Show You Care — Neuter Your Cat
By Ron King
The hordes of homeless and feral cats everywhere are growing by leaps and bounds, and finally people are beginning to wake up to the necessity of neutering their cats.
Because cats can reproduce several times a year, and kittens mature quickly, just 2 feral cats (the wild offspring of domestic cats) can quickly become 2,000. In fact, the feline reproduction statistics are staggering. 2 uncontrolled breeding cats produce: 2 litters a year, at a survival rate of 2.8 kittens per litter. Continued breeding will produce 12 cats the first year, 66 cats the second year, 2,201 cats in the third year, 3,822 cats in the fourth year, 12,680 cats in the fifth year, and on and on . . .
Unaltered Cats Spread Disease
Many of these feral cats are actually unaltered pet cats (or their offspring) that were released by owners who could no longer care for them. A colony of feral cats can spread diseases among pet cats and dogs in the area.
Even when these cats are fairly healthy, they are usually infested with fleas. Hungry cats will raid trash cans, and playful kittens will destroy shrubbery and soil lawn furniture.
Noise Pollution From Cats In Heat
When female cats are in heat, the colony can keep neighbors awake all night with their fighting and howling
Spaying and neutering cats provides several important benefits in addition to reducing the number of unwanted cats. If you have an un-neutered female cat at home, the sound of her mewling pitifully at the door will soon be joined by the yowling and shrieking of every tomcat in the neighborhood.Both indoor and outdoor tomcats will try to mark everything in sight with their odorous spray.
Reproductive Cancers In Unaltered Cats
Certain types of cancer are much more common in unaltered cats. These cancers of the reproductive organs are very rare in cats that are altered prior to 1 year of age. Unaltered cats can also develop a number of reproductive diseases that are contagious.
Help Make Every Cat A Wanted Cat
Kittens can be altered at quite a young age. Some humane societies routinely alter kittens at 8 weeks. While some veterinarians feel that it is better to wait until kittens are 5 or 6 months, that is often simply not a option. Certainly for feral kittens who are trapped for altering, then released back into their colonies, or for those who share a home with other unaltered cats, neutering at the earliest opportunity is critical.
Most cats heal well and without incident after being neutered. However, a cat can contract an infection in the incision. Check your cat daily to be sure the incision area has not turned red and puffy. If you notice your cat licking or chewing at the stitches, your vet may suggest a surgery collar to keep the stitches out of reach until the incision is healed. While male cats can be active and bouncy without injuring themselves after neutering, female cats should be confined indoors for a few days after the surgery.
Feline “Zero Population Growth”
Unless you’re a cat breeder, your cat almost certainly would be better off neutered. The typical cost of neutering a cat is about $125 for a female and $65 for a male. If the cost is too much for you to afford, many communities have special funds available for neutering cats. Your humane society or veterinarian can give you more information.
Copyright 2005 Ron King. This article may be reprinted if the resource box is left intact.
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