Add to today’s most pressing problems of drug abuse, homelessness, poverty, war, and the many others, yet one
more dilemma that concerns a great number of folks. It is our nation’s overpopulation of pets. It isn’t a new problem, but one that has gradually worsened over the years until it has now reached such proportions that it demands immediate attention.
There are billions of animals fending for themselves on the streets of America. In the beginning these animals were bred to be helpers and companions, but like so many of mankind’s well-intentioned endeavors, this one went haywire because of his failure to act responsibly and consistantly. As a result, what began as both a pleasurable as well as a beneficial coexistence between man and his pets became what is now a situation terribly out of control.
Unlike the very complicated problems of humankind, there is an apparent solution to this one, if it would just be applied. All folks would have to do is neuter and spay the pets they own. Combined with the fine work of our SPCAs and other animal welfare agencies, neutering and spaying by all private pet owners could remedy the problem in a fairly short amount of time. The procedure, which alters the reproductive organs, is easy and inexpensive. Most communities even have programs that defray some or all of the cost for those who need it.
Ponder this for a moment. One female cat, probably part of a loving family, is permitted to become pregnant, perhaps because the parents feel the educational experience would be good for the kids. This is one of the most common reasons people opt not to alter their pets, the other reason being the misguided belief that it’s unnatural or unfair to deny a pet the right to reproduce. In actuality the operation produces a calmer, more content, and overall better pet.
The female cat in question has now had the average litter of four, two of which are female. In six months they are capable of having their own litters, which they do–litters of four. One cat has now become thirteen in a mere six months. Do you know thirteen people who would like a new cat?
Two females from each of these two litters have in another six months their own litters of four, while during that same six months the original cat has had another litter of four, as have the two females from her first litter. It is not uncommon for one female cat to have over forty descendants in the space of one year. The saddest fact is that there are homes for only a tiny fraction of these animals.
The importance of neutering and spaying can not be overstressed. It should be without question a priority for all pet owners. If the reproduction of unwanted animals can be halted, and as many of the homeless as possible removed from the streets and placed into shelters, followed by good homes, then maybe someday the point will be reached when shelters are all but unneeded and pets are never put to death because there is nowhere to go.