February 16, 2022 3 min read

Did you know many people don’t know when is the best time to spay and neuter their cat? Some shelters will spay or neuter as early as 8 weeks, while most kittens are fixed before or at 5 months.

Spaying and neutering your pets is important and can have several health benefits.Your cat will typically need about 10-14 days to recover in a quiet and comfortable place. But spaying and neutering free-roaming cats is also extremely important and can often be overlooked. Free-roaming cats are any cat that is not confined to a household or enclosure, not just feral cats. Since February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, we’re looking at some of the many reasons trying to get free-roaming cats fixed is important.

Cats reproduce quickly

Cats can begin producing litters from as young as 6 months of age. If two cats are fertile, they could have 3 litters in just one year. Meaning their litters would go on to produce another several litters and so on. Sadly, many of these kittens born outdoors with little to no human intervention will pass away before they make it to adulthood. The end result is disease and overpopulation amongst cat communities.

Overpopulation = overcrowded shelters

It shouldn’t be too surprising that only 10% of the animals that are brought into shelters are spayed and neutered. Because of this, it means that most animals are non-sterile and contributing to overpopulation and then brought to shelters, causing the shelters to be overcrowded and unable to properly accommodate each animal. While there are thousands of no-kill shelters across the country, there are many shelters who will euthanize animals – many of which are perfectly healthy and lack behavioral problems, when they have been in the shelter for too long.

Less chance of behavioral issues

Non-sterile free-roaming cats not only participate in more fighting and aggressive behaviors when they are in overcrowded areas, but they also have many other behavioral issues that can lead to property damage, such as marking. Spaying and neutering of these cats helps to decrease or eliminate these behavioral problems, giving them a chance at life within a household or as healthier, happier free-roaming cats.

Support TNR programs

You can help solve two important issues when you choose to support Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) programs: overpopulation of outdoor cats and overpopulation of shelters. TNR programs seek to humanely decrease the free-roaming cat population by spaying and neutering cats and releasing them back where they were caught. This not only prevents future litters, but reduces the amount of shelter admissions and helps to give more animals a chance at finding their forever home.

Not sure of a TNR program near you? Fixfinder is an ever-growing online database to find TNR programs in your area.

Consider adoption

Because overpopulation is a common issue amongst free-roaming animals, many shelters become full as a result. By adopting from a shelter, you can give a furry friend a forever home and free up space for future free-roaming cats.

Consult your veterinarian when it comes to spaying and neutering your own animals. They will know when the best time is and be able to address any concerns you may have.

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