The last Tuesday in February is also known as National Spay Day, a day when pet owners are encouraged to spay and neuter their pets.
There are approximately 30 to 40 million stray and feral cats in the US. Only 2 percent of these cats are spayed or neutered, according to estimates of the Humane Society of the United States. Many of these cats come from unwanted litters. DeAnn Shepherd of the Humane Society of Utah says that homeless cats, whether they’re unwanted or living on the streets, place a heavy burden on animal shelters.
“We do every year see hundreds of kittens coming in to us. Mostly because people have a litter and then they don’t know what to do with them, so they bring either the adult momma in with her kittens or they just bring the kittens in to us. It takes a lot of our resources and time to raise the kittens until they’re old enough to be adopted.”
Spaying and neutering house pets reduces the number of animals euthanized or killed on the streets. Callista Pearson of Salt Lake County Animal Services says that sterilizing pets also allows shelters to better provide for homeless animals.
“When people spay and neuter their pets it leads to fewer unwanted litters ending up here in the shelter, which gives us more time and space to be able to take care of the animals that are at the shelter.”
Although spaying and neutering can be costly, owners stand to save money in the long run if they get their pets fixed. Sterilization curbs bad behavior and health risks related to sexual activity, and in many cities, licensing fees for spayed and neutered pets are lower.
On Tuesday the Humane Society of Utah is giving away 100 free vouchers for cats to be spayed or neutered, and on Thursday the first 40 cats at Salt Lake County Animal services will be fixed for without cost.