Paws for a Moment by Bonny Corbeil

The Importance of Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

A mind-boggling fact: In seven years, one unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce over 450,000 cats!

Let’s do the math.

One cat can have kittens at only four months. This unspayed female can then produce a litter of three to seven kittens. Many will be females who can then give birth within another four months. Start multiplying the time frame we are talking about and…I think you get the picture, uh?

This exponential multiplication factor is astounding. It is understandable why 20 plus years ago on St. John that there were so many colonies of diseased, starving cats at every dumpster.

We have some kind of population control today because of the spay and neuter program organized by your ACC, its dedicated volunteers and your important financial donations.

Several million cats and kittens are turned in to shelters all over the country because of overpopulation. One visit to our ACC and you can sadly see that there are simply too many kittens and cats to find homes for. It is important that you spay or neuter your pet as a responsible pet owner.

Why you should spay or neuter your pet?
The most important reasons are that spaying and neutering make your pets friendlier and gentler, easier to live with as they do not have constant mating urges, and make females less susceptible to specific tumors and infections. Neutered males are less prone to having territorial fights, making us all sleep better at night!

Spaying is the surgical removal of the female cat’s uterus and ovaries, usually done after she is six months old and between “heats” and litters of kittens. An unspayed cat is frequently in heat. Spaying stops the howling, rolling, roaming, and pacing related to mating behavior. It also reduces the severe uterine infections and your cat’s risk of mammary cancer.

Neutering a male cat or castration is the removal of the testicles. It is a simple procedure best done at six months before your cat starts spraying. (Those of us with open vehicles all know how nasty cat spraying is)! Neutering is considered to be 90 percent effective in eliminating roaming, howling and marking territory in males. It is also successful in discouraging aggressive behavior making your cat more affectionate. It is 100 percent effective in eliminating unwanted pregnancies.

The Costs
The cost to spay a female cat is $85, as this operation is a little more complicated. A male neutering is $35. Both procedures are completed in one day.

Help from Our ACC
We understand that money is tight for many folks. If you are unable to afford this procedure, call the ACC. If you would like to help out with these costs, please send us a donation. Our next column will explain the ACC’s “Spay and Neuter Days” organized weekly with our local vet and how you can help us catch homeless animals for spay and neutering to minimize our island animal population.

ACC Take Note:
You have an opportunity this year to “Parade Your Pet” in our Coral Bay Labor Day Parade on Monday, Sept. 4, at 11 a.m. Just show up with your pet and the kids! We ask that you make sure that your pet is social and on a leash, and bring water and perhaps an umbrella for shade. If you are really motivated, you can add a little splash of St. John creativity to the mix by dressing up — either you or your pet or both! (Hey, it’s a parade)! You are also invited to make a sign to carry to remind people on how to be responsible pet owners. It is a great opportunity to simply have fun and remind our community how much we appreciate and respect animals.

In my last column on “Hurricane Prepared-ness for Animals,” I neglected to remind people to be sure to untie any tethered animals — goats or dogs at the first sign of a hurricane. Remember it is your full responsibility and the law to ensure the safety of your animal.