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A Clip Here, a Snip There: World Spay Day Is February 24

Best Friends Feral Cat MafiaFebruary is National Spay / Neuter Month, and today is World Spay Day!

We’ve called this “The Year of the Clipping and Snipping” for our neighborhood strays and abandoned cats… Having recently relocated to a large city, we were immediately struck with the number of roaming hungry mouths, right outside our door. Of course, feeding them and providing shelter is easy enough — their spirits are unbelievably beautiful — but after repeated litters immediately upon our arrival, we knew we had to become quickly proactive with TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). I was actively TNRing in my old home — always abandoned animals from foreclosed homes — but being in the city is an entirely different affair. We’re up to 10 spayed and neutered kitties now, and we’re not done. Nor do we feel like criminals for trying to help the stray populations (I’m looking at you, certain very large counties in Florida) — Hoorah!


We’re lucky to live in a city where the Best Friends Animal Society  provides a grant, for spaying and neutering. Not only does the city proper take an active effort with TNR (instead of rounding animals up for the kill-shelter); there’s even a paid associate to assist should you need it. We had already bought a cage, but she’s been exceptionally helpful with transporting the kitties, and giving them a place to recuperate from the surgeries. Read more about the Best Friends grant program here.

"Itty Bitty" — Expected another round of food

“Itty Bitty” — One of our 10 successful TNRs (and one of 2 possible adoptions), expecting another round of food

World Spay Day

Save a Life - Spay and NeuterWE humans domesticated cats and dogs, to help us in more ways than ever imagined. It’s OUR responsibility to help them, whenever possible. The facts are brutal, as are the lives of these sweet and beautiful strays, ferals, and abandoned animals. As difficult as it may be to look at, it’s even harder to look away. There’s so much to do — feeding and sheltering your local critters, donating to local shelters, adopting, fostering… The list is never-ending!

"Samuel Beckett" — Dropped off at our local bookstore, and adopted by the kind folks there

“Samuel Beckett” — Abandoned at our local bookstore, and adopted by the kind folks there. Here with his surrogate bunny-momma

Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet, from the ASPCA:

  1. Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life.
    Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
  2. Neutering provides major health benefits for your male.
    Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.
  3. Your spayed female won’t go into heat.
    While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house!
  4. Your male dog won’t want to roam away from home.
    An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.
  5. Your neutered male will be much better behaved.
    Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
  6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat.
    Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
  7. It is highly cost-effective.
    The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
  8. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community.
    Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.
  9. Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth.
    Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children—especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
  10. Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation.
    Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

TNR InfographicFor More Information:


41 Comments Post a comment
  1. I really like the pose of the cat in the second to last picture…very sweet! Much as I hate to alter anything, I think this is probably the responsible thing to do.

    February 24, 2015
    • HEY there!!! 🙂

      I’m with you… But in this case, it really is our responsibility to help and do this. You should see me when I’m TNR’ing — I’m a wreck, b/c I feel so horribly. But the illness, starvation, and slow death that I’ve witnessed with overpopulation is devastating. No amount of food and shelter can help. So this is it! As much as a basket-case as I am, in the process… hahaha!

      March 2, 2015
  2. As usual, your posts are right to the point and informative. I hope we can get this issue straight so that people neuter their cats, and also keep them confined in a terrace or in a kitty condo! That way they don’t attack bird’s nests that could endangered. Thanks for this great information.

    February 24, 2015
    • Bravo! You can have happy cats AND happy/alive birds, it just takes a bit of foresight.

      February 24, 2015
      • ABSOLUTELY! And honestly, it’s been my own personal observation that once the cats are fixed… Their aggressiveness decreases, and birds are harder to hunt. So they stick with rodents!

        March 2, 2015
    • Thanks so very much, Maria! Spaying and neutering ultimately helps control overpopulation, which creates so much starvation and illness among these beautiful creatures, leading to long and painful deaths. It ALSO decreases the aggressiveness, so yes — the birds are safer, from what I’ve seen. 🙂

      March 2, 2015
  3. Our town (and some of the surrounding communities) are quite active in similar programs. Every now and then I’ll see a cat with the tell-tale notched ear, and smile. Many of the yacht clubs and boat yards are especially active in the program, because the cats get used to the workers, get used to being fed, and are easily “captured.”

    I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a litter of kittens. I used to see them all the time. Consider it anecdotal evidence that the programs are working!

    February 24, 2015
    • Hoorah!!! I’m so happy to hear that other communities are part of a similar program. After leaving a place that was seemingly antithetical in their philosophy towards the stray / feral situation, it’s a wonderful thing to see.

      While I was making a drop of a kitten the other week, I even saw a city truck with several crates of cats at the center — all to drop them off for TNR, *not* to be killed. It was incredibly refreshing!

      As much as I adore kittens, I can’t wait till I stop seeing them here. 🙂

      March 2, 2015
  4. I didn’t know there was a World Spay Day. Excellent post!

    February 24, 2015
    • Thanks so very much! I knew there was a month dedicated to the procedure, but I too didn’t know there was a worldwide day. VERY happy about it, though! 🙂

      March 2, 2015
  5. Reblogged this on Spirit In Action and commented:
    Thank you Feygirl! I’m so grateful for all the data and graphics in this post. I hope it’s ok to save and share them everywhere? I’m always amazed that people really don’t seem to have a clue about neutering. Some people complain about feral cats preying on wild birds but from my observations many more birds are lost to pesticides, herbicides and habitat loss from trees being cut down. Once feral cats are neutered (especially if it’s done early) they seem much less interested in hunting and more interested in affection.

    February 24, 2015
    • Thanks so very much for the re-blog!

      Of course, absolutely, share away! 🙂 You’re absolutely right… My own observations with fixed kitties has been that their aggressive behavior has decreased dramatically. Birds are more difficult to hunt, so they don’t tend to hunt them once fixed. They tend to stick with the rodents, which is fine with me (sorry, mice and rats, but you don’t belong in here). Overpopulation creates starvation and illness, leading to a long and painful death. Anything we can do to help the situation is our responsibility!

      Thanks again!

      March 2, 2015
  6. Feygirl, I’m 100 percent with you on this, but when I read your post this image popped in my head and I couldn’t stop laughing:

    I dreamed of a world gone mad and woke, strapped to a table and unable to move, naked, and a cat stood above me with a knife in its paws… 🙂

    Hope it gives you a laugh, too. Best wishes!

    February 24, 2015
    • Hahahahaha!!!!!

      You know, I’ve often wondered how they perceive our actions — while it’s all to help the situation, of course, it’s quite brutal at times. Catnapping, poking and prodding, cutting… The woman who helped us with a few of the TNR’s had a GREAT analysis of how we would view it, if we were in their paws: Aliens coming down, throwing us in a crate, a few snips here and there, and voila! We’re back where we started. I couldn’t stop laughing. 🙂

      March 2, 2015

    February 25, 2015
  8. lovely post and I love your cats!!

    February 25, 2015
    • 🙂 Thanks so very much! I fear we’re following in the paths of Mark Twain and Hemingway, with the cats…

      March 2, 2015
  9. My best little friend in the world Jack that we lost last year at 22 years old was a rescued stray from a feral group. We trapped and neutered many of those kitties and got homes for some. Everyone told us Jack would never be a good pet but he loved every minute of being a house cat and loved his life so much.

    February 25, 2015
    • WOW…. To have a former stray for 22 years is an incredible testament of love and dedication on BOTH sides! A huge HOORAH to you for doing that wonderful work — I know how frustrating and tough it can be, but how incredibly helpful it is to the animals and their well-being.

      All our critters are former strays and ferals — and like your Jack, they are over-the-moon loving and well-situated to forever-inside-kitty-life. I recognize, of course, that not every stray and feral is suited for it: but there are many that *actively* seek it, that security and protection — and if you’re sensitive to it, you’ll see them.

      March 2, 2015
  10. I know you can have happy indoor cats and my sister who is a vet agrees.. Thank you for doing this and for blogging about it… Michelle

    February 26, 2015
    • How wonderful to have a relative who’s a vet! ALL my critters were from the streets — former strays and ferals. And they are VERY happy to be inside. They had tough times out there, to put it mildly — and they have it VERY comfortably now. 🙂

      Thanks so much…

      March 2, 2015
      • I live in NY and my sister
        is in VA.. I wish she lived closer..

        March 3, 2015
  11. Spaying/Snipping is so necessary these days to save animals from living terrible lives on the streets.

    February 27, 2015
    • You’re completely correct… The brutal lives they lead; it’s all we can do to help.

      March 2, 2015
  12. Very good reminder

    March 2, 2015
  13. Great post! We all need to take care of the animals around us in our neighborhoods. I watch to see if anyone drops a cat off in the ravine near us. We have people that just drop off cats in a yard/area hoping someone will take them in but if you don’t know neighbors a block over you don’t know if that cat belongs to them. My cats are tagged, inside etc. We have coyotes that eat the cats in the woods. I had a stray here around us one time + she was a tiny kitten. I tried to get close to her but she kept running away. I was not sure if she belonged to a neighbor, but I usually pay attention. I did ask a neighbor the other day if her cat was out and about since he was hunting at my feeder:-). My dog usually keeps the cats away from the birds.
    She said “no” so I am keeping an eye on that tabby to make sure he is not a drop off.
    I am so glad you are helping-they need us all to help:-)

    March 23, 2015
    • Thanks so much!

      It ALWAYS…continues to amaze me, the depth of peoples’ ignorance and meanness. What do they think will happen, when you drop a small animal off into the wilds? Illness, starvation… It’s more humane to simply euthanize them. Yet it happens too much. Thank goodness for people like you, watching out for them! Hoorah! I bet your tabby is keeping away the rodents, at least. 🙂

      April 1, 2015
      • I have 3 indoor cats for if they were outside they would be eaten by the coyote(s) that come up to our homes! They are looking for deer but they also get our small animals. I have no problems with indoor mice for they never make it past the 3 tier system of my cats!

        April 2, 2015
      • Hahah! I always say the same to the critters that attempt to enter this multi-kitty household: BEWARE!

        April 9, 2015
  14. aubrey #

    Such a vital cause and such a SIMPLE solution! People merely need to do the right thing by their pets. A little education, a little responsibility, then a little clip and a little snip.

    I remember seeing a stray kitten make a mad dash across the street; I followed it and found it in a clump of bushes – I looked in and saw a gray fluff and two terrified blue eyes. Another woman came over; I tried calling shelters hoping someone could take in the mite; she was calling friends – to no avail. Finally, she took it; she knew someone who would at least keep it for the night.

    I saw this woman some weeks later and learned that her friend had decided to keep the little one. But one can’t help but think about the others; where did that child come from: where were its brothers and sisters?

    March 26, 2015
    • It’s SO incredibly simple (and cheap), now. I think it’s a matter of education — what happens if we’re not responsible with these guys.

      AH I know exactly that horrible feeling… About where, if any, of the little ones go to when one is found. I’m SO happy you guys were able to rescue at least one little wee one — and that story is exactly why we gotta be kind and smart and do this, for them. (As icky a process it can be!)

      April 1, 2015
  15. Why do people have pets if they can’t take responsibility for them? Cats and dogs breed rapidly so if a person abandons an animal that isn’t spade or neutered it’s going to breed. Not that anyone should abandon an animal in the first place.

    April 9, 2015
    • EXACTLY. It’s like a double-whammy… Abandoning them, then contributing to the overpopulation, starvation, and sickness. I will NEVER understand — but I’ve seen it too many times.

      April 10, 2015
      • It’s a problem everywhere. I knew of a woman in Seattle involved heavily with a cat rescue program. They captured feral cats, fixed them and set them back out on the street because the cats were too wild for homes. Puerto Rico has had a problem with overpopulation of dogs. I saw a memoir on it at the library and heard about it long before I saw the memoir. Other Latin American countries have dog overpopulation problems too.

        April 10, 2015
      • I’ve been TNR’ing (trap-neuter-return) for years, now — many abandoned animals and other that were more feral. I’m SO incredibly appreciative of anyone who does it, so YAY to that Seattle woman! But absolutely: MANY, perhaps most, don’t want to come indoors… But they sure wouldn’t mind a bit of TLC and food! It’s a brutal life for them.

        I’ve seen the issues with dog overpopulations, abroad — it’s tragic. I know there are individuals and groups trying to help the situation, but I’m sure it’s incredibly overwhelming, b/c some countries don’t offer the support needed.

        April 10, 2015
  16. a good post Fey!! and lovely cats!

    April 9, 2015
    • Thanks so much! They’re little monsters, all of them… We just adopted two of the little sick ferals from that group. It’s a madhouse in here now. 🙂

      April 10, 2015
      • a cat madhouse is so entertaining!! 🙂

        April 10, 2015
      • Heh heh better than TV!

        April 10, 2015

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