February is Feline Fix By Five Month
Cats can begin reproducing as young as four months old. An unspayed female cat can have an average of two litters per year with an average of four kittens, some are even more prolific. Her kittens can be ready to produce kittens four months after they are born. If none are spayed or neutered by the next year, well, you can do the math.1
Studies show that cat (and dog) owners aren’t really sure when you should spay or neuter. They’ll cite the long-time guideline of six months, or that you should wait until after their first heat, or they should have a litter before they are spayed. A study also found that cats who are never spayed are not the ones who account for shelters and streets full of unwanted kittens and cats, but that over 75% of the unexpected and/or unwanted kittens are born in the “one litter”: the litter they should have before they are spayed, the litter conceived in the cat’s first heat, the litter conceived before the cat reached six months.2 Imagine if we could all get out there and convince just this one group of people who have the wrong information before their cat conceives and delivers that litter. That alone would prevent a huge swath of unwanted kittens from being born.
But kittens can be spayed and neutered as young as two months, weighing at least two pounds. All those extra kittens never need to be born.
Feline Fix By Five
Feline Fix By Five “aims to establish a standard recommendation throughout the veterinary community of when cats should be spayed or neutered.” They offer information to veterinarians, cat owners and anyone who works within the health care system for cats regarding the recommendations and benefits of spaying cats prior to five months of age.
The benefits go far beyond preventing unwanted litters to medical, behavior and social benefits.
PROVEN BENEFITS of Early Spaying
Kittens spayed before their first heat have a 91% lower risk of developing ammary cancer which takes the lives of an estimated 75,000 cats every year. Spaying also eliminates the risk of pyometra.
The hormones that develop if kittens are left unaltered lead to nightly territorial fights, cat mating rituals and roaming. These undesirable behaviors often result in relinquishment to shelters. Over 80% of cats who are surrendered to shelters or abandoned are not spayed/neutered. Spaying/neutering prior to puberty eliminates problem behaviors.
Well over half the litters that end up in shelters are unintended “oops” litters. Many other litters are abandoned to the streets adding to the free-roaming/feral/community cat populations. When shelters are inundated with kittens, the older cats who may have found homes are often passed over. Cat complaint calls are at, or near, the top of the list in public health and animal control departments, causing increased funding demands. Reducing the unwanted litters born is an important step toward cutting shelter cat-related costs.3
Take the Feline Fix By Five Pledge
As people who love and care for cats we can ans should take the pledge to ensure our own cats, and inform, educate and encourage others with cats, to spay and neuter our cats prior to five months of age. Click here to take the pledge.
And visit the Feline Fix By Five website for all the information you would need to learn and help others, and keep up with the news and progress of this program.
1 Pet Health Network, May 2017, Dr. Nancy Kay DVM DACVIM, “What Is Kitten Season?”
2 Today’s Veterinary Practice, November-December 2014, Richard Speck DVM, “The Case for Neutering at Five Months of Age.”
3 “Reasons Why Feline Fix By Five Months is Important,” PDF.
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Great Rescues Day Book:
Portraits, Rescue Stories, Holidays and Events, Essential Feline Information, All in One Book
Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page, and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.
Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.
The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
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