Please Spay and Neuter!
Unfortunately, our throwaway society doesn’t even stop at discarding living animals. Year after year, increasing numbers of unwanted dogs and cats are left to an uncertain fate. Many owners don’t spay and neuter their cats, either due to ignorance, indifference, but sometimes also because they cannot afford the procedure. A part of these cats’ unwanted offspring ends up in overcrowded shelters or is taken care of by privately funded animal welfare organizations. In Germany, many shelters are full to the brim and no longer able to take in new animals. In some cases, their very existence is threatened because donations are running dry in times of economic hardship.
Domestic cats without human protection are exposed to numerous dangers. It is a myth that house cats can easily survive on their own without human care. Even feral cats are still domesticated companion animals. They are not adapted to the dangers of nature, let alone to those of our industrialized world. Sometimes they merely appear to be “feral” because they have learned to avoid and fear man – sadly often for good reasons.
The spaying and neutering of cats that are not selected for breeding by responsible breeders, in any case the spaying and neutering of outdoor or feral cats, is an important step toward reducing their misery. It is the only long-term means of preventing further feline suffering in a humane way. Apart from its curbing effect on the cat population, spaying and neutering is beneficial for the individual animal:
- Reduced health risk: No more kittens that contracted diseases in the womb are born. In most cases, sexually mature animals display less aggression after spaying/neutering, which means they are less likely to contract feline leukemia (FeLV), feline aids (FIV) or other infectious diseases transmitted through fights or mating bites.
- Spayed/neutered cats build a better immune system because they are no longer suffering from the stress of sexual competition.
- Spayed/neutered cats have an increased life expectancy because the risk of tumor-growth fostered by hormones is lower.
- The animals’ tendency to stray is reduced significantly. Therefore animal welfare activists can much better control feral and semi-feral cat colonies at feeding places. Outdoor cats become more attached to their home.
- Contrary to popular belief among farmers, healthy spayed and neutered cats are better mousers than their intact sisters and brothers. The latter are frequently distracted by their sexual urges, which have priority over their hunting instincts.
- The number of cheap and freely available kittens and adult cats is reduced. These poor creatures often end up in the hands of irresponsible people. If the worst comes to worst, they suffer a horrific, often slow death behind laboratory doors or from the hands of animal abusers.
As cat behavior therapist, I wholeheartedly support the spaying & neutering of cats to prevent physical and emotional suffering.