Spay and Neuter Your Cat

Life on the street is difficult for stray animals in general, but there is a widely held belief that cats can adapt to that life more easily than other animals. Some call this "going wild." It's a myth.

Only the lucky cats get to live longer than a few months or years. It's actually very rare for a stray cat to live longer than 2 years, in fact. Life on the street is very competitive and "survival of the fittest" is the law of this human jungle.

Cats lurking behind restaurants, pawing through trash bins, howling during mating season, fighting for territory and mating rights, and darting across streets are all considered nothing more than mere pests.

How would you survive if you had been thrown into the street? Imagine this street is in a foreign country - and you don't know the language, the local customs, and you can't trust anyone. Would you hide in dark corners if you thought someone might kill you? Would you pick through trash if you had no other options to find food (that you knew of)? Would you think it fair to be labeled a pest?

As humans who have been given "dominion" over the animals (if you care to accept the Biblical edict), it is our duty to learn what that responsibility entails. Dominion does not mean the right to abuse and neglect other life forms.

One of our biggest duties to stray animals is to stop the cycle of overpopulation. After all, this impacts our lives as well. Even a cat-hater would do well to support spay-neuter efforts, as they would find fewer problems in the long run for their neighborhoods.

Stray cats notwithstanding, just altering all owned pets would make a huge difference. After all, most strays did start out as household pets. Perhaps they got left behind when their families moved away. Perhaps their owners threw them out of the house for some behavior problem they couldn't handle. Unaltered, these animals reproduce at an alarming rate. The growth of the stray population becomes exponential when the offspring of those unions continue the reproductive cycle. Since these newly born cats are not owned by anyone, they are not tame. This is how many "feral" colonies begin.

Just trapping and killing the excess population never has made a difference. Wouldn't someone realize by now that, if killing them worked, it would have worked by now?

Copyright 2006 - 2007 - RJ Peters 
Dr. R.J. Peters, a retired physician, established an animal rescue shelter in 2002. She has worked with hundreds of dogs and cats and shares much of what she's learned, at The Problem Cat.