Why spaying and neutering is a good idea.

This afternoon was pretty depressing. A friend of mine has accumulated seven cats over the past two or three years that began with a pair of kittens she got at the humane shelter for one of her daughters. She is a hard working single mother trying to bring order back into her life and the combination of five kids and seven cats apparently became too much for her to handle.

As the number of cats reached critical levels with the recent arrival of three kittens in addition to some intermediate births she decided she had to bring the population back down to a manageable level as her house was beginning to smell like a litter box. After much agonizing she asked me to help assemble and transport some of the cats to the humane shelter as she feared damage to her karma if she did the dirty deed herself and she wasn’t sure she could go through it.

Finding the kittens in their haunts around the house and scooping them into the carrier was not difficult as they were especially trusting and curious little black fluff balls with white paws, curious to see where I taking them. I put three of them into one carrier and they began crying in scared distress in the confines of the dark enclosure. This brought their mother, a beautiful grey cat, who my friend put into two laundry baskets that had been clam shelled together with twine. The third and final cat, a graceful, black and cinnamon colored little female got put into a little cardboard cat carrier and began mewing piteously and began pawing the air holes in the carrier frantically trying to get out of the dark, cramped box.

Loading them into the car my friend thanked me for taking care of this for her and I pulled out of her driveway for the 20 minute trip to the humane shelter. I had the kittens and the small female in the backseat and the mother in the laundry basket on the front seat across from me. The kittens were now mewing in terror and I could smell that at least one had soiled itself inside the carrier. Each time the kittens mewed the mother in the front seat would call out to them in a voice I had never heard a cat use before. It was a haunting, almost human sounding contralto responding to their little cries.

The small female in the back was howling in terror and was furiously rocking the cardboard enclosure back and forth on the seat trying to get out. The beautiful mother cat stared at me with her yellow-green eyes through the makeshift cage of the laundry baskets as if she knew what was about to transpire.

I started to turn on the radio to drown out all the cries but decided that this would only scare them more. I eventually got to the humane society and turned the cats over to a very professional person at the desk named Mike. I give Mike the scrap of paper with the brief amount my friend had written down about the cats. Their names and ages and they fact that none had been fixed. As Mike went into the back with the boxes I paused and asked if I would be able to get the laundry baskets and cat carrier back as their owner needed them. I felt oddly petty asking for these pieces of plastic back as the cats were being delivered to their probable deaths.

While Mike went into the back for a moment I wandered over to the glass door and behind the glass and past a short corridor I saw the dozens of little cages holding little cats and dogs mewing and barking in a sort hushed din separated by the doors. Going back into the reception area I saw a large bulletin board with dozens of pictures people had sent in of themselves and the pets they had adopted. The joy in their faces and the happiness of their pets was almost palpable in this random montage of lives. The pets were universally well groomed and well fed and the pictures ranged from elderly ladies with their cats and dogs resting contentedly on their laps, to leaping dogs bounding around with children in a numerous backyards and families posing proudly in front of fireplaces and Christmas trees with their new friends.

As Mike came back with the baskets and the carrier he looked me directly in the eye and pointedly but politely mentioned to me that if my friend was interested there was special that week on spaying and neutering for county residents and that for 30.00. each you could get up two coupons per family worth 70.00 each toward having a vet spay or neuter your pet. I thanked him for the information and told him I would tell my friend. I took the carrier and basket out to the car and put them in the trunk. I thought about the terrified cats and the desperate kittens that were so happy just an hour ago chasing dust motes around the house and the older cats content to go about their cat lives. Now all were in mortal terror and were more than likely going to die before too long.

Not a good day for anyone or anything all in all.

Oh, astro, I’m so sorry. I know of a person who is quickly approaching a similar situation, or she would be, if the local coyotes didn’t keep her kitten population in check. :frowning:
A friend of mine in NC refuses to spay her cats, (upwards of 20 of them) because “The kittens are just so cute”. IT makes me sad to think of the horrible lives most of these animals will lead, not recieving any attention past the point when they are no longer “cute” or possibly being eaten by wild dogs.
I’m sorry you were forced into the situation, I wouldn’t have done it if I were presented with it. I probably would have told the owner, no matter how good her intentions were to start off, that now she is going to be the cause of death for many many innocent animals. She should take responsibility for them and at least taken them to the humane society herself, if she could no longer care for them.

In short, (too late) you are a better person than I. A very touching description, astro.

I am very sorry to say I was in that position once with the cats/kittens. I sure didn’t intend for it to end up that way as I have always spayed/neutered my pets.

I started out with a mother cat (Madeline) and her kitten. The kitten had feline leukemia and I had to have him put to sleep after a week (i cried for hours). My kids were heartbroken, so the next time we went to the mall, I bought them a kitten (Griffin) that came from the shelter. I took them home with every intent to get them fixed right away.

Madeline was hit by a car before I could get her fixed. She ran out of the house and it broke my heart and the kids’ again.

Griffin still wasn’t old enough to be fixed.

One day while out paying bills I decided to go by the shelter. I found the most adorable grey bowlegged kitten with huge paws. And a calico female. We named them Madeline (the 3rd) and Pongo (the 2nd). I got the paperwork to get them fixed for free.

Money got too tight and I couldn’t get their shots. The vet clinics I talked to refused to fix them without having shots. I sort of got caught in a catch 22. They also told me Pongo was too young to fix and that I had to wait til he was 7 months. Let me tell ya, at 7 months he got both my cats pregnant. Neither went outside.

Madeline had 6 kittens first. 2 weeks later, Griffin had 6. 1 was killed by Madeline (I suspect she was being territorial), a second, had it’s foot bitten off by Madeline. I had to take it at 3 am to the vet to be put down before my children came home. I cried all the way there. 2 days later I lost another.

Those kittens were beautiful. I knew I couldn’t keep them. I no longer could afford to pay my rent and I sure couldn’t afford fixing them now. I ended up taking them all to the shelter. I have never ever felt so bad in my life about a pet. My kids were in England with their dad at the time so I told them I found homes for them. Again, I cried all the way there, while I was signing them over and all the way home.

I will NEVER EVER have another pet that is not spayed/neutered immediately. I will always regret this time and wonder what happened to them. :frowning:

Please please, spay and neuter.

You’re right. It really doesn’t hit home until you are faced with the reality of having to do something like this. Still thinking about those cats.

IIRC, male cats with siamese bloodlines can be sexually potent from the age of 6 months on.
I’m sorry that the vet clinics you dealt with had that opinion. There’s a great one here (maritime animal clinic) where the folks seem to be really understanding and would rather have an owner get some work done for their animal than none at all. Sounds like your guys are more in it for the money than the animals. Maybe that’s not fair.

You had the best intentions. What more could you have done? Please don’t feel too badly.

astro, sorry you had to do what you did. I would have, at the least, made the person go with me.

Dopers, and those you know: please spay and neuter your animals. It is not cruel, as some believe. What’s cruel is the millions of unwanted animals left to scratch out an existance on the streets. Starving to death, dying of disease, or getting hit by a car is far more cruel than a simple surgical procedure.

Neutering your male dog will not make him fat, or less aggressive. My oldest dog was neutered at 7 months - he isn’t fat, and he’s certainly not friendly towards strangers.

Most communities, at least in the U.S., have S.N.A.P certificates available for free or low cost spaying/neutering. Ask your vet or humane society where to get information.