Kittens and puppies, oh my! Part II

This is article #2 in a new summer series. Please read last week’s article if you haven’t already!

As you know, it’s raining kittens and puppies right now. And while these baby animals are fuzzy and cute, their sheer numbers are almost unbelievable. Approximately 70,000 kittens and puppies are born EACH DAY in the United States alone (

Compare that with almost 10,000 humans born each day. No matter how you look at that number, there will never be enough homes for these animals. As a result, nearly 9 million cats and dogs die in our shelters each year.

These numbers are both staggering and heart breaking. But there is an easy fix: spay and neuter. The general rule is “fix at 4 months”, and many shelters and rescues have worked hard to make this ‘rule’ common knowledge (

Most shelters and local humane societies offer low-cost spay/neuter services. Additionally, low cost clinics perform these surgeries. It’s a safe procedure, and does not, as myths suggest, change your dog’s behavior or make them fat. What it will do is eliminate the chance for unwanted litters, reduce the risk of reproductive cancers, and eliminate bad habits like spraying.

But what about the nearly 70 million feral cats in this country? How do you get a “wild animal” to the vet for a spay/neuter surgery? And does it matter? It’s just a stray or shy cat that you are nice enough to feed on your back porch. Yet, feeding is not enough. You must get that cat fixed–that one cat can have 18 kittens a year. All of sudden, your desire to help a sweet homeless cat has put you in the position of feeding a herd! And intact cats (ones that haven’t been ‘fixed’) have a lower quality of life. They fight more, roam more, and are more susceptible to disease. Managed feral cats, on the other hand, have a longer, happier life due to that one simple surgery.

Next week, in part 3, we will discuss the international movement known as “T-N-R”: trap, neuter, & release. We will talk about how to properly trap a feral cat, how to tell if that cat is already ‘fixed’ (yes!–there is a way without even touching the cat!), how to take advantage of free and low-cost feral ‘spay days’, and how to care for the cat once it’s been altered and you’ve brought it back ‘home’.