An extremely important reason to alter your kitten is the prevention of pregnancies that will produce new generations of unwanted kittens that will find their ways into the streets and shelters in your community. If you have ever been to such a shelter full of unwanted cats and dogs, most of which will be put to sleep because there are too few homes for them all, you know the misery and hopelessness of this situation. It is a great gift to adopt one of these innocent, homeless creatures, but it is an even greater gift to make sure that dozens more never spend a night in such a place because of human carelessness. You give this gift to all cats when you make sure that your new kitten spends its life in your home, altered and happy to be your companion, rather than desperately seeking to roam outdoors in search of a mate with which to create those hopeless generations.
Contrary to the old belief that a female cat “needs” to have a litter before being spayed, there is absolutely no benefit for the male or female cat in producing kittens. As a matter of fact, allowing children to witness “the miracle of birth” by permitting a pet to produce kittens is often counterproductive. Things do not always go smoothly in the birth and rearing of kittens. Sometimes kittens are born with birth defects, or the first time queen may accidentally or deliberately kill one or more kittens. These unexpected tragedies can be extremely hard for young children to understand, leaving them traumatized rather than enlightened. If there are not enough good homes to accept all of the kittens, you might be forced to surrender them to a shelter. This provides further trauma to children and is tragic for the kittens. The best lesson for children is to show them by example the benefits of spaying or neutering their pets before they produce new generations of homeless pets. It is simply not possible to overstate the importance of accepting this most central responsibility of pet ownership.
Studies have shown that the life span of altered cats compared to unaltered cats is longer for many years. This is due to the safety of the indoor life enjoyed by altered cats, the prevention of diseases such as cancer and reproductive tract infections, and the stable, sociable behaviors of altered cats. Unaltered cats not only roam the streets more often than altered cats but are also more likely to be surrendered to shelters or abandoned because of destructive habits that owners find they cannot tolerate.
In contrast, when spaying and neutering procedures are performed properly in incompetent facilities, there are absolutely no negative effects of having your kitten altered. Even very early spay and neuter procedures are clearly safe when performed properly. If you adopt your kitten from a shelter, it will undoubtedly already be altered when you take the baby home. Shelters have learned over the decades that some adoptive homes will fail to have their new kitten altered by six months of age. Experience has shown that too many of these unaltered cats then go on to produce “accidental” litters of kittens, a futile situation for the already overcrowded animal shelters. To be certain that every kitten adopted into a permanent home never contributes to the seemingly endless stream of homeless cats, rescue groups and shelters now alter all unaltered strays before those pets go to adoptive families. The adoption fee you pay for a kitten from one of these facilities will include the cost of this vital surgery.
If you happen to adopt an unaltered kitten, see your veterinarian for an exam and make an appointment to have the kitten altered as soon as your veterinarian recommends.