I had other plans for Mo-Cats Day, honest. I had planned to send my human to Kitten Rescue to take photos of some of the cats needing homes so we could have lots of cats on this blog post. Then a heat wave threw a blanket of high temperatures over the city and I realized that there was no way my human would get good photos of them — they would probably all be napping away the sweltering afternoon. So I decided that instead of talking about “Mo” cats, I’d talk about having less cats. I know you are shocked, but let me explain. I figured this would be as good a time as any to talk about spaying and neutering. And this totally ties in with Mo-Cat Day. You will find out how at the end of this post.
When it comes to spaying and neutering, I know I am preaching to the choir here. You all know how important it is for a cat’s health and happiness, and with the exception of a tiny handful of you who are breeders, you all have your cats fixed as soon as they are the right age for the operation. But I can bet that quite a few of you know some humans who aren’t as enlightened as you are and who have not had their cats spayed or neutered because they do not understand how important it is. I think that if you explain it properly, you can change the minds of most of these humans, so I have put together a paw-point list of reasons why kitties should be spayed or neutered:
- Less drama at home. Intact male cats mark territory by spraying especially potent-smelling urine. They also get into fights over girlcats in heat, and are more likely to use fisticuffs when defending their territory. They are also more likely to roam and disappear for days at a time while they are scoping their territory for kitties in heat. Female cats, meanwhile, howl like mad when they go into heat and plot ways to get out of the house so they can get together with a hot-to-trot mancat. These episodes can last for days and repeat every two or three weeks! When fixed, male cats are way less likely to spray and are not as battle prone, while female cats don’t have those crazy-making heat cycles.
- Less vet bills. Those fighting, intact male cats often come home with injuries that can turn into abscesses, and the healing process and meds will cost you. Or they can get hurt in their wanderings in other ways — they could get hit by a car or attacked by a dog or other predatory animal. Mating for cats can get rough, and female cats can get hurt. And if they come home pregnant and things don’t go well, you may wind up at the emergency vet, running up a big bill to save her life. Intact cats are also more prone to certain diseases: testicular cancer for the male cats and mammary cancer for females. The likelihood of these cancers goes way down for fixed cats.
- Oh yeah, kittens! Congratulations, you just added to the feline overpopulation problem. You say you have friends who will adopt them? Great, that means that there are cats at shelters and rescues who aren’t getting a home today, and who might be euthanized because your friends did not bother to look at these places to add to their feline family. You say your friends really wanted kittens, not grown-up cats? Trust me, these places get kittens all the time. And do you really know these people who will adopt your kittens? Are you sure that friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend isn’t going to sell them to a laboratory? Or that they will take proper care of a kitten? Are you sure they won’t just toss it out the door the first time it scratches the furniture or relieves itself on the rug? Why subject innocent lives to such a potential fate? And if you have a male cat and are not worried about getting saddled with kittens, shame on you for looking the other way. Your cat is off somewhere creating this very problem for someone else.
- Kittens can be spayed or neutered as young as two months, and it is a good idea to do it before they reach sexual maturity, so it should at least be done by the time they are five or six months old. But adult cats certainly can be fixed too, although they may not bounce back as quickly as a kitten. I was six months old when I had it done and I wanted to play the day I came home!
- It does not have to cost a lot of money to spay or neuter your cat — the ASPCA has a partnership with PetSmart Charities and has a database to help you locate low cost spay and neuter programs near you.
Oh, and how does this fit in with Mo-Cats Day? The less time humans spend dealing with unwanted kittens, and all the issues caused by intact cats, the more time they have to devote populating the internet with kitties! Because every day should be Mo-Cats Day!