Why We Spay/Neuter

Our last unfixed cat, Ramona, was spayed and vaccinated at the SPCA's clinic yesterday. Like many of the other female cats, she was in heat.

In Ramona's previous home, some of the males were neutered, but none of the female cats were fixed. Slowly but surely, the number of cats crept into the double digits. Ramona is the mother of five-month-old kittens Minerva, Hermione, Luna, Tom Sawyer and Eloise. Out of the 20 we took, we had 13 cats spayed/neutered. We have four cats - Neville, Gulliver, Albus and Huck - who were already neutered. (The remaining three were placed with other rescues and spayed/neutered there).

To give you a sense of how unfixed cats can spin out of control, cats have a gestation period of around two months, from 53 to 71 days. We've seen cats in heat as early as three months. One cat could have up to five litters a year. The average lifespan for an indoor cat is 15 years, and since cats don't go through menopause, one female cat could essentially produce hundreds of kittens in her lifetime.

One of the big misconceptions we see a lot is the idea that cats won't mate with their "relatives" be they biological or adoptive. A lot of people learn the hard way that cats don't have internal knowledge of family trees - once a female is in heat she'll mate with whoever is around.

That's why it's so important to spay and neuter.