The Importance of Spaying & Neutering Your Pet

girl with pets

Spaying and neutering is something all pet owners should do – and there are many reasons for it. Every year 6-8 million dogs and cats are euthanized across the United States due to over population. An animal in a shelter has a 10% chance of finding a new home before it’s killed. In Los Angeles County alone, nearly $10 million is spent each year to house, feed, kill and dispose of perfectly healthy unwanted pets.   More than 45,000 stray dogs and 2,000,000 feral cats are homeless on L. A. streets.

Here are four key facts as to why you should spay or neuter your pet.

  1. Spaying or neutering increases your pet’s chances for a longer, healthier life.
    • Spaying a female greatly reduces the chances of breast cancer and the threat of uterine and ovarian cancer and uterine infection, thus your pet may live longer.
    • Neutering a male reduces the chances of testicular tumors, hernias, abscesses, prostrate enlargement and prostate cancer later in life, thus your pet may live longer.
  2. An altered dog or cat is a better pet for your family.
    • Neutered males (especially young males) are less aggressive and less tempted to leave your property.
    • Neutered males also are less likely to mark the inside of your house with urine (often called spraying).
    • Spaying your female pet eliminates the problem of stray males camping in your yard and decreases her desire to roam and breed.
  3. No family wants to cope with an unwanted pregnancy.
    Spaying prevents your pet from giving birth to unwanted puppies or kittens. More animals cost more money.
  4. Less animals will die in shelters if your pet is spayed or neutered.

    In 2000 – 2001 94,514 unwanted dogs and cats were euthanized (killed) at shelters in the County of Los Angeles. Most animals are brought to the shelter because of accidental breeding by free-roaming, unaltered pets which the owners can’t find homes for. More pets spayed or neutered means fewer dogs and cats killed.

Some believe that spaying or neutering their pet with have adverse effects on them. Here are nine myths that dispel those beliefs.

  1. My pet will get fat and lazy.
    Pets that become fat and lazy after being spayed or neutered usually are overfed and do not get enough exercise.
  2. My pet doesn’t go outside, so he/she doesn’t need to be fixed.
    There is no guarantee that your pet won’t get loose by accident and there are health benefits if you fix your pet. The pet over-population problem is caused by animals that are not fixed and get out, even if it’s just once.
  3. My pet’s personality will change.
    After being fixed, your pet will be less aggressive toward other dogs or cats, will be more affectionate towards you and will be less likely to wander. Your cat and dog will be unlikely to spray (urine marking) after they are fixed.
  4. I just couldn’t look my dog or cat in the eye if I had him castrated.
    You’re giving your dog or cat human feelings. Your dog and cat don’t have a sense of gender in the way humans do.
  5. It’s natural and it wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t let them have at least one litter.
    There hasn’t been anything “natural” about dogs or cats since we domesticated them thousands of years ago. We’ve interfered with nature by domesticating them, so they are no longer wild animals and are dependent on our choices. By domesticating animals we’ve created the tragedy of pet over-population. We now have the responsibility to solve it. Giving birth has health risks, not giving birth doesn’t.
  6. My children should witness our pet giving birth.
    Pets often have their litters at night or in a hiding place so you’ll rarely see it. If pets are disturbed or can’t have privacy when giving birth, it can result in an animal refusing to care for their babies. An alternative is to foster a pregnant mom, or nursing mom with babies and teach your children the value of saving animals and the responsibility of finding them good homes. (Fostering can be set up through your local rescue group.)
  7. We can sell puppies or kittens to make money.
    The cost of raising a litter is very expensive and will be more than the profit of selling the animal. Why would someone buy from you when they can get a pet from the shelter for the same price that is already fixed and has a micro-chip (a device for owners to find lost pets)?
  8. We want another pet just like Rover and Fluffy or every one want’s my animals/purebreds.
    Breeding two purebred animals rarely results in babies that are exactly like one of the parents. With mixed breeds, it is impossible to have offspring that are exactly like one of the parents.
  9. I’m afraid the surgery isn’t safe and my pet might die.
    Getting a pet spayed or neutered is the most common surgery performed and is very safe. Many veterinarians use equipment which monitors heart and respiratory rates during surgery to make sure the pets are doing well. The health benefits of having your pet spayed or neutered are far greater than the risk involved with surgery.

Kitten Rescue was founded in the spring of 1997 and has grown to become one of the largest and most respected animal welfare groups in Los Angeles. We are a non-profit, totally volunteer run organization devoted to finding loving new homes for unwanted cats and kittens. Kitten Rescue volunteers place approximately 1,000 cats and kittens into new homes every year. Since its inception, Kitten Rescue has rescued and placed over 14,000 cats into loving homes. More information about Kitten Rescue can be found at