Feline Fix by Five is working to raise awareness among veterinarians and pet parents alike on the benefits of early-age sterilization, and advocate for kittens to be spayed or neutered before they are five months old.
What Feline Fix by Five is Not:
- A pediatric spay/neuter program
- A low income spay/neuter program
- A sheltering program
- A rescue program
- A program for feral cats
- A program for Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR)
How Feline Fix by Five came to be.
Meanwhile, millions and millions of unplanned, unwanted kittens were being born only to be taken to overcrowded shelters or abandoned. While a renewed conversation about the best age to spay or neuter certain large-breed dogs is emerging, current evidence does not support an increased risk for cats of complications or long-term adverse health effects with pediatric (6-14 weeks) or juvenile (>16 weeks) sterilization. Also, the numbers of surplus dogs were gradually declining, but the numbers of unwanted, homeless cats were still in the multi-millions. It was time to focus on the felines.
This need was addressed in January of 2016, when a group of professionals met at the North American Veterinary Conference’s annual meeting. The meeting was sponsored by Marian’s Dream; and Joan Miller, Chair of the Cat Fanciers’ Education and Outreach Committee, invited a dozen prominent veterinarians met to consider the idea of possible recommendations for the optimal age to sterilize cats. Current scientific evidence regarding medical and behavioral effects and community outcomes were discussed, as well as short and long-term potential risk factors. The idea of recommending that practitioners routinely schedule the surgery at the end of the kitten vaccination series, typically between four and five months of age, would provide a consistent message that could increase veterinary visits and spay/neuter compliance while reducing the risk of pet relinquishment and unwanted offspring.
Over the following 18 months, at board meetings of the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association as well as The Association of Shelter Veterinarians, The Catalyst Council, the Cat Fanciers’ Association, the Winn Feline Foundation and International Cat Association, the consensus was endorsed.
Today, this ‘pet project,’ now known as Feline Fix by Five, is poised to undertake a massive public awareness campaign. The recommendation of sterilization of cats by five months of age will prevent enormous suffering because millions of unwanted kittens will not be born to a very uncertain fate. Those cats already in shelters will have a better chance of adoption, kittens in homes will be less likely to be relinquished and the incidence of mammary gland cancer will, if the program is successful, decrease further.
Feline Fix by Five in the News
- Fix by Five campaign aims to reduce cat overpopulation: Recommendation calls for reducing age of spay and neuter to 5 months or earlier for cats (Jun 12, 2019; JAVMA)
- Feline Fix by Five Campaign (Feb 2018; Cat Talk)
- Taskforce launches Feline Fix by Five initiative (May 25, 2017; Veterinary Practice News)