One cannot visit a cat adoption event conducted by any reputable rescue organizations or shelter without the subject of spay and neuter (S/N) eventually becoming part of the conversation. (S/N is the surgical removal of the reproductive capacity of females/males, respectively.) Why is this? Why are these organizations always advocating S/N of the cat you want to adopt? Wouldn't pregnancy and having a litter be a good learning experience for the children? And after all, we can always just give the kittens away.
Many people – even long-time cat owners – are totally unaware of the breeding potential cats possess. It's been calculated that one unaltered female and one unaltered male, with the help of their unaltered offspring, can produce more than 420,000 cats in only seven years! Compare that number with well over 60 million estimated cats living in people's homes plus the 50 million or more abandoned or born of strays living in feral colonies and the magnitude of the situation here in the U.S. becomes clear.
The S/N procedure "alters" several characteristics of cats that, while useful in the wild, are generally found objectionable when cats are living with people. Such characteristics in males include roaming and establishing neighborhood territories, the defending of which leads to fights and subsequent veterinary bills. Marking of indoor territories by urine spraying is another trait of both unaltered males and females. And who has not heard the characteristic constant "yowling" of a female cat in heat announcing to all her driving need to escape the house to mate!
In this first portion of this session of Feline-Human Relations 101, we will examine the behavioral and medical benefits of S/N in cats. The emphasis will be on prevention of conditions such as feline leukemia, abscesses, lacerations, and other fighting wounds in males; pregnancy stress, ovarian, uterine, and mammary cancers in females. Special consideration will be given to "Early S/N" meaning kittens at 8-10 weeks old or 2 lbs weight.
To better understand the consequences of neglecting S/N,
view the 16 minute video produced by the Humane Society of the United States.
During the second hour in accordance with our meeting format, time will be available to address any questions or situations related to cats that individuals are experiencing and have brought to this group for advice and, where possible, resolution.
PLEASE NOTE: Much of the information presented in Feline-Human Relations 101 is widely accepted and practiced throughout the feline rescue community. Other recommendations are derived from the experience and knowledge of the Instructor. However, in neither case are guarantees stated or implied that these methods will work 100% of the time.