Millions of unwanted puppies and kittens are born each year. Many are born strays although the majority are born to household pets. Many owners allow their pets to breed, not because they wanted the offspring or could not find suitable homes for them, but because they thought, erroneously, that this was the correct procedure.
There is no evidence to suggest that it is desirable for a bitch or queen to have a litter before being spayed. This notion has its foundation in the questionable human attitude towards their pets. There is no basis for concluding that neutering a pet has a negative effect on its health. What is certain is that one litter, proliferated, unchecked, produces enormous problem because of the many unwanted pets.
Many owners permit their pets to breed because of the opportunity it provides their children with to witness the miracle of birth. While this can be a worthwhile experience, it should not be provided at the expense of the pet. Before allowing your pet to mate you should undertake to find good homes for the offspring if you do not intend to keep them yourself. This is often more difficult than you might expect. You should realise that puppies and kittens will only be able to leave their mothers between six and eight weeks of age and until then they will be your responsibility. The cost of rearing a litter is often greater than the pet owner estimated with resultant detrimental effects on the litter.
Finding responsible, loving pet owners for your pets’ litter is often difficult because of the enormous overpopulation of unwanted pets.The animal welfare organisations can only offer limited assistance as they cannot provide the facilities to house the enormous number of unwanted pets. They succeed in finding good homes for only a small percentage, those remaining sadly face euthanasia or remaining in a shelter environment for the remainder of their lives.
There is, of course, an alternative to the problem of unwanted pets. Do not let your pet breed indiscriminately!
The only effective solution to the tragic overpopulation of unwanted pets is to have your pet sterilised. Cats and dogs may be sterilised from the time they are sexually mature although they need not have had a “season”. Cats and miniature breeds of dogs can be sterilised from five and a half months of age, while larger breeds of dogs should be sterilised from 6 to 10 months of age.
Responsible pet ownership implies having your pet sterilised!