Today we received a phone call from a family who wants to have their cat spayed. She is a 12 year old, indoor pet cat. I asked the family if they just adopted this cat, rescued her, or something else which might explain why a 12 year old pet cat has never been spayed. The family told me that they found the cat when she was a tiny kitten and they’ve owned the cat her whole life – they’ve just never been able to afford having her spayed before.
Joining that cat on our next Spay Day is an 8 year old pet cat belonging to a totally different family with the same exact story. This family told me they had long-ago given up on ever having the cat spayed because the $265 their vet quoted them was so far out of reach it seemed an impossible task.
On every Spay Day there is a cat or two owned by families who aren’t willing to spend $200+ on getting it sterilized because they honestly don’t value the cat that much, but they will spend $25-35 on it for no other reason than to stop the inconvenience of constantly trying to find homes for kittens, or to stop the annoying mating behaviors.
On every trip is a wonderful human being who has a garage or barn or porch full of cats. That person has unsuccessfully sought help from every veterinarian, animal shelter, and rescue group in the area and has been unable to get the situation under control because who amongst us can afford to sterilize 20 cats at customary prices?
On some Spay Days, we have children or teenagers who have befriended a neighborhood stray. Some use their own allowances to pay for the cat, but the parents of most are happy to pay such a low price for their child’s rescue and should be proud of their children’s compassion and sense of responsibility.
These are just some of the people who use our low-cost spay/neuter service for cats under their care. All of these families illustrate the reality that without local low-cost services, many people simply don’t have their pets sterilized. They do not save up and eventually pay their regular veterinarian. They do not drive to distant low-cost clinics themselves or seek out other alternatives. It doesn’t matter why they don’t, if they have valid excuses, or if they are or are not able to pay traditional veterinary fees. What matters is that they simply DON’T.
When we do not spay or neuter our pets for any reason, we contribute to the overpopulation problem, period. So if our goal is to reduce or solve the problem, to get homeless animals off the streets, to stop the killing in shelters and in the back rooms of veterinary clinics – then we must provide convenient, low-cost spay/neuter services to every person seeking them out. It is obviously in the best interest of animals, it benefits pet owners by providing them a much needed service, it benefits our local shelters by reducing intake rates, and it benefits every tax payer by lowering costs associated with animal control officers, complaints to police, costs of sheltering, and costs of euthanasia. The nationwide average cost of euthanizing a stray cat is $135. It costs just $25 to prevent it by neutering. Please do the math, and wherever you live – please let your elected officials know that you support subsidized spay/neuter services, and please support your local clinics, rescues, and shelters.