Most pet parents are responsible and spay or neuter their pets. According to the ASPCA, approximately 75 percent of owned pets are altered, while only about 10 percent of dogs and cats received by shelters have been spayed or neutered. In case you haven’t spayed or neutered your pet yet, here are some facts to consider:
While no one has an exact count of the number of stray dogs and cats in the United States, one estimate of just stray cats is up to 70 million. A cat that has not been spayed gives birth to one or two litters per year, with the average number of kittens in each litter being 4 – 6. An un-spayed dog typically produces one litter per year and also averages 4-6 puppies. The cost to spay or neuter your pet is actually less than the cost of raising the resulting litter of puppies or kittens for one year.
Every year, about 6-8 million unwanted or stray pets are taken into U.S. shelters. Oftentimes, these stray cats and dogs are former pets that have gotten outside and, because they do not have proper identification such as a tag or microchip, have not been reunited with their owner. A study from the National Council on Pet Population Study found that less than 2% of cats and 15-20% of dogs are ever reunited with their owners. Many other dogs and cats ending up in shelters are actually the puppies or kittens from the family pet that was never altered.
The number of puppies and kittens born each year in the United States far exceeds the number of available homes. Over 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized every year in shelters across the United States. You can do your part and avoid contributing to the pet overpopulation problem by ensuring your own pet is spayed or neutered, and when you are ready for a new pet, consider adopting from your local shelter.