Suesy lost her cat after it was fatally struck by a car. Her whole family were absolutely devastated because he was very much part of the family and such a great companion. Her friends could see that even after two months, she was still grieving for him. So, they all decided to put their money together and surprise her with a new little kitten. She decided to call her Amika which means friendship or “mee-Ka” for short. And they’d gotten her from a registered breeder but she hadn’t been de-sexed and needed her 12 week injections in the next couple of days. But when Suesy took little Meeka to the local vet she was told that she was too young to be desexed before 6 months of age.
Kittens, however can get pregnant as early as 4 months old and thousands of kittens are born every year to young cats who are just kittens themselves. Not only is the pregnancy much harder for a kitten but because these kittens are often unwanted, many end up in our shelters and are consequently put down.
Many people do not know how bad the situation is for companion animals in Australia, if they knew, they would be horrified by the sheer volume of animals being destroyed on a daily basis. Every hour of every day, 23 healthy cats and dogs are killed in pounds and shelters across Australia simply because they don’t have a home. That’s almost 4000 each week!
APWF is funding some of the crucial research projects to help stop this heartbreaking fate for loving cats and dogs. A common reason for dogs to be surrendered is behavioural issues (digging, barking, destroying furniture, or having little toilet accidents in the house). So APWF is funding research which looks at “trait anxiety” in dogs.
The goal is to be able to identify anxious dogs, rehabilitate them in terms of their behaviours and help shelters to match dogs with the right owners to reduce the number of dogs who are surrendered, and consequently euthanased.
However, when it comes to cats, the numbers are truly horrifying: more than half the cats and kittens that enter our shelters, end up being put down. There are many factors which lead to why the numbers euthanized are so high. One is that cats are not being de-sexed early enough which is referred to as “spey delay”. Unwanted kittens make up a horrifying 50% of cats entering shelters, meaning kittens are born simply to die. Animal lovers don’t want to see it and the people who are doing the euthanizing don’t want to do it. Which is why so many shelter workers end up with post-traumatic stress.
It is incredibly vital to raise awareness about the importance of early age desexing and ensure all veterinarians are trained to perform this procedure on younger kittens. Kittens who are de-sexed are…
- not going to have a litter of unwanted kittens
- are less likely to get cancer or other diseases of the reproductive organs (cystic ovaries, ovarian tumors, acute uterine infections and breast cancer in females,
- They are less prone to wander and get in fights and therefore are less likely to get lost or injured
- They have reduced territorial behaviour like spraying indoors
- And they become more affectionate and become better companions, living longer and healthier lives in general