Pet Owners Can Help Overpopulation by Spaying and Neutering
Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) The “kitten season” begins as the weather warms, putting extra strain on pet shelters who take in the influx of furry charges.
Marshfield Area Pet Shelter currently houses 24 adult cats and 47 kittens at its temporary shelter and in foster homes.
“This number changes daily as we continue to receive more cats all hours of the day, every day,” said Kaitlin Loberg, Shelter Manager. “Usually during the spring, fall and winter months we have more adults than kittens, but as the weather warms up all of the intact cats that are outside start to roam further in search of a mate.”
A cat can first start becoming pregnant at just 4 months of age and give birth to an average of 3 litters per year. The shelter is then tasked with caring for these homeless animals, taking up space, resources, and staff time.
“Throughout the year we not only take in stray animals from our contracted areas, but also take in animals from our non-contracted areas. During kitten season we are unable to do that,” said Loberg.
MAPS strives to provide humane care for all of its cats with free roaming rooms and large cages. However, space constraints during kitten season forces the shelter to reduce cage sizes and place more cats together, which can cause them to become sick much easier.
A way for pet owners to help these animals find adoptable homes is to prioritize spaying and neutering, which reduces the number of homeless cats that need attention and in turn promotes a better quality of life for the animals.
“There has also been a lot of research into how much of a positive impact on an animal’s health spaying or neutering can have,” said Loberg. “Intact female dogs and cats are prone to mammary tumors, infection of the uterus (we just had a cat with this issue come into the shelter last month), heat cycles that are uncomfortable for the pet and owner, etc. Your vet can give you even more reason why it is best for their health to get them fixed.”
Spaying and neutering should be done even if a cat never or rarely goes outside. Cats that are unaltered are more likely to roam to search of a mate.
“Even if a cat is only outside for 20 minutes, they can travel very far and find a mate, get pregnant (or impregnate another cat) and be back home before you even know they were gone at all,” she said. “A lot of people say that their cat never goes outside which can be very true, however just in the past month we have posted on our Facebook page roughly 10 missing cats who snuck out of the house when the owner was having company over, having things delivered, the cat just found a way out, etc.”
Pets can be fixed by setting up an appointment at a local vet clinic. Lower-cost options include Clark County Humane Society, Humane Society of Portage County, and The Fix Is In.
With fewer homeless animals to take in, the shelter will be better able to care for the animals it already has.
“We would love to take in every single animal who needs help, but we have a responsibility to the animals in our care,” said Loberg. “We will continue to do as much as we can for our animals in need and ask that our community help us by spaying and neutering and even educating family and friends about the importance of it.”
Marshfield Area Pet Shelter currently operates an Adoption Center inside the Marshfield Mall with public visiting hours and an Intake Shelter at the old airport terminal building. The shelter plans to break ground for a new facility later this year.
For more information or to donate, visit www.marshfieldpetshelter.org.