eat or drink something that’s not good for them while they’re out and about (cause, after all, they still need to eat and drink).
So unless we’re going to hover over our female dogs while they’re in heat or our intact males all the time (since we never know when a female in the neighborhood is going to go into heat), the best solution is to go to the vet and get them spayed or neutered.
I am a huge advocate of spaying and neutering. This isn’t because I don’t like puppies or kittens. In fact, I adore them! It’s really because I’ve seen the dogs and cats at the shelter. I feel for them. I want them all to find homes. But I know that many of the animals that go into the shelter don’t come out again. And that’s not because the people at the shelter are bad people (that is, in general, a myth – I know the people at our local animal shelter love their animals and always try to do what’s best for them), it’s because there are simply too many homeless dogs and cats brought into the shelter every day/week/month/year. There are just too many dogs and cats without homes and not enough pet lovers to give them the homes they need. It’s sad, but true. In fact, the ASPCA estimates 2.7 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the US, alone, and many of them are perfectly healthy, perfectly friendly, perfectly cute animals.
Think I’m exaggerating? Let me give a quick example of what can happen when you leave a female cat un-spayed and a male cat intact.
So, of course, those 2 cats will mate. They will have anywhere from 2-5 kittens. However, just to prove my point, let’s say they have only 2. For the sake of argument, each litter has 1 male and 1 female. The female remains un-spayed and the male intact. The female then mates with an intact male and has 2 kittens. Not only that, the female cat that originally had the first 2 kittens can go right back into estrus as soon as she’s had her kittens, which means she’s now had a further 2 kittens, and the female of those 2 has had 2 kittens.
Do you see where this is going? That’s already 8 kittens in total. And then 4 of those being female will go on to have 8 more kittens. While at the same time the original mother cat just had 2 more kittens and the 2 females from her first and second litters also each have 2 kittens, that number then magically becomes 22 kittens.
Then all of those females – 11 in total, have 2 kittens each, which gives you another 22, plus 2 from the original mother cat, which makes it 24 on top of the 22, which makes it 46. Half of those kittens are female, and they each have 2 kittens, which is another 46 kittens, plus the 2 from the original mother cat. That brings us to 94. And again, half of them are female and have 2 kittens each, which is another 94 plus the 2 from the original mother cat. That number then becomes 190.
Oh, and did you know most un-spayed females have 2-3 litters per year? PER. YEAR. That means one female cat alone, if they live an average lifespan of 15 years and 12 of those years are fertile years, will have 72-180 kittens in her lifespan. That’s only if she has average sized litters, though. Imagine if she tends to have 8 kittens per litter! That’s 288 kittens in one cat’s lifespan! Then if each female kitten in all those litters has 72-180 kittens, that number very quickly adds up!
Then there are dogs to consider. Female dogs typically go into heat twice a year, but they don’t always have puppies after each heat. So, for argument’s sake, let’s say she only has puppies once a year. An average litter size for a dog is between 5 and 6. That dog can live up to 12 years and let’s say 8 of those years are fertile. That means she could have between 40 and 48 puppies in her lifespan. Then if half of those are female, they could very well have 5-6 puppies each year and 40-48 in their lifespans. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s an awful lot of puppies!
So what happens to all those kittens and puppies? Are you going to find good homes for ALL of them? Even if you manage that, how do you know those puppies or kittens are going to be spayed or neutered? If they’re not, what happens to their puppies and kittens? Do you see how quickly it adds up and how so many dogs and cats end up in shelters and euthanized each year?
The fact is, spaying and neutering is the only viable way to bring that 2.7 million death count down.
It is the responsibility of pet owners everywhere to help bring that number down by spaying and neutering their pets, especially if you have no intention of breeding them or only want to breed them because puppies and kittens are sooooooo cute! There are hundreds upon thousands of puppies and kittens in shelters nationwide! There are even purebred puppies and kittens in shelters (although I tend to think mutts are better, but that’s just my opinion)! If you want a puppy or kitten because they’re just sooooooo cute, go adopt one from your local shelter. Save a life!
What is your opinion on spaying and neutering? Leave a comment below!
Was my math off (because I’m no math-wiz)? Leave a comment below!
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