Every year, 3 to 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters, mostly for lack of a good home. “No-kill” shelters that don’t euthanize animals often warehouse them in lonely cages for months or years on end, or they turn dogs and cats away because their cages are full, leaving the animals to suffer a far worse fate.

There is only one solution to the overpopulation crisis: preventing more dog and cat births.

animals in shelters

But puppies and kittens are adorable, and you know that if your female cat has kittens, you’ll find good homes for all of them. So there’s no harm in letting her have just one litter, right? Wrong!


Just one female cat and her kittens can lead to the births of 370,000 cats in seven years, and one female dog and her puppies can result in the births of 67,000 dogs in six years. spay-cat-overpopulation-crisis

This means that in just 16 months, one unspayed cat and her kittens—and their kittens—can produce 36 more cats!


So now you understand why preventing unwanted births is the right thing to do, but maybe you’re still hesitant because you heard that neutering your male dog will change his personality or make him lazy. This is simply not true.


Spaying and neutering will reduce or eliminate only the behaviors that you don’t want, such as aggression and urine marking. Neutered males are less likely to roam, fight, and mark their territory with urine, and spayed females experience less hormone-related moodiness and won’t have messy heat cycles. In exchange, your animal companions will likely become more interested in you—rather than in finding a mate.

kim bax reading

But what if the surgery is unsafe or painful?


Spay and neuter surgeries are the most commonly performed animal surgeries. Most animals experience relatively little discomfort. Anesthetics are used during surgery, and pain medication is generally given afterward, so animals are back to their normal activities within a day or two. Spaying or neutering cats and dogs will also lower their risk of developing many diseases, including cancer.

So you want to get your furry friend spayed or neutered, but you can’t afford it or your parents think it’s too expensive?


Low-cost options exist! Call 1-800-248-SPAY to find your nearest low-cost spay-and-neuter clinic. Still having trouble? Hit up peta2, and we’ll help you find low-cost options in your area or help you talk to your parents.

Dog looking up
My Dog | elizabeth tersigni | CC BY 2.0 

Spaying or neutering your companion animal is the single most important thing you can do to end the suffering of cats and dogs.

Here are some more ways that you can help:

  • Educate your friends about the companion-animal overpopulation crisis.
  • If your parents or friends are hesitant about the procedure, let them know that you can help, and be there for them.
  • Always adopt animals from an open-admission shelter, and never buy from a pet store or breeder.
  • Work with your community to spread awareness and even talk to your local government officials about requiring companion animals to be spayed or neutered.