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The right thing to do

August 24, 2014


If you are waiting for your pets to have offspring so that you can explain the ‘birds and bees’ story to your kids, you are being quite lame. Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to witness the miracle of birth. There are countless books and videos to help your children understand that.

Love and companionship aside, your pet is a handful. Looking after its food, tantrums, treatments and toys may not only exceed pet budgets these days but consumes a lot of energy and time; that is, if you are a responsible pet owner. Are you a breeder? Do you want more pets? If it is a ‘no’ for both questions then you better make sure that your pet is not about to become a parent, because in effect it will be none other than you who will become the unofficial mommy or daddy who will need a fat wallet to provide for a bigger family.

Cats get into heat every five months and dogs every six months or so. Pet overpopulation is a heartbreaking problem, but there is a solution. Spay and neuter surgeries not only prevent unwanted births; there are other benefits as well for you and your pet.

Spaying or neutering, which is the removal of the reproductive organs of the female and male dog or cat respectively, is a veterinary procedure performed under general anesthesia that usually requires minimal hospitalisation. Your pet will live a longer, healthier life and ideally, if the procedure is done while they are still young, a lot of diseases and treatment expenses can be prevented. Details regarding the right age and expenses can be discussed with the vet.

Keeping pets is a great responsibility; and if they are allowed to have off spring it is more than a handful

Generally there is a chance your unneutered pet can run away from home to look for a mate or mark the home by spraying around all over the house, carpets and furniture to mark his territory while the female makes enough noise to bring the ceiling down to attract males. Once your pet is neutered or spayed, there will be no yowling, no cat calls, no spraying anymore.

It is a misconception that spaying or neutering will make your pet fat as it is actually the lack of exercise and overfeeding that will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds. Just like people, your pet will remain fit and trim with exercise and diet, so provide your pet with fun toys and monitor the food intake to keep your cat at a healthy weight.

If you think that it is unnecessary to spend a lot of money on preventive procedures for something that may never happen, you are wrong because when your pet decides that it wants a mate, it will do whatever it can do to find one … it is nature and there is nothing you can do about it. Fixing the pet at the right time will save a lot of money on treatment of diseases and injuries that happen after cat/dog fights with neighbourhood strays in regard to finding a mate.

Also the cost of your pet’s spay or neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of caring for a litter of kittens or puppies. Free-roaming unfixed pets can be a nuisance. They can cause traffic accidents, damage the garden, and keep you and the neighbours up at night by yowling and fighting. A neutered pet is a happy and healthy companion — what more do you want?

Finding a home for the puppies or kittens will be another problem and letting them out on the street to fend for themselves is not only an irresponsible but a heartless thing to do.

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, August 24th, 2014