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The Myths of Spaying and Neutering

Thank you to "The Santa Barbara Humane Society" for this article.

If there is any problem easily solved, it should be the pet overpopulation problem. Right? All a pet owner has to do is spay or neuter their companion animal. Simple enough. No, it's not that simple. In fact, there is such a reluctance among many pet owners to have their animals spayed or neutered that, in the United States alone, 15 to 18 million unwanted cats and dogs must be destroyed each year.

There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about spaying and neutering. It's a real tragedy that millions of dogs and cats are killed each year, and yet we can't kill the myths perpetuating their destruction. Will you help us destroy those myths that are destroying our animals? You can start with yourself. Here is a list of some of the myths surrounding this issue. Which one(s) do you still believe in?


MYTH: It's better to allow your female to have one litter before she is spayed or neutered.

FACT: Not true! There is no information to substantiate this claim. In fact, the best time to spay your female dog or cat is before their first heat. It's better for your female pet to be spayed at a young age because spaying prevents uterine infections that often occur later in your pet's life. Spaying also reduces the incidence of mammary (breast) cancer. And, it eliminates unwanted crowds of males from harassing your pet.


MYTH: The operation costs too much.

FACT: There are many low-cost spay/neuter clinics in most areas. And certainly, in the long run, the price of this operation is much cheaper than caring for litters, or for medical problems that can be avoided by spaying or neutering.


MYTH: Pets become fat and lazy after being spayed or neutered.

FACT: Fat animals are usually overfed and under exercised. It's true there can be a tendency for a pet to put on some weight after the operation. But what is not true is that the operation causes the condition. Male dogs and cats, in particular, will roam less and burn fewer calories. If your pet shows signs of putting on a little weight, reduce the calories and increase the walks or play sessions - that will keep the waistline trim!


MYTH: A pet's behaviour changes dramatically after surgery.

FACT: The only change in behaviour you'll see are positive ones. Male cats tend to reduce their territorial spraying depending upon the age they were neutered. If neutered young enough, before they develop the habit of spraying, they may never develop the behaviour. Neutered male cats and dogs fight less resulting in less battle scars and abscesses. They also wander less since they aren't interested in pursuing the female in heat. Therefore, his chances of being hit by a car or getting lost are greatly reduced.


MYTH: Preventing pets from having litters is unnatural.

FACT: We've already interfered with nature by domesticating dogs and cats. We domesticated the dog 15,000 years ago and the cat 8,000 years ago. In doing so we helped create this problem. Now it's our responsibility to solve it.


MYTH: Neutering male cats causes urethral obstructions.

FACT: If a cat is neutered before it matures, neutering can produce a smaller and narrower urethra. While researchers originally thought that this narrower opening could cause more obstructions, studies have indicated that obstructions are not affected by whether or not a cat is neutered.


MYTH: I can find homes for all the puppies or kittens that my female gives birth to.

FACT: Finding good homes for kittens and puppies is not easy. Many pets are discarded once they start to grow. And, who is to ensure that your pet's offspring won't mature, breed, and contribute to the existing problem? There is no way you can guarantee these animals will be spayed or neutered. Do yourself a favour and avoid the agonizing job of trying to find homes for your pet's litter. If you already know of some good homes, send your friends to an Animal Charity - there they will find plenty of kitens and cats needing a loving home.


MYTH: I want my children to see the miracle of birth.

FACT: Frequently the animals go off by themselves to give birth. Teach your children instead about humaneness and kindness to all living creatures by educating them about the importance of spaying and neutering. Besides this, ask yourself, "Am I willing to explain to my children the repercussions of the miracle of birth, which is the miracle of death?"


MYTH: We don't need to neuter males, because they aren't the ones having the litters.

FACT: My favorite myth...because it's the most ridiculous, yet the most prevalent. I guess the immaculate conception explains canine and feline pregnancies. How can you forget that it takes two!


If your pet isn't spayed or neutered, make an appointment today for the surgery. Please pass this article on to your friends and neighbours. You can help us help the animals! Help destroy these myths that destroy life. We can't do it without you!

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