We are in the midst of what the folks at the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley refer to as peak kitten season. Feline over-population means the shelter, in Marietta, is unable to accept any new cats. In fact, while there are about 70 cats and kittens housed at the shelter, there are more than 100 living in foster homes. That is nearly 200 cats, connected to just one local animal shelter.
Were it not for those caring volunteers who foster so many animals, the situation would be even grimmer for the hundreds of cats and dogs in need of loving homes, as the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley animal shelter is not able to operate as a no-kill shelter.
But depending on the kindness of volunteers is not the best way to do what is right for these domestic animals. Spaying and neutering animals is not only the most effective way to control the population, it is also healthier for them. Spayed cats, for example, are less likely to develop certain cancers, while neutered cats also see a reduced risk for cancer and reduced chance of transmitted disease or injury through fighting with other cats.
On the other hand, the average unspayed female cat can produce up to three litters of four to six kittens per year. In theory, that means over the course of seven years one female cat and her offspring can produce hundreds of thousands of cats.
True animal lovers understand it is not doing any favors to the animals to allow unchecked reproduction. It is considerably more humane to have cats and dogs spayed or neutered. And, while you are at it, look into volunteering or donating to local animal shelters dealing with the massive numbers of cats and dogs who will, rest assured, continue to fill their cages.