Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cat desexing controversy and shocking cat breeding time bomb

Cat overpopulation is a huge issue in Australia, leading to the euthanasia of many thousands of cats every year.  Further, unowned cats cause a major impact on native wildlife and can spread diseases like Feline AIDS virus, Feline Leukemia virus and cat flu among pet cats. 

Desexing cats seems like a simple solution, and many pet owners do get their cats desexed: why isn't it working?

Cats have an incredible reproductive potential: you might have heard the phrase "breed like rabbits" but it could just as easily have been "breed like cats."  One breeding pair of cats in a suitable environment can breed to produce 420,000 descendants in only 7 years.

For this reason, its vital to desex your cat.  Many pet owners fail to do this by 6 months of age and their cat is pregnant (or impregnating someone else!) before they know it.  The RSPCA desexes all the cats they rehome.  This is really important, and cat welfare or rehoming programs that don't do this are actually contributing to overpopulation and cat euthanasia down the track.

Is mandatory cat desexing the answer?

The RSPCA goes further though, calling for mandatory desexing of all cats.  This is fairly controversial and if implemented would result in cat population decline.  We probably need something close to this for a short time but many people are concerned about mandatory anything as an incursion on personal freedom.  A few weeks work in a shelter euthanasing dozens of cats might change their mind though. 

Clearly all pet owners need to take responsibility for desexing their own pets, and shelters (and pet stores) need to ensure pets are desexed before rehoming to prevent unwanted litters.

What do you think?

Dallas McMillan

Read more about Cat Desexing at Cairns Vet Clinic.

Check out the RSPCA statement on cat desexing at http://www.rspcaqld.org.au/campaigns/desexing/

Excerpt below:

Cat Desexing

 The Issues

Around 13,000 cats and kittens lose their lives in Queensland every year, the innocent victims of irresponsible and uninformed pet owners. That’s more than one every hour. And the problem grows bigger every year.


Thousands upon thousands of unwanted kittens are born each year across the state, simply because their owners have failed to desex their cats. Thousands of these kittens are dumped at the RSPCA. While we do our best to find homes for all the animals that come into our shelters, there simply are not enough people willing to adopt all these cats and kittens. Our staff then face the trauma of euthanasing hundreds of cats and kittens every day – many only just a few days old.


Female cats can potentially produce three litters of six kittens each year. Even more staggering, over the course of her breeding life, a female cat (and her offspring) may be responsible for the birth of 420,000 kittens.


Mandatory desexing is the only solution

The only long-term solution to preventing the deaths of thousands of cats and kittens every year is State legislation to make the desexing of cats mandatory.


RSPCA Qld recommends that kittens be desexed at 8 weeks to 3 months of age. Desexing your cat before it reaches sexual maturity will avoid unwanted litters and reduce or eliminate the incidence of some health and behavioral problems.  But even if your cat is an adult, it is not too late to desex her/him.


It is just as important to desex male cats.  In just one night, a male cat can impregnate as many females as he encounters, each giving birth to a litter of 6 to 8 kittens.


If you are not a registered breeder, you should desex your cat. Even if you are a registered breeder, please make sure you have caring homes to cater for ALL the six to eight kittens in every litter.

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