Bob Barker said it. Betty White said it. Rescues, shelters, veterinarians, and animal welfare organizations all say it. But do you know why they say it?

We’re talking about spaying or neutering your pets, of course. One of the reasons people encourage spaying and neutering is to help address the overpopulation of unwanted pets. It’s true. There are tens of thousands of cats and kittens living outdoors in B.C. who suffer from frostbite, starvation, illness, predator attacks, and injuries.

Communities spend millions of dollars to control and eliminate unwanted animals. Irresponsible breeding contributes to the problem of dog bites and attacks and animal shelters are overburdened with surplus animals. So yes, overpopulation is definitely a reason to spay or neuter your pet.

Spaying or neutering your pet isn’t just about preventing unwanted litters; it also plays a vital role in their overall health. Let’s take a look.

Spaying or neutering is:

Better for your pet.

  • Dogs and cats that have been altered often live longer lives than their unaltered counterparts.
  • Spaying female dogs and cats eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer.
  • Neutering male dogs and cats reduces the incidence of prostate cancer.
  • Neutered animals are less likely to roam and fight.
  • Other procedures, as necessary, can also be done at the time of the operation, including an identification tattoo or microchip, teeth cleaning, hernia repair and/or baby teeth removal.

Better for your family.

  • Spayed and neutered pets are better, more affectionate, companions.
  • Neutered cats are less likely to spray and mark territory.
  • Spayed and neutered pets are less likely to bite. Unaltered animals often exhibit more behaviour and temperament problems than those that have been spayed or neutered.
  • Heat cycles are usually twice a year for dogs, and result in many unwanted behavioural changes including possible aggression. Cats generally go in and out of heat every three weeks between January and November. Female cats in heat can howl relentlessly, may try to escape to mate, spray or urinate inappropriately, and attract unwanted male cats.
  • Unplanned pregnancies can lead to an overpopulation of pets, creating stress not just for your furry friend but for your entire household. Unwanted litters bring about a host of challenges, from finding suitable homes for the offspring to managing the health needs of multiple animals simultaneously and taking on the financial burden of caring for additional animals. By opting for spaying or neutering, you’re contributing to a calmer and more harmonious living environment for both your pet and your family.

Better for your community.

We already explored some of the issues that arise within our communities as a result of overpopulation of cats and dogs, however, some other things to consider are:

  • Research shows that, as an individual, you help reduce overpopulation issues in your community when you spay or neuter your pet.
  • Reducing the number of stray animals helps prevent other pets and wildlife from being injured or killed in fights.
  • Fixing your pet helps reduce the number of stray animals getting into or causing car accidents, getting into garbage cans, and damaging property.
  • You will help reduce the pressure on the humans dealing with unwanted pets.

What Else Can You Do?

  • Talk to your family, friends and neighbours about the importance and benefits of spaying and neutering.
  • Microchip your pet and keep your registration information up to date.
  • Send a letter to your mayor and council to request spay/neuter funds for your area.
  • Volunteer to help with transporting a cat who needs spay/neuter surgery.
  • Help build a community cat shelter.
  • Donate to cover the cost of a cat spay or neuter.
  • Tell family, friends and neighbours about the risks of allowing cats outdoors.
  • Share the attached infographic to help inform others of the pet overpopulation problem.


See also: Common Myths About Spaying or Neutering Your Pet