Simple Solutions: Combating Pet Overpopulation

By Vikki Scott

by ELYSIAN Magazine


Sometimes solutions are simple. Sometimes solutions are right before our eyes and we either just don’t recognize the problem and potential solution, or we choose to put on blinders and ignore the situation. Sometimes we fail to see that we are the problem. 

All of these scenarios certainly apply when we address the subject of overpopulation of dogs and cats across our nation. 

Every single day in the United States, close to 1,000 dogs and cats are euthanized. On average, 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized annually. 

Sadly, most of these are healthy, adoptable pets.

Why are they euthanized? Because there are not enough homes for these dogs and cats, and there is not enough space in shelters for them to remain. It is a kill-for-space issue.

Is there a simple solution? 

Yes. The solution can be summed up in one word: Sterilization, which is more commonly known as spaying or neutering. 

Studies show that the life expectancy of neutered males is 13.8% longer, and that of spayed female dogs is 26.3% longer. The effect is even more profound in felines: Spayed female cats live 39% longer and neutered male cats lived 62% longer.

In addition to combating overpopulation, there are other rationale for pets being altered:

  • Intact dogs are more prone to urine-marking than neutered dogs.
  • Cats are less likely to spray if they are altered. Neutering solves 90% of all marking issues.
  • Altered animals are less likely to express certain types of aggressive behavior.
  • Altered males are less likely to roam, especially when a nearby female is in heat.
  • Spaying and neutering helps dog and cats live longer, healthier lives. 
  • Studies show that both altered cats and dogs are less likely to develop cancer. 

Spaying and neutering has a cumulative effect. After reviewing the statistics in the pyramid, I think you will agree that the solution is simple.

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