Show your love: spay or neuter

One cat just leads to another.” –Ernest Hemingway
Think February and probably think Valentine’s Day: hearts and flowers, caring, love. There’s also World Spay Day on the last Tuesday of the month – this year, Feb. 28. And building up to that animal-caring and loving day, February is also Spay/Neuter Awareness month!

So, happy Spay/Neuter Awareness month, everyone! And if that awareness turns into actual spays and neuters for our community cats (and companion animals too), we’ll all be better off.

Why? Fewer community cats out there to worry about and care for and save from shelters (known to be the worst possible places for outdoor/feral/community cats, as well as cats in general)  . . . fewer surprise litters of kittens and puppies at home to place in safe new homes . . .  fewer animals overall with uncertain-to-frightful futures.

You probably already know about “kitten season,” but just in case: Starting next month, it’s the  spring-summer (plus!) time of year when kittens seem to pop up everywhere – often without their moms, invariably needing care and shelter, and adding to the overpopulation of homeless cats.

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Preventing kitten litters now is the best way to reduce that feline mob scene later. That’s a job for Project TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), a key APLNJ campaign that’s close to home, bristling with expertise and known for person-to-person helpfulness. Its comprehensive website section, “New Jersey’s Central Resource for Feral Cat and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Information,” offers specifics on the basics, along with low-cost spay/neuter providers, technical and legal assistance and resources for caregivers, property owners and municipalities.

There’s also “Sponsor Our Spays (SOS) Subsidy program,” which contributes $30 toward the vetting of cats who will be returned outside. To be eligible, those interested must be members of the Feral Friends of NJ, a no-fee Yahoo group. For information on joining, email Sandra Obi at feralcats@aplnj.org.

For Obi, Project TNR director, “Sterilization and immunization are the most helpful things anyone can do to help with the issue of cat homelessness and foster the well-being of these cats.” 

If you’ve got to be scared into spaying and neutering as many cats as you can, just remind yourself of these facts:  Cats can get pregnant as early as four months of age. So, unsprayed, a March 1 “kitten season baby” could become a mom by summer’s end because of cats’ nine-week gestation period.

Imperative as it is to cut down on pregnancies and litters among community cats, spay and neuter are also recommended for companion animals. Sterilizing pets can provide medical and behavioral benefits while helping to curb pet overpopulation. Too often now, pet homelessness leads to euthanasia of perfectly healthy animals — so cruel, even to contemplate.

For Valentine’s day this year, why not skip treats and toys?  Instead, give gifts of spay or neuter to community cats — and be sure to treat your own pets too.  Show them you love them: spay or neuter.

– Pat Summers

Return to our website for details on what we’re all about
“for the animals” www.aplnj.org/projectTNR

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