Tuesday 24th February is World Spay Day, when rescue organisations all over the world are promoting the neutering of animals to help with the pet overpopulation problem.
Spaying is the name given to the operation that stops female animals from becoming pregnant. This is also known as neutering, getting 'fixed' or getting 'done'. The male equivalent, to prevent males from impregnating females, is known as castration.
Despite messages put out by rescue organisations every where, there is still a problem with over-breeding. World Spay Day is an opportunity for everybody to come together on one day to spread the word.
Over-breeding puts a massive strain on rescue centres everywhere. As well as taking in animals from the Inspectorate, who have been taken from cruelty situations, we also get many calls from individuals who cannot rehome their animal's offspring. Not to mention the dozens of litters of cats brought to our door who have given birth in somebody's garden.
The kitten on the left was brought in with his litter, all suffering from severe cat flu after being found as strays. Sadly, due to the strain of flu and the severity of their condition, only one of the litter survived. Lucy (below) was brought in after being extremely over-bred. Rosie was found abandoned in a locked-up house with signs that she has had several litters in the past. Every pet owner is responsible for doing their bit to stop this from happening again in the future. Neutering your pet dog may not stop cases like Rosie, but it will help to reduce the strain on rescue centres in the future, to help to save space for dogs like her who really need our help. Neutering your male cat will help to stop kittens being born to a life of disease.
Have a read through some of the frequent arguments we hear against neutering.
"I'm taking away my cat/dog's right to motherhood."
We hear this all the time and it's very frustrating. Animals are not people. They do not share the same wishes and desires to start a family that humans do. They mate due to a biological urge to reproduce. Your female cat or dog may be a wonderful mother, but she cannot make the informed decision that we can. This is why we have to do that for them.
Carrying litters and giving birth also puts a huge strain on animals and, if they have multiple litters, can reduce their lifespan. Not to mention that unneutered female animals are at risk of developing pyometra, which is a potentially fatal uterine infection.
"I'll find homes for the kittens and puppies."
There are so many reasons why this isn't a good enough excuse to let your cat/dog breed. Here are just a few:
1. Every year we receive so many phone calls from individuals unable to rehome litters. There are so many individuals trying to rehome animals, particularly kittens, that it can be more difficult than you think
2. Do you thoroughly check every home? Are you sure they're suitable new owners for your kittens and puppies?
3. Will you rehome them easily and quickly? If not, the costs associated with keeping extra animals will just increase
4. Your kittens and puppies will take homes from those animals stuck in rescue centres
"It's too expensive."
Many rescue organisations offer low-cost veterinary treatments at different points throughout the year. From May onwards we will have relationships with local vets, offering low-cost treatments so keep an eye on our website! It's also worth talking to other local rescue centres to see what they offer. If you qualify for benefits you may also qualify for the PDSA.
"Why should I neuter my male cat? He's not going to get pregnant!"
Just because you don't see the outcome of your male cat's activities, does not mean you're not responsible for them. When you let him out the front door, he will most likely impregnate the local stray female population, who have no owners to care for them and the kittens. These cats then give birth in bushes, sheds and other unsuitable places. Either they are spotted by the public and brought to organisations like our own, putting an added strain on us, or they raise their kittens as best they can, inevitably losing some of disease. These kittens either lead a short and difficult life or end up adding to the stray problem in the future. It is your responsibility to do what you can to prevent this from happening.
Last year our first hand-reared kitten of the year came from a building site. Her mother had been spooked by builders and didn't return for her one week old kitten, who was then brought into us. Our staff worked night and day to keep little Mildred alive and, happily, she made it and is now settled in a loving home. Mildred is not an isolated case, kittens like her arrive weekly during the summer and there is only so many animals we have the time, space and resources to care for.
To find out further information on neutering, have a read of our other neutering blog post, or see the infographics below.
Communications & Volunteer Manager