There are times, I’ll admit, when even I sit back and think about the monumental task that we all face when fighting pet overpopulation. There are so many cats and dogs out there who aren’t fixed, who are RIGHT NOW, having more little cats and dogs that will grow up and…the circle continues. As I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t an invisible victimless problem. For those that care about the lives of these kittens and puppies, they know that there are millions of victims, living in the streets, starving, being captured and euthanized every year.
But as we all know, not everyone is as empathetic to the plight of these animals. I get that. With everything we all have to deal with every day in our own lives, sometimes it’s hard to make room to really care about the multitude of nameless, anonymous cats or dogs. That doesn’t make these folks heartless. These are the very same people who likely have pets of their own and lovingly care for them every day. It’s just a lot to ask of them to move spaying and neutering near the top of their priority list when they have a family to care for, bills to pay, a job to do.
You might fall into this category. If you do, I’m so happy you’re here. I’m not going to ask you to take time from your busy schedule to volunteer or care for a feral cat colony or anything crazy like that. But I DO need to pass along a few bits of information you should know:
1. Homeless pets costs you, personally, approximately $2,000 a year in tax dollars to capture, house, feed, process, adopt and euthanize.
2. Unfixed pets like to mark their territory. That means your clothes, your furniture and your carpet, ruining said clothes, carpet and furniture that has to be replaced. And I’m not even mentioning the smell that goes along with all this “marking”.
3. Unfixed pets are more territorial, often making them more aggressive and less obedient.
4. Unfixed pets are more likely to run away, particularly when they are in heat.
5. Unfixed pets are loud and sometimes uncontrollable when in heat.
6. Fixed pets lead healthier, longer lives.
So, there you have it. Pet overpopulation has a direct impact on you, in a lot of different ways. First and foremost, the cost to you both personally and in tax dollars is huge, and it’s growing every year as long as it goes unchecked.
Now imagine being on a date, or wanting to invite friends over for a party. If your pet isn’t fixed, it’s likely they’ve marked your house as their own, leaving a smell behind that’s VERY hard to get rid of. You don’t want to bring your date home after a great evening only to have him or her greeted by the smell of urine when they enter your home. Then there’s the issue of clothing. I once had a cat that loved to pee on my white shirts. I wore them for work, and I probably went through a dozen white shirts (at about $20 a pop) before I finally had my tabby fixed. Trust me, once a cat or dog pees on a shirt, or skirt or a jacket or pants, you can’t wear them again. Just toss them out and replace them, cause they’ll always smell a bit and that’s not good.
The point of this post isn’t to scare you…well, maybe it IS a little. Think of it as Nurse Nancy’s version of scared straight. The point of this post is to get across the fact that unfixed pets are everyone’s problem. Of course you can’t solve the whole problem alone. No one can. I’m just one nurse in the grand scheme of things, trying to do her part. The fact is, though you don’t have to volunteer to care for a homeless pet or monitor a feral cat colony to make a difference.
All you have to do is get your pet spayed or neutered. That’s it. That’s all you need to do, and suddenly you’ve made a huge contribution to the fight against pet overpopulation. Then, when you can, help spread the word to others about the importance of spaying and neutering. Forward a post from facebook. Retweet a post about spaying or neutering. Talk up your local clinic when you can. These are all things that you can do when it’s convenient and when you have a spare moment. It only takes a second to repost, retweet or say something about spaying and neutering.
Together we CAN make a difference. I work with ten clinics that have joined me in this fight. We’re out there every day battling, but every little bit helps. You don’t have to do much at all. Just get your pet fixed and then tell others when you can. Encourage them to get their pets spayed or neutered. If you can do that, then before you know it, we’ll start to see the number of homeless pets start to shrink. It won’t happen overnight, but as long as we don’t give up, as long as you do your part, no matter how small, we will begin to see progress. Your effort DOES matter, so don’t give up, help when you can and, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!