It’s simple: Spaying and neutering helps prevent the unnecessary deaths of cats and dogs who are perfectly fine, other than that there are no homes for them.
- Spaying is a veterinary procedure during which the ovaries and uterus of a female pet are removed.
- Neutering is a veterinary procedure during which the testicles of a male pet are removed.
- Both procedures require minimal hospitalization and offer lifelong health benefits.
Every year, 3 to 4 million rejected cats and dogs—of all ages and breeds—are euthanized in the U.S. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.
Many million more companion animals suffer as strays. It is impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the US; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million. Does that seem like a lot? Not when you crunch some numbers:
Start with one unspayed female cat who produces three litters of 4.5 kittens in one year. Then suppose each of these kittens finds a mate and reproduces at the same rate, and so on for the following generations…all while the original female continues breeding, too. If none of these cats are sterilized, how many cats will you wind up with?
Year 1: 14
Year 2: 203
Year 3: 2,754
Year 4: 37,193
Year 5: 502,119
Year 6: 6,778,620
Year 7: 91,511,383
Because dogs cannot get pregnant three times a year, the numbers for dogs aren’t quite as dramatic—but keep in mind that some large breeds can have as many as 12 puppies in one litter.
“But my pet isn’t a stray,” you say. “My cat [or dog] is a beloved family member, and I’m probably not even going to breed her.” That’s great—but did you know that unspayed female cats and dogs are at risk of developing ovarian and uterine cancers, as well as pyometritis, a potentially fatal bacterial infection of the uterus? They also have higher rates of mammary cancer than their spayed pals. As for the boys: Unneutered male cats and dogs are much more likely to urine-mark in inappropriate places, more likely to run away and to fight, and more likely to contract certain communicable diseases. Also, a neutered pet cannot develop testicular cancer.
Quick Stats: Pet Overpopulation and Spay/Neuter
- Approximately five to seven million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and well over half (roughly 60% of dogs and 70% of cats) are euthanized due to a lack of space or resources to adequately care for them. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.
- Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control.
- Only 10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. It is estimated that 75% to 90% percent of owned pets are spayed/neutered.
- Experts estimate that 2% of stray cats are spayed/neutered.*
- The average number of litters a fertile cat produces is one to three a year; the average number of kittens in litters is between four and six.
- The average number of litters a fertile dog produces is one a year; the average number of puppies in litters is between four and six.
- Approximately 76 percent of dog owners report that their dogs are spayed or neutered; 87 percent of cat owners report that their cats are spayed or neutered. +
Please be a responsible pet parent—spay or neuter your pets.
-At what age can my pet be spay or neutered?
Pets can be safely spayed or neutered as early as 8 weeks of age. We prefer to wait until 3 months at which time the puppy or kitten should have already had a series of vaccines. We do include one Distemper combination booster shot, and a Rabies vaccine at that age, if needed.
-Is having my pet spayed or neutered on a mobile unit safe and sterile?
Yes! AHS Mobile Unit is a completely equipped and staffed “clinic on wheels” that goes directly into communities to perform safe sterilization of cats and dogs. A licensed veterinarian, in a sterile environment performs all surgeries. An on-board generator and water supply make the unit totally self-sufficient and able to travel into even the most remote areas to serve you.