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How Important is Spaying and Neutering, Really?

The single most important thing that we can do to save cats and dogs from all the suffering and death that their overpopulation causes is to spay and neuter them. Here’s why:

1. Every year, more than 6 million stray and abandoned cats, dogs, and other animal companions enter animal shelters.


There simply aren’t enough good homes—or even enough cages in shelters—for them all.

2. Allowing an animal to have just one litter of babies can lead to the homelessness of thousands.


One female dog and her puppies can result in the births of 67,000 dogs in six years. Just one female cat and her kittens can lead to the births of 370,000 cats in just seven years. This means that in just 16 months, one unspayed cat and her kittens—and their kittens—can produce 36 more cats! That’s a whole lot of kittens and puppies to find good homes for.

3. More homeless animals mean that many are taken in by “no-kill” shelters, where they suffer.

“No-kill” shelters often keep animals in cages by themselves for months and even years on end. Because they don’t euthanize animals, they turn other dogs and cats away because their cages are full, leaving the animals at risk of being hit by cars or abused by cruel people.

4. Spaying and neutering reduces your furry BFF’s undesired behavior …

Some people are worried about getting their animal companions spayed or neutered because they think it’ll make them lazy or change their personalities, but that’s not true! In fact, spaying and neutering lessens negative behavior, such as aggression and urine marking.

5. … and keeps our animal companions healthy.

Animals who’ve been spayed or neutered are less likely to develop illnesses like cancer. Their chances of contracting deadly diseases, like feline AIDS and feline leukemia, are also lower.

6. It’s quick and easy!

If you’re nervous about whether the surgery is unsafe or painful, don’t be! Spaying and neutering are the most commonly performed animal surgeries, and pain medication is generally given afterward. Animals usually feel normal again within a day or two.

7. Low-cost options are available.

Ask a parent or guardian to call 1-800-428-SPAY to find the nearest low-cost spay/neuter clinic. If he or she has any trouble, tell your parent or guardian to e-mail [email protected], and we’ll help find low-cost options in your area.

8. It’s the single most important thing you can do to end the suffering of dogs and cats.


Spaying and neutering is the only way to ensure that more dogs and cats aren’t being born only to struggle to survive on the streets, be abused by cruel or neglectful people, or be euthanized in animal shelters for lack of loving homes.

How YOU Can Help

  • Tell your friends why spaying and neutering animal companions is so important.
  • Always adopt animals from an open-admission shelter, and never buy from a pet store or breeder.