Back in the mists of time known as the early 1980s, many people in my rural part of the country — my family included — didn’t spay or neuter their cats. It just wasn’t a thing back then. The surgery was expensive and risky, particularly because veterinarians didn’t do the kind of anesthesia and recovery monitoring and pain management that they do now.
Today, things are different. The benefits of spaying and neutering, and the risk of not doing so, are well known. But some still people refuse to have their cats fixed. Here are eight excuses that really grind my gears and why they’re simply not valid.
No. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Cats who are not spayed before their first heat are at a greatly increased risk of developing mammary cancer and cancers of the uterus and ovaries. Obviously, removal of the uterus and ovaries renders that cancer risk nonexistent, and the absence of hormones will greatly reduce the risk of mammary cancer as well.
Really? Really? Oh, come on! They’re not your gonads, so get over it! Your cat doesn’t have the same level of attachment to his genitals as you do, and the absence of testicles isn’t going to destroy his self-esteem. Not only that, but your male cat will stop spraying his rank urine all over your stuff and roaming around the neighborhood looking for mates. He’ll also stop fighting with other cats over mates, thereby reducing his risk of getting incurable diseases such as FIV and feline leukemia.
Spaying and neutering don’t make cats fat; feeding them too much and not exercising them enough does.
Then foster a pregnant cat for a shelter. That way you’re allowing your kids to see how babies are born, and you’re making a positive difference for the cats in your community. Also, sometimes birth isn’t so miraculous: Kittens can be stillborn or die shortly after birth. Do you think your kids are ready to experience that reality yet?
Low-cost spay/neuter services are available all across the U.S. and Canada. Some organizations provide mobile clinics that will go to you, and some even provide transportation if you don’t have a way to get your cat there.
Are your children just like you? Were you just like your mother or father? No? Well, you can’t count on your cat’s kittens being just like him or her, either.
So are at least a quarter of the cats who end up in shelters. And your point is?
Do you wear glasses? Well, get rid of them because God obviously doesn’t want you to be able to see well. Do you take medication for a chronic illness? Stop taking it right now because it’s clearly God’s will that you should die young. The fact is that in the big picture, not spaying or neutering your cat causes untold suffering, even if it doesn’t seem to harm your little house cat. If you believe in a loving God, why would you want to deliberately let cats suffer and die when something could be done to change that?
What other excuses have you heard people use for not spaying or neutering their cats? How do you respond? Were you an anti-spay/neuter person who changed your mind, and what caused that change of heart? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.