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The Facts About Spay/Neuter Surgery

What is the surgery? 

  • Spaying is the term used for removing the ovaries and uterus of a female animal. 
  • Neutering is the term used for removing the testicles of a male animal. 

Why Should I Spay or Neuter my Pet? 

  • Spaying or neutering your pet significantly reduces their chance of developing certain cancers and other diseases. 
  • Altered animals have fewer behavioral issues, such as spraying, biting, fighting, running away, and crying/calling at night when in heat. 
  • Every year, 6-8 million animals enter shelters, and 3-4 million are euthanized simply because of lack of space. With so many homeless animals dying every day, it is simply irresponsible to bring more animals into the world. For every animal born and adopted out by someone who has bred their pet, an animal abandoned in a shelter dies. 

What if My Cat is Already Pregnant? 

It happens - maybe she got pregnant before you could get her spayed, or maybe you found a stray that appears to be pregnant. It's never an easy decision, and it's often something no one likes to talk about, but spaying a pregnant cat and terminating the pregnancy may be the best option Calvin's Paws is a no-kill shelter, however, when it comes to pregnant cats, our vet evaluates each one and decides the best course of action. Pregnancy and birth carry their own risks, and if our vet feels that a cat is at a stage of her pregnancy where it is safer to spay her than to let her give birth, then she is spayed. We understand that this is sometimes a difficult prospect to face, but unfortunately it's the reality of the world we live in. Come spring, high kill rural shelters will be flooded with moms and kittens that have already been born, and most will be killed because there's simply not enough space for them. On the other hand, if a cat can be safely spayed, that allows us to both help that cat and get her a new home quickly, while leaving us space to save another family that would otherwise die in a shelter. In a perfect world, where thousands of animals don't die in shelters (or on the streets) each year, these kind of decisions wouldn't be necessary. However, the reality is that we must make the best decisions we can of the choices we are given. 

Myths About Spay/Neuter: 

Myth: Spaying an animal younger than 6 months old will cause lifelong health problems. 

Fact: Spaying and neutering is safe for young animals. Here at Calvin's Paws, we begin spaying and neutering our animals when they are 4 months old. There is no evidence that spaying younger than 6 months causes health or developmental problems. 

 

Myth: It's better to let them give birth to one litter before spaying or neutering. 

Fact: Every litter counts and adds to the pet overpopulation problem. Spaying a female before her first heat cycle (around 5 months of age) significantly lowers her risk for breast cancer and uterine infections. 

 

Myth: My pet will get fat. 

Fact: Pets get fat because of too much food and too little exercise, not because of surgery. Female cats will gain weight after a pregnancy and birth. 

 

Myth: I want my children to witness the miracle of birth. 

Fact: Many times, animals end up giving birth at night and out of sight. In addition, allowing your pet to give birth when there are so many unwanted animals looking for homes in shelters is just teaching your children that animals are disposable. You should instead teach your children that all life is precious, and that preventing the birth of some pets saves the lives of others. To reinforce this, volunteer as a foster home for a shelter or rescue! We often get asked to help pregnant cats, cats that have recently given birth to a litter, and baby kittens that have lost their mother and need to be bottle fed. We can only help these animals with the help of foster homes.

 

Myth: My pet will feel like less of a "man," or mourn the fact that they cannot have babies. 

Fact: While our pets are of course part of the family and have a wide range of emotions, they do not understand the concept of "masculinity" and will not suffer any kind of emotional crisis after being spayed or neutered. Females do not "long" to be a mother; pregnancy, birth, and raising kittens is stressful for the mom! Pets that are spayed or neutered are actually happier and more relaxed. Spaying and neutering does not change the personality of your pet. 

 

Myth: But my pet is purebred! 

Fact: Roughly one out of every four animals brought to shelters are purebred, and half of all animals brought to shelters are euthanized. If you want to "show" your pet, keep in mind that there are now classes available in shows for spayed and neutered pets as well. 

 

Myth: But my pet is just so special, and I want another one just like her! 

Fact: Genetics is not an exact science, and you will not end up with an animal exactly like either parent. Shelters are full of pets that are just as sweet, smart, and beautiful as your own. 

 

Myth: I'll find good homes for all of the babies. 

Fact: The average litter size for cats is 2-5 kittens, but they can have as many as 6-8 in a litter. It can be extremely difficult to find good quality homes for all of the babies. There are people out there that pose as someone wanting to adopt a family pet, but in reality they buy up animals in bulk and then sell them to laboratories for invasive testing. Even if you do manage to find good homes for them all, you cannot control what the new families do with them. Your babies could easily end up at a shelter if the family can no longer care for them, or the new family might breed them, further contributing to the pet overpopulation problem. 

 

Myth: It's too expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered. 

Fact: It's much more expensive to provide medical care to your pregnant animal, and to all of the babies once they are born. There are now many low-cost spay/neuter clinic throughout the U.S. that typically charge less than $100 for spay/neuter surgery. Use this tool to find a low-cost spay/neuter clinic near you.