Chances are you’ve already heard about spaying and neutering, sometimes called having a cat “sterilized,” “fixed,” or “altered.” What you may not know are all the ways spaying and neutering helps cats and benefits the communities where they live.
Spaying refers to the surgical removal of a female cat’s ovaries.
Neutering refers to the surgical removal of a male cat’s testes.
Both spaying and neutering are routine procedures performed by veterinarians and done under anesthesia. These surgeries prevent cats from reproducing and help improve their overall health.
Alley Cat Allies advocates for spaying and neutering cats by educating the public, providing educational resources to veterinarians, promoting Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and pediatric spay and neuter, and helping to make spay and neuter more affordable, accessible, and available in communities.
Spaying and Neutering Helps Cats
The biggest benefit of spaying and neutering cats is probably obvious: They no longer reproduce!
For female cats, this means that they won’t go into heat, get pregnant, or have to nurse and care for kittens over and over and over again—which takes a lot of energy and can impact a cat’s overall health.
For male cats, it means they won’t have to fight other male cats for the chance to mate, continually look for females in heat, or constantly defend their territory.
Studies show that spaying and neutering early on can also protect cats from certain reproductive diseases, including cancer. So, whether the cat is an unowned cat, also called a community cat, or an owned cat, spaying and neutering improves their lives.
Communities Benefit, Too!
Spaying and neutering isn’t just good for individual cats, it also improves the communities where they live. When cats are spayed and neutered, it means fewer cats and kittens end up in animal shelters, where it’s very likely they would be killed. It also frees up shelter resources that can be used to help more animals.
That’s why TNR programs are so vital in all communities. While studies show most owned cats are spayed or neutered, that’s not the case for unowned or community cats.
The purpose of TNR is to ensure these cats who live outdoors are also spayed or neutered. Through TNR, community cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped, and then returned to their outdoor home.
TNR makes a huge positive impact in communities by stabilizing cat populations and helping cats and people coexist.
How Alley Cat Allies Promotes Spaying and Neutering
Alley Cat Allies works to ensure officials, advocates, and the public are aware of the critical benefits of spaying and neutering cats. We give them tools and information so they can take steps to increase spay and neuter in their communities. Here’s how we do it:
- Educating Others – Not everyone knows why spaying and neutering cats is so important. Our educational efforts and materials spread the word.
- Veterinarian Resources – Our resources help veterinarians give community cats the care they need, educate their community about cats, and promote veterinary topics (such as pediatric spay and neuter) that improve cats’ lives.
- Pediatric Spay and Neuter – Did you know kittens can be spayed or neutered as soon as they weigh 2 pounds or are 2 months old? It’s safe, effective, and keeps kittens from having kittens of their own.
- Beat the Heat® – While cats can reproduce year-round, the spring and summer months are known as “kitten season” because most litters are born during warmer weather. Alley Cat Allies urges everyone to Beat the Heat and have cats spayed or neutered before their first heat or spring when most unspayed cats go into heat..
- Feline Frenzy® – Spay and neuter clinics are often an essential component of Alley Cat Allies’ Feline Frenzy, a program tailored to each community’s needs in order to create systemic, sustainable, positive change.
- Trap-Neuter-Return – Spaying and neutering community cats through a TNR program is an important way to stabilize cat populations, improve cats’ lives, and help cats and people coexist.
Thanks to our donors and supporters, Alley Cat Allies has been able to make a difference for so many cats and so many communities through spaying and neutering. Join us and we can accomplish even more!
- Becky Robinson Testifies in Support of Maryland’s Spay and Neuter Fund
- New Jersey Considers Statewide TNR Start-Up Grants
- Alley Cat Allies to Hold Feline Frenzy® in the Florida Panhandle
- Trap-Neuter-Return Clinic on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, Benefits Community
- Maryland Program Awards More Than $890,000 for Spay and Neuter