There is a serious pet over-population, not just in the US, but across the world. And the biggest reason for this is that people do not spay or neuter their pets. According to the ASPCA website, only “10% of the animals received by shelters have been spayed or neutered.” Only one in ten animals.
What can that mean in terms of over-population? Cats can be sexually mature from 3 ½ months, usually after they reach 4.4 pounds. They can have up to three litters per year and the average is four kittens per litter. That is 12 kittens each year for one cat. Cats do not experience menopause. So they can have kittens their entire lives, but will usually slow down as they grow older. Still, that can be from 40 to over 100 kittens for just one cat. If only one in ten cats is spayed, that is hundreds and hundreds of kittens in just a few years. There just aren’t that many homes for all of them.
Dogs start a little later, from six to 12 months. These numbers vary much more in dogs because of the different sizes and breeds. However, on average, a litter of puppies will be between five and eight, with a female dog averaging five to eight litters per lifetime. Again, just too many for the number of loving, safe homes available.
But why don’t people get their pets spayed and neutered? Just think of the difference we humans could make for animals if we could get the number of pets spayed and neutered up, 20%, 40%, 50%? But the reasons animals are not spayed or neutered are many and complicated. We will look at some of those reasons in upcoming posts.