This morning my 3 cats watched with anticipation as I filled their food bowls. Today is the 1-year anniversary of the day Stanley, my 2-year-old dog, found the litter of kittens with their mother in the bushes in my backyard.
That morning I was in the house when I heard Stanley barking in the yard. It was his “there is an animal that doesn’t belong in the yard” bark. A momma cat had evidently moved her litter of 3 kittens into a box in the bushes. The stray momma cat has since been spayed, the 3 kittens, Dominic, Harvey, and Fluffy, have been neutered, micro-chipped, and now live with me.
My intention was to foster them and find them good homes. I tried for months, with ads in the paper, signs around town, etc., but there were no takers. The shelters were overflowing, and I could not bring myself to turn them into animal control. Of course they are now “my boys,” and you could not take them from me if you tried. This is, however, a reminder of the importance of spaying and neutering.
Each spring animal shelters all over the country fill up quickly due to the number of cats and kittens that are turned in. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that each year approximately 2 million cats and kittens are brought into shelters. Approximately 70% of these relinquished kitties are euthanized each year. Since most do not have ID collars or microchips, their owners cannot be located. The cats that do not make it into a shelter become strays. An un-spayed female cat, her mate, and all of their offspring can produce 11,000 kittens in just 5 years!
The solution to the cat over-population problem is simple. It begins with every cat owner being responsible enough to get their cats fixed. This is just as important for indoor-only cats. No one can guarantee that the cat will never make a break for it and make it outside where they will encounter un-fixed cats.There are also many behavioral and health benefits to spaying and neutering.
There aren’t enough homes for them all. Please spay and neuter your pets and encourage your friends and family to do the same.