Should I Let My Female Animal Have One Litter Before Having Her Spayed?
by Debbie Sentes, Past President, People for Animals of Saskatchewan
Tragically, there are people who still believe their cat or dog should be allowed to have one litter before they are spayed. Some think that their pets’ personality will change if the animal is sterilized before reproducing at least once. Others want to teach their children about the “miracle of birth” or worry that their animals will become overweight and inactive.
Spaying or neutering will only reduce or eliminate the behaviors that you don’t want, such as aggression and urine marking. Neutered males are less likely to roam, fight, or mark their territory with urine. Spayed females experience less hormone-related moodiness such as the stress and discomfort that females endure during heat periods. It is best to spay animals before they reach sexual maturity to reap the full health benefits. Spaying your female companion animal before her first heat cycle means she will have one-seventh the risk of developing mammary cancer. Spaying also eliminates female animals’ risk of diseases and cancers of the ovaries and uterus. Neutering also eliminates male animals’ risk of testicular cancer and reduces unwanted behaviors such as biting.
Allowing your animal to reproduce only teaches your children irresponsibility. Every year, millions of animals are killed in animal shelters, most simply because of a lack of good homes. Bringing more animals into a world that is already short of homes means that animals in animal shelters will die.
Cats and dogs become overweight and inactive because their guardians feed them too much and exercise them too little, not because they are sterilized.
Spaying and neutering makes a big difference. Just one unaltered female dog and her offspring can product 67,000 puppies in only six years. In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce an incredible 370,000 kittens!
Sterilized animals live longer, happier lives. Clearly, the single most important thing we can do to save cats and dogs from all the suffering and death that their overpopulation causes is to have them spayed or neutered!