Spaying and neutering benefits pets, owners, and communities

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Designated National Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, February provides an excellent opportunity for pet owners to spay or neuter any animals in their care. Along with preventing unwanted litters of puppies and kittens, spaying and neutering improve quality of life for both pets and their people.

Muscatine Humane Society Director Chris McGinnis shared that each year, their shelter sees an average of 300 to 400 kittens, far more than they can reasonably handle. A single unneutered male cat or dog can father numerous babies with many different females over its lifetime. Unspayed female dogs come into heat twice a year, with female cats experiencing heats as frequently as every two to three weeks. By spaying and neutering your pets, you can prevent them from contributing to pet overpopulation.

Spaying and neutering pets can also prevent undesirable behaviors. Neutered male cats and dogs do not run away from home in search of mates and they do not spray urine to mark their territory. Neutering also decreases aggressive behaviors and reduces fighting. Similarly, spaying keeps female cats and dogs from growing moody during their heats and makes them less likely to try to escape.

Pets can also gain health benefits from spaying and neutering. Intact female dogs can contract a serious uterine infection called pyometra after experiencing a heat. Additionally, animals, especially dogs, have a higher risk for several types of cancer, including breast cancer, if not neutered or spayed.

If you have an animal that needs spaying or neutering, you may reach out to any vet and ask about special Spay and Neuter Awareness Month rates. If you have trouble affording the procedure, McGinnis encourages you to contact the Iowa Humane Alliance in Cedar Rapids at 319-363-1229, which offers a low cost spay and neuter clinic and can help with transportation needs.