Much as I adore Mimi and the Fantastic Four, if I had to live without them because Mimi had been spayed before she had any kittens at all, I could do it. In fact, I wouldn’t have known most of the cats who lived with me if their mother had been spayed prior to having one or more unexpected litters of kittens, including Cookie, Kelly, Namir, Allegro, Fawn, Moses, Kublai, Stanley, all of whom I know were unintentional…and as much as my life would have been quite different without them, I could live that life in the knowledge that they had never had a need to be rescued. Spay and neuter, there is no reason not to.
Mimi tells her story
Mimi, super catmom of at least six litters of perfect black kittens, is now a happy housecat extolling the virtues of spayed bliss.
“I used to love my assignations in the neighbor’s driveway, then feeling my kittens grow and giving birth and nurturing them, it was all so easy,” Mimi says. “But when I realized I wasn’t the only one giving birth to a dozen kittens each year, and what happened to many of them…I’m embarrassed at my behavior and sad for cats who lost their lives because of me.”
“You know, I was totally powerless against my hormones, and I needed a human to get me spayed or I’d still be out there producing kittens,” she continues.
If you won’t listen to a person about spaying your cat, listen to the cat herself. Mimi gives us 30 good reasons to spay your cat and hopes that you’ll celebrate World Spay Day USA on February 24 by either getting your cat spayed or convincing someone else to get their cat spayed.
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 and puppies are born every hour in the United States (source).
4. If you want your kids to see the miracle of life, have your own babies.
5. It’s not “good for a cat to have a litter before she’s spayed”, in fact, it’s bad for her health.
[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. Find one near you by searching with your zip code.
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, and, yes, females do spray.
10. A spayed female outlives an unspayed female for an average of two years, and 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. In two years, I produced 24 kittens, and have no idea what most of my children did once they were out of my care.
[Find some of these people and give them this list.]
16. Nationwide, at least 70% of all cats entering shelters in the United States are euthanized because there are no homes for them.
17. It costs a city more in taxpayer dollars to round up, house, euthanize and dispose of a homeless cat than it does to spay it.
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 three 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 these decisions.
[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; nursing does not prevent or delay her going into heat.
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 (I’ve seen them even earlier).
24. Momcats and kittens don’t “fend for themselves” like everyone thinks, so don’t dump them in the woods instead of taking them to a shelter.
25. Spaying your cat will not make her fat. Feeding her too much will make her fat. I am spayed, and I am not fat.
[Let’s make 2015 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 (or so it seems), in the least it is pretty unpredictable.
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 pregnant 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, and maybe your unspayed female too.
[I only stopped at 30 because…*yawn*…I need to take a nap.]
Also read “Feline Breast Cancer—Spay Early“, inspired by and featuring me for more information on feline breast cancer and other reproductive illnesses. And, featuring one of my former suitors, I also remind you that The Boys Don’t Get Off the Hook.
If you’ve taken in a stray or adopted a kitten who is not spayed or neutered, there’s no question that spaying or neutering is expensive. Here are a few options to help keep it affordable. Many programs have an application process with an income level that determines the final price of your cat’s surgery. In many cases the surgery alone can be done for under $50.00. Please check my Shelters, Assistance, Spay/Neuter page for opportunities in Pittsburgh and beyond.
2015 Winter and Spring Homeless Cat Management Team Clinics
FAST TRACK CLINICS
($30 PER FERAL – See below for other costs)
Low-cost clinics through shelters
Many of the February specials on spay and neuter at local shelters are still available, and actually many are available year-round. Read Beat the Beat With Spay and Neuter at Local Pittsburgh Shelters.
Other low-cost clinics are available in the area as well. The Animal Rescue League has a weekly program where from Tuesday through Friday you can have a cat spayed, neutered and given basic veterinary care for $50.00, and a special clinic for strays and ferals for $20.00 or $30.00. The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society also has a low-cost spay/neuter program for cats and dogs, a $65.00 Spay Day just for cats, and ongoing TNR services for feral cats only for $30.00.
Find a low-cost clinic anywhere in the country
If you or a friend or family member find a spay for your cat to be more than you can afford, check this link to search for a low-cost spay or neuter by zip code all over the country sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, PetSmart Charities and the ASPCA. If you’re not near Pittsburgh and you’d like to find out if there is a TNR organization near you, visit the Feral Cat Organizations listing on the Humane Society of the United States’ website. You can also find information on the Alley Cat Allies’ website under Make Connections. You can find yet more resources on the ASPCA website under TNR and Colony Management.
You don’t need to manage a colony to help feral cats. You can donate to, assist or even start a local TNR program in your area. The HSUS’s article What You Can Do to Help Feral Cats covers finding local organizations, listing options and how to pursue helping or starting a local organization, and they also have a Program Fund that you can donate to in order to assist them in helping local organizations form and operate.
Read more articles about the need to spay and neuter our cats
I have heard since I was a child, in so many ways, that cats were disposable because there were always “more where those came from”. This broke my heart as a child, and still does today. I am convinced that this flippant ideal of disposability through overpopulation fuels disrespect of cats and devalues each cat, even underlies the fact that otherwise loving cat owners take their cat to the vet half as often as dogs visit the vet. Reducing the unwanted cat population elevates every cat.
I have a lot to say on this subject, in part because the flip side of it is a lot of cat rescue and a lot of unhappy endings because of all the unwanted kittens born all the time. Sometimes it honestly feels like there are 420,000 unwanted kittens born every day, but just several hundred is too many. Click here for an archive of articles on spay/neuter, fostering, assisting shelters and doing all you can to help reduce the population of homeless cats and kittens.
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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
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!