Friday, October 07, 2005

Sterlisation - Good for you, your cat and your community

This is the title of the talk I'm giving on Sunday at the zoo (despite the rather misleading information on the zoo website). There is this mistaken impression by some people I think that CWS tends to advocate sterilisation just for the sake of sterilisation. Believe me, if it would prevent cats from being killed, and it wouldn't affect their health, CWS would be more than happy to stop sterilising. There are so many more fun things to do in life than run around sterilising cats.

Why is sterilisation good for you? It prevents more kittens from being born. If you are able to look after huge numbers of cats and give them a good life, some may argue that this should mean that people be allowed to breed as many cats as they like. However, at a talk I attended, a behaviourist mentioned that every cat should have twenty minutes of individual attention in order to be well adjusted. This does NOT include time for feeding and changing the litter. How many of us have the time to do that for our cats as it is?

In addition, too many cats cause stress to other cats. I read that if you have ten cats, your chances of having one cat being a sprayer are extremely high. This is due to the cats being extremely stressed. So to stop your house from smelling like a toilet, and if you appreciate less fights, limiting the number of cats will help you.

On another level, every cat that is allowed to breed means that another cat out there is probably not going to find a home, and is going to be killed. If not, those 35 cats killed a day would not have to die.

Why is it good for your cat? Less stress - some people think mating is fun. However, if you've seen a cat on heat being chased by male cats, you wouldn't be think so. The male cats also get into scraps and fights - increasing the chances of disease. All of them look haggard afterward. It's been estimated in addition that 10% of feral cats have FIV - so that means with every fight, and every mated cat, the chance of that cat contracting FIV are higher. Their kittens also have a chance of contracting FIV. Let's not even talk about FELV and FIP. Your cat has less chances of contacting ovarian cancer (if it's female) and testicular cancer if it's male. Studies seem to suggest that they live longer too.

Why is it good for your community? Because there will be less complaints due to cat fights, spraying and most importantly, kittens being born. The residents are happier - in turn, they are much less likely to complain - and the cats then again benefit because they don't get rounded up to be killed.

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