“She’s such a good mother.”
“Some cats were meant to have kittens.”
“I don’t think we’ll ever get her spayed, she just loves to have babies.”
When I was raising my babies, I was an excellent momcat and plenty of people would look in the box and see my perfect kittens and hear us all purring and think it was the most natural thing in the world.
Well, of course I was a good mom—under even the worst circumstances, animal moms will always do their best.
I used to love my assignations in the neighbor’s driveway; I was careful to signal the two black toms from the next street over, and they were only too willing to show up on command. What a joy to feel my kittens grow, then giving birth and nurturing them, it was all so easy. I produced six litters of four kittens each in two years, nearly all of them perfect black kittens.
But when I realized I wasn’t the only one giving birth to a dozen kittens each year, and what happened to many of these other kittens and their mothers…I’m embarrassed at my behavior and sad for cats who lost their lives because of me.
You have to understand, it was all I knew, and I was totally powerless against my hormones. I needed a human to get me spayed or I’d still be out there producing kittens.
Now my life is completely different, so much more full and interesting, I can sleep all day, I can play with toys, no kittens to tend to, and safer too, with no hormone surges making you want to run outside in all kinds of weather. You ladies think hot flashes are bad? You should try being in heat for an entire summer, even while nursing kittens! And those boys could be a little rough now and then, if you know what I mean.
If you won’t listen to a human about spaying your cat, listen to a cat who’s been there. Give your cat a gift for Spay Day USA—get her spayed! If she’s already spayed, help another kitty to a new life.
Mimi’s 30 Reasons to Spay Your Cat
1. Eventually, she will outsmart you and get out the door.
2. Your kittens are no cuter than any other kittens in the world.
3. About 3,000 kittens are born every hour in the United States.
4. If you want your kids to see the miracle of life, have your own baby.
5. It’s not good for a cat to have a litter before she’s spayed, in fact, it’s bad.
[You may already know these things.]
6. Having your cat spayed after she is one year or after having kittens puts her at highest risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
7. Having a cat spayed before her first heat reduces her chances of developing breast cancer later in life to almost nothing.
8. Nearly every city has a low-cost spay/neuter clinic or program that works on a sliding fee scale.
9. An unspayed female cat is more likely to do two of the things humans don’t like cats to do—scratch furniture and spray.
10. A spayed female outlives an unspayed female for an average of two years without the health problems associated with reproductive cancers.
[Apparently, many people do not.]
11. An unspayed cat can have an average of three litters per year.
12. Cats have litters of four to six kittens.
13. Kittens can go into their first heat as young as 4 months.
14. No, it’s not incest when brother and sister cats or mother and son cats have sex.
15. One unspayed female and her progeny can produce between 98 and 5,000 cats in seven years.
[Find some of these people and give them this list.]
16. About 75% of all cats entering shelters in the United States are euthanized because there are no homes for them.
17. It costs U.S. taxpayers about $2 billion a year to round up, house, euthanize and dispose of homeless animals.
18. Every shelter in the United States is overrun with kittens every summer necessitating the euthanasia of otherwise healthy cats—and dogs—to care for and place the kittens.
19. At least six million animals are killed in shelters every year because there are no homes for them and no space in shelters.
20. Someone has to decide who dies, and someone has to kill them, letting your cat have a litter of kittens forces a person to make this decision.
[All of this information is available from your local shelter and on the internet.]
21. A cat is “polyestrous” and can go into heat—and conceive—the day after giving birth to a litter of kittens.
22. All kittens are cute, and the world already has enough of them.
23. Cats respond hormonally to day length and can go into heat as early as Valentine’s Day.
24. Cats can’t get along on their own outside, so don’t put mom and the kittens outside instead of taking them to a shelter.
25. Spaying your cat will not make her fat. Feeding her too much will make her fat.
[Let’s make 2010 the year we eliminate “kitten season”.]
26. Cats don’t have heat “cycles”, so once they go into heat, unless they find a male and mate, they can be in heat constantly, forever.
27. Spayed cats have absolutely no chance of developing uterine or ovarian cancer because those parts are removed.
28. Spayed cats can’t develop pyometra, a critical and common uterine infection, because they have no uterus.
29. You can safely spay a cat who is already pregnant up to a certain point rather than contribute to overpopulation.
30. The male cats coming to court your unspayed female will seriously mess up your storm door, and probably each other fighting for dominance.
[I only stopped at 30 because…*yawn*…I need to take a nap.]
Also read “Help to Avoid Feline Breast Cancer by Spaying Early“, inspired by and featuring Mimi for more information on feline breast cancer and other reproductive illnesses plus links to spay/neuter clinics in Pittsburgh and around the country. Also look in the right-hand column on this blog under “Animal Assistance and Information” for links to local shelters and spay/neuter clinics plus a searchable database to find the clinic nearest you anywhere in the United States and parts of Canada. You can also do a search on “Spay Day USA” or any topic in this list and find plenty of information on the internet.