Debunking the Myths: Just One Litter

We have been talking about numbers in this series. The number of loving cats and dogs that go without homes. And we hope that through this discussion, Cats in Tow can make a small difference in those numbers.

The Humane Society has a succinct list of myths and facts surrounding spaying and neutering. We will explore some of these myths in more depth in the next few posts.

The first myth is a prevalent one: It’s better to have one litter before spaying a female pet.

Where does this myth come from? That is difficult to say. There may be a relationship to the myth that having a litter will calm a dog. There is no evidence for this. Dogs and cats are not human. They mate and breed because their natural instincts tell them to do so, but having a litter does not change the essential nature of most dogs or cats.

Many people even think that letting their dog have a litter of puppies will fix behavioral problems. No! Fixing behavioral problems in dogs requires training and exercise. In fact, some dogs become more aggressive because their natural instinct to protect their offspring kicks in. This again is biology. They are protecting their gene pool and should not be confused with a mothering instinct.

The truth is that there is a lot of medical evidence that shows cats and dogs that do not give birth are healthier:

  • Female dogs and cats spayed before going into heat have a significantly reduced risk of developing mammary cancer.
  • Spaying your dog greatly reduces the possibility that she’ll contract pyometra, a potentially fatal bacterial infection.
  • While ovarian and uterine tumors are uncommon in dogs, spaying reduces the risk that they will develop.
  • Carrying and giving birth to puppies can cause physical suffering and stress for dogs.

(For more details, visit the ASPCA website.)

According to Alley Cat, “research shows that kittens and puppies spayed or neutered before 12 weeks of age have fewer complications from surgery than those over 12 weeks. Also, kittens and puppies rebound much faster after the surgical procedure, with less stress than their counterparts over six months of age.”

As well, “[s]payed and neutered cats lead improved, healthier, and longer lives. Spayed outdoor females are able to enjoy a happier and longer life without the constant stress of endless pregnancies and nursing kittens, and neutered males are calmer and no longer suffer injuries in fights over females and territory.”

If you wait to spay or neuter, you run the risk of inadvertently contributing to pet over-population, and ultimately to the death of dogs and cats. Dogs and cats in heat are focused on one thing, breeding. Even indoor cats and highly-supervised dogs are notorious escape artists at this time.

In terms of emotional health, cats and dogs will not regret not having a litter. Yes, we love them like family, but we need to remember that they having offspring is purely biological for them. They do not have an emotional tie to being a parent as people do.

If the health of your pet is your first concern, then spaying or neutering is the best course.

A Happy Ending for BC

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Angie, Cats in Tow Volunteer, has a wonderful adoption story to share with us today:

“This is Raymond and Buttercup, who was renamed BC. Buttercup is a real firecracker of a cat. She was notoriously testy with everyone. A few people she was very sweet with but most of us got hisses and scratches at her worst and cold indifference at her best.

Raymond, however, was not deterred. Here’s what happened:

He knew her history and about her mostly less-than-sunny disposition. He came to visit with her. He sat on the bench in the visitors room. He called her name. She immediately bounced out of her cage, trotted directly to Raymond and lay on the floor– ON HER BACK– for him to pet her! Honestly, if I hadn’t seen it for myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. She had found her person!

Raymond was taken with her and we proceeded with the adoption. When it came time to crate her for the trip home, however, she was just beside herself. She was furious, scared and very uncooperative but eventually was ready for her trip home. So, the family picture was of Raymond on the bench beside Buttercup in the carrier!

The photo above shows how well BC is now doing, proving once again that cats find their people and when that happens, they thrive!”

Time for A New Addition, Part 2: Stretching Out

In the first post in this series, I discussed that adopting a pet means giving them their best. I don’t mean diamond studded collars or fresh caught tuna! I mean the best in terms of everything a cat (or cats, dogs, birds or whatever creatures you want to share your life with) needs to be happy and healthy.

 In terms of space, we happen to live in a four-room apartment (not four bedrooms – I mean a bedroom, bathroom, living room kitchen then a large hall that connects these rooms). Is the space big enough for two cats? The actual rooms are quite spacious, but will the cats have enough room to roam. That of course also depends on the cats – age, temperament etc.

Outdoor cats are not an option for us. First, we live on the fifth floor! Also, we believe an indoor life is healthier for cats and wildlife. We do have a balcony, but we would not allow the cats to be on the balcony unsupervised. Therefore the space is limited. How much is enough for cats?

Another consideration in terms of the space is where will the cat related items go. There are the basics such as litter boxes (most experts recommend one per cat) and food and water dishes. We also feel a climbing tree with scratching posts will be a necessity with the limited space in the apartment and no access to outside.

Going back to litter box and food dishes, there are specific space considerations here. Cats do not like to have these things near each other. Do we have appropriate spaces for these items that the cats will be happy with? Do we have appropriate space that we will be happy with (out of the way but still easy to clean)?

As always, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. No answers, but some guidance.  I started here for some general information on indoor cats: RSPCA on Indoor Cats

Another part of this issue is the number of cats. We are looking at two because we want them to have companions, as we both work during the day. We will stop with two, but many people don’t which can be very unhealthy. This article tries to answer the question of how many is too many: How Many Cats are Too Many

The section titled ‘Social Concerns’ was particularly interesting for me in this article: Preventing Your Cat from Getting Outside

There really does not seem to be a definitive answer on this question, but there is loads of information on keeping your indoor cats health and happy. This website has some ideas: Basic Needs for Indoor Cats

Pre-adoption spotlight: Harley (Part 5)

“Enjoy the photos of Kiki and hopefully I can get some more of her playing. It’s hard to capture her (since she’s always on the move!).” 
 
Harley the kitten is enjoying life with her foster mom, Kassidy.  Harley is too young to be adopted because she first needs to put on enough weight to be spayed. Volunteer Kassidy has been helping Harley get used to life with people.  And Kassidy does seem to have a hard time capturing Harley on film except when she is asleep, as most of the photos Kassidy sent of Harley’s first week are of a very sleepy cat. Of course a contently sleeping kitten is always a welcome sight, so here is one more.

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Pre-adoption Spotlight: Harley (Part 4)

We at Cats in Tow think all cats deserve a good life. For the last few days we’ve shared the story of Harley, who through the Cats In Tow pre-adoption program, is well on her way to such a life. Harley, previously known as Kiki, is living in a foster home and socializing with people until she is old enough to be spayed and adopted. While Harley has some things to learn, like how to enjoy being petted without thinking hands are play things, she definitely seems to be taking to some aspects of domesticated life.  Here are a few more highlights from foster mom Kassidy’s report on Harley’s first week:

“Kiki loves to roll around continuously and has hours of play in store. She loves batting at her toys when she’s on her scratching post. Her favorite place to nap is on my furry blanket.”
 
Yes, that furry blanket does seem to just the right spot for Harley!

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Pre-adoption Spotlight: Harley (Part 2)

This week we are featuring the story of Harley, previously know as Kiki.  Harley is in our pre-adoption program and is living with a foster family until she is ready for spaying and adopting. Since Harley’s foster mom sent us some enchanting photos with the report on Harley’s first week, we thought it was a great way to talk about the Cats In Tow pre-adoption program.
 
Some of you may be wondering how this tiny little kitten already has two names. While this can happen when there is confusion on the sex of a kitten, Harley’s case is a matter of personality. Foster mom Kassiday came up with the suggestion, ” I was wondering if I would be able to rename Kiki to Harley. Her rambunctious personality fits it way better than Kiki. And also she… [has the] loudest purr I’ve ever heard!”
 
You can almost hear that engine humming when you look at this photo!
 
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Pre-adoption Spotlight: Harley

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Harley (previously known as Kiki) is a playful gray tabby who is doing a little growing up before she will be spayed and ready for adoption (one of the kittens in the Cats in Tow pre-adoption program). While she waits, she has been lucky enough to find herself in a foster home with one of our fantastic volunteers, Kassidy.  Harley’s foster mom has been kind enough to send in some photos and a report on how Harley’s first week has gone. 
 
“It’s been a fun week for me and Kiki. She was excited to get acquainted with her new dwellings. The one major thing I learned about Kiki is that she is a very playful and hyper kitten. Rarely ever do I see her not jumping and moving around from one play article to another….  When she is ready to cuddle she’ll come up to me and play on my chest.”
 
As this photo shows, Harley may just be getting this cuddling thing down though!

The Story of One Feral Cat

A woman found a stray cat in her backyard and discovered she was pregnant. She coaxed in her house and she had her 5 babies in her bathroom. Unfortunately she died soon after. The woman bottlefed and nurtured the 5 babies and they grew strong and playful. They enjoyed their home and she kept them safely inside. Her granddaughter loved to watch them play. She noticed they would go to the window and cry. She heard another cat outside who would cry too. She figured the kitties wanted to play with one another so she let the outside kitty inside. Several months later, each one of the 5 inside only cats began to give birth to their own litters. Within 3 months there were 5 inside cats plus a litter of 7 kittens, 3 litters of 4 kittens and 1 litter of 5 kittens–all safely kept inside the house! Hmmm, how many kitties will there be in 8 months? Spay and Neuter even if you have an inside only cat, please!

More Fairytales and Happy Endings

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As you know, we love sharing our happy endings here at Cats in Tow. When you’re a cat rescue and adoption center, there’s nothing better than hearing about loving cats finally finding their forever homes. And we are glad to … Continue reading