Have you sterilized your pets? February is Spay/Neuter Awareness month and the BC SPCA is encouraging all British Columbians to take action to help end the massive pet overpopulation problem in the province, especially where cats are concerned.
“The BC SPCA and many others – including veterinarians, rescue groups, cat coalitions, municipal governments and First Nations – are constantly working to address the overpopulation issue, but there are still many more cats born in the province each year than there are homes for,” says Amy Morris, BC SPCA officer, policy and outreach. “We’ve had a lot of success working with groups like the Surrey Community Cat Coalition and the newly formed Okanagan Cat Coalition, and we’re asking the public to recognize that this is a community problem, not just an issue for the SPCA or cat lovers.”
There are tens of thousands of cats and kittens living outdoors in B.C. who suffer from frostbite, starvation, illness, predator attacks and injuries, Morris notes. While the BC SPCA provides spay/neuter services for every animal adopted, operates three spay/neuter clinics in Vancouver, Prince George and Kamloops, and offers spay/neuter community grants among other initiatives, community members must take action to end the suffering.
“So many animals still suffer and die after being abandoned by their guardians. It’s tragic because it is a completely preventable problem,” Morris says. “So much can be prevented by spaying or neutering your pet by six months of age.”
Some of the benefits of spaying and neutering are:
Decreased aggression. Neutering generally reduces aggressive behaviours in pets. Neutered dogs are calmer and less likely to bite, attack, or get into altercations at the dog park. Neutered cats don’t have the drive to mark and protect their territory and are less likely to spray or get into cat fights;
Calmer, happier pets. Female cats go in and out of heat every three weeks between January and November. In addition to preventing unwanted litters, spaying your cat will reduce her desire to escape to find a mate, spraying or inappropriate elimination, howling and attracting unwanted male cats onto your property;
Increased health. Spaying or neutering your pet reduces the likelihood of them developing uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers;
Good overall pet care. Having your sterilized also provides an opportunity to have other important health procedures performed, as necessary, such as an identification tattoo or microchip or teeth cleaning. Spaying and neutering is done under a general anesthetic, so your pet won’t be in pain.
There are also low-cost pet sterilization programs available throughout the province, but Morris is hopeful that, with the help of concerned animal lovers who volunteer their time and skills, British Columbia’s massive pet overpopulation problem will one day, be history.
“Our goal is for every companion animal in B.C. to enjoy a warm, loving home,” she says.
For more information, visit spayneuter.ca.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.