Cooperative Citizen

Altered States: Reasons Sites For Not Sterilizing Pets and the Rebutting Facts

REASON: Itís better to have one litter first.

FACT: Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age. Check with your veterinarian about the appropriate time for these procedures.

REASON: My children should experience the miracle of birth.

FACT: Even if children are able to see a pet give birth ó which is unlikely, since it usually occurs at night and in seclusion ó the lesson they will really learn is that animals can be created and discarded as it suits adults. Instead, it should be explained to children that the real miracle is life and that preventing the birth of some pets can save the lives of others.

REASON: But my pet is a purebred.

FACT: So is at least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters around the country. There are just too many dogs and cats ó mixed breed and purebred.

REASON: I donít want my male dog or cat to feel like less of a male.

FACT: Pets donít have any concept of sexual identity or ego. Neutering will not change a petís basic personality. He doesnít suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.

REASON: But my dog (or cat) is so special, I want a puppy (or kitten) just like her.

FACT: A dog or cat may be a great pet, but that doesnít mean her offspring will be a carbon copy. Professional animal breeders who follow generations of bloodlines canít guarantee they will get just what they want out of a particular litter. A pet ownerís chances are even slimmer. In fact, an entire litter of puppies or kittens might receive all of a petís (and her mateís) worst characteristics.

REASON: Itís too expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.

FACT: The cost of spaying or neutering depends on the sex, size, and age of the pet, vetís fees, and a number of other variables (see pg. 34-35). But whatever the price, the surgery is a one-time cost ó  a relatively small cost when compared to all the benefits. Itís a bargain compared to the cost of ensuring the health of a mother and her litter; two months of pregnancy and another two months until the litter is weaned can add up to significant veterinary bills and food costs if complications develop. Moreover, itís a very small price to pay for the health of your pet and the prevention of the births of more unwanted pets.

REASON: Iíll find good homes for all the puppies and kittens.

FACT: You may find homes for all of your petís litter. But each home you find means one less home for the dogs and cats in shelters who need good homes. Also, in less than one yearís time, each of your petís offspring may have his or her own litter, adding even more animals to the population. The problem of pet overpopulation is created and perpetuated one litter at a time.   

Itís Good for Your Pet!


Sterilized dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives.


Spaying and neutering can eliminate or reduce the incidence of a number of health problems that can be very difficult or expensive to treat.


Spaying eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer, particularly when your pet is spayed before her first estrous cycle.


Neutering eliminates testicular cancer and decreases the incidence of prostate disease.

 itís Good for you!


Spaying and neutering makes pets better, more affectionate companions.


Neutering cats makes them less likely to spray and mark territory.


Spaying and neutering can make pets less likely to bite, run away, or get into fights.


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