LORIE CHORTYK: It’s hip to be snipped

Did you know that in just seven years, one unspayed cat and her offspring can produce more than 450,000 cats? For dogs, that number is 4,000 and one unspayed female rabbit and her offspring can produce 95 billion rabbits in that same period.

Did you know that in just seven years, one unspayed cat and her offspring can produce more than 450,000 cats? For dogs, that number is 4,000 and one unspayed female rabbit and her offspring can produce 95 billion rabbits in that same period.Tragically many more animals are born in B.C. than there are homes for. The BC SPCA and other animal rescue organizations shelter and find homes for tens of thousands of these unwanted animals each year, but sadly, many more are simply abandoned by their guardians and suffer a cruel death from starvation, disease, predation or injury.The BC SPCA has declared February Spay and Neuter Awareness Month, and is urging all pet guardians to have their pets sterilized if they haven’t already done so. In addition to saving lives, your pet will live a calmer and happier life. Here are just some of the benefits for your pet:q Neutering generally reduces aggressive behaviours in pets. Neutered dogs are calmer and less likely to bite, attack or get into altercations at the dog park. Neutered cats don’t have the drive to mark and protect their territory and are less likely to spray or get into cat fights;q Female cats go in and out of heat every three weeks between January and November. In addition to preventing unwanted litters, spaying your cat will reduce her desire to escape to find a mate, spraying or inappropriate elimination, howling and attracting unwanted male cats onto your property;q Spaying or neutering your pet reduces the likelihood of them developing uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers;q Having your pet sterilized also provides an opportunity to have other important health procedures performed, as necessary, such as an identification tattoo or microchip or teeth cleaning. Spaying and neutering is done under a general anesthetic, so your pet won’t be in pain. If cost is a concern for you, check with your local SPCA, which provides assistance to low-income pet guardians where possible, and many communities have low-cost spay/neuter funds administered through local government. For more information on spaying and neutering your pet visit spca.bc.ca.Lorie Chortyk is the general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.