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February is National Prevent a Litter Month which means it’s time to discuss how to prevent your kitten, or cat, from bringing forth an unnecessary number of new kittens into the world. This holiday falls in February because the spring season or “kitten season,” is right around the corner.
Did you know that each year more than 2.7 million healthy cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters across the country? Rather than be part of the problem, we, as pet owners should be part of the solution. While kittens are cute there are far too many cats living in our world today.
If you plan to adopt a new kitten this year, it’s recommended that you have your kitten spayed or neutered by the time they reach five months of age. At six months of age your new kitten is capable of reproducing a brand new litter of kittens.
Having your kitten spayed or neutered prevents your pet from developing cancer as he or she grows older. Spaying a kitten greatly reduces the risk that she will develop unterine infections and breast tumors which are malignant in 90 percent of all female cats.
Having your male kitten neutered is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent testicular cancer. It also cuts down on prostate problems and urinary issues in older, male cats.
Cats that are unaltered will spend all hours of the day and night pacing, and howling at the door longing to be let out. If you allow your pet to be spayed and neutered, this behavior will stop your cat from wanting to roam the neighborhood in search of a cat to breed with. If you allow your cat to be altered, and kept inside, this will help stop their natural instinct to want to roam the streets.
Cats that are altered are much healthier and much more pleasant than cats that aren’t.
The most common reason that cats are surrendered is because they like to spray, EVERYTHING. Spraying is common in both male and female cats and it’s their way of marking their territory. Once again, having your cat spayed or neutered is the best way to end this behavior.
Indoor cats that have been altered live much longer lives than outdoor cats who are allowed to remain unaltered. Cats who are allowed to roam outdoors are prone to injured while on the prowl. Keeping your cat indoors will hopefully, greatly reduce your bill at the veterinarian. Outdoor cats are also more likely to be struck and killed by vehicles when they wander out into the street or onto a busy highway.
If you plan to keep your cat unaltered, please take look at the following statistics regarding cats and overpopulation:
The average female cat has ONE TO EIGHT KITTENS per litter. Cats are capable of producing TWO TO THREE LITTERS per year. During their lifetime this means that just ONE CAT can produce as many as 100 KITTENS. That’s a lot of kittens for just one animal, but wait, there’s more.
When fully grown, Those 100 KITTENS could also produce 100 KITTENS each. In seven short years that number adds up to more than 400,000 KITTENS.
You can greatly reduce the number of unnecessary kittens in the world by having your kitten spayed or neutered by the time they reach five months of age. At six months of age your kitten will most likely reach his or her first heat cycle which means they are capable of breeding.
Did you know that in Maricopa County there are an estimated 250,000 cats that are stray and roaming the streets? Through a program called Trap-Neuter-Return, or TNR, the Arizona Humane Society has committed to giving outdoor cats a better quality of life by moving away from having them euthanized.
TNR Programs are the most effective way to help stabilize the outdoor cat population. Not only do they reduce the number of cats living on the streets but they allow for undomesticated cats to live out their lives in their current colonies.
For more information about other TNR Programs in Arizona, be sure to visit http://www.azhumane.org. There you will find other resources such as how to help stray kittens and what to do if you happen to lose, or even find a pet.
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