The Easiest Solution to End Euthanasia of Kittens & Cats: Fix By Five Months
For decades, veterinary students have been taught that 6 months is the minimum age to safely spay or neuter companion animals. This has carried over to public perception, many who believe that kittens as young as 6 months cannot possibly get pregnant. This is biologically incorrect. Six month-old kittens can and do indeed go into heat — even earlier in warmer climates — resulting in accidental, unwanted litters who in turn, rapidly reproduce. Dogs also can go into estrus at 6 months and have puppies. However, cats have a faster reproductive cycle than dogs. As their population rates exceed that of loving, human adopters, homeless kittens and puppies experience great suffering, abuse and deaths in shelters, on the streets or in the hands of nefarious individuals. Every 60 seconds across America, the lives of 5 healthy cats and dogs are terminated in shelters alone. That’s about 3 million animals a year.
There is good news, however, and it’s a relatively easy “fix” — so to speak. Fix Felines by Five Months (FFF) is a program of Marian’s Dream that advocates veterinary spay/neuter of cats at 5 months of age. This seemingly small yet highly significant change would remove the risk of unwanted litters by ensuring that young cats will not have that accidental first “whoops” litter. A study by Andrew Rowan projected that close to 90% of unwanted kittens and puppies are born to mothers who would end up being spayed after the litter was born.
Nationwide, the chances for healthy cats to find a permanent home once they are placed in a shelter are slim. Approximately 70% of cats entering shelters are euthanized, according to a survey by the National Council on Pet Population Study & Policy. Some regions have an even higher death statistic. There are far more cats than there are good homes.
By moving the age of sterilization back just one month, we eliminate the possibility of litters being born during that delicate period between kittenhood and maturity. This simple change in timing could prevent an enormous number of litters and suffering. It has been estimated that if even 35% of cat guardians would spay/neuter before maturity, the birth rate of cats would fall dramatically enough to ensure that every cat has a chance at a good home.
The Fix by Five program also has an educational arm to its campaign. We will be sharing more developments of pilot FFF programs, resources and results. Fix by Five is the easiest and most humane solution to curb pet overpopulation and END euthanasia, so that every cat is a wanted cat in a loving home. For more information on Fix Felines by Five, including actions, resources and veterinary references, CLICK HERE.