Friday, December 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Paws for thought: Altered pets save resources, reduce stress

Maya snuggles atop the kitty tree in her new home. Nicole and Jeff Slaton adopted her from the City of Sacramento’s animal shelter on Front Street. Like all pets from local animal shelters, Maya was altered, microchipped, and vaccinated before they brought her home. Courtesy photo

By
From page A7 | January 15, 2013 |

Do you or someone you know have a pet that needs to be spayed or neutered?

World Spay Day, an international campaign that saves lives by reducing pet overpopulation through spay/neuter programs, is coming. Beginning Saturday, Jan. 19, low-income pet owners in Yolo and Sacramento counties can request an appointment for low-cost spay/neuter surgery at the Sacramento Area Animal Coalition’s website <http://www.sacanimal.org/>.

Spaying or neutering a pet is good for your community, your pet, yourself, and your pocketbook.

Communities spend millions of dollars controlling unwanted pets. Reducing pet overpopulation through spaying/neutering reduces costs for controlling strays and unwanted pets and protects wildlife and domestic animals.

Pet health, happiness and longevity are increased. Spaying female pets before they go into heat for the first time reduces breast cancer and eliminates the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer. It also avoids the possibility of medical complications or death during pregnancy and delivery. Neutered males won’t develop testicular cancer and the risk of prostrate cancer is greatly reduced.

Altered pets are better behaved, calmer, and more affectionate. Male cats are less likely to mark their territory. Neutered males won’t escape in search of a mate, thus reducing the chance they will be hit by cars, get in fights, or be lost or stolen. Spaying a dog or cat eliminates her heat cycle as well as incessant whining and nervous behavior. It also keeps unwelcome males away.

Consider costs. Altered pets are less likely to be hurt and need vet care or incur animal control fines resulting from searching for a mate. Pregnancy and delivery come with significant veterinarian expenses. Finally, costs for kitten or puppy care can skyrocket to say nothing of the effort involved in finding them all good homes when shelters and rescues are overflowing.

Spay Day is just one of several options for altering pets. If you qualify for Spay Day service, your cat or dog will be altered, microchipped, vaccinated and provided with flea prevention at a cost of $15/cat or $20/dog. Other low-cost voucher programs are listed at <http://www.sacanimal.org/spayneuter-programs/voucher-program/>. You can also contact local veterinarians about costs and discounts they might offer.

Considering health, behavior, and cost benefits, altering a pet is an investment that provides big dividends to yourself, your pet, and your community.

Happy Tails
Local shelters alter, microchip, and vaccinate adopted pets before they go to new homes. For this reason, Nicole and Jeff Slaton had to wait a few days before bringing their new kitty home. They write, “In December, after making the very difficult decision to say goodbye to Roxanne, our beloved calico cat who was with us for 21 years, our home seemed empty, despite the company of our other cats and dogs. So, on December 18th we brought home our newest fuzzy family member—a beautiful, cuddly, 11-month old calico cat from the City of Sacramento Shelter on Front Street. We named her ‘Maya’ in honor of the new cycle of the Mayan calendar. We hope to give our Maya a new start in a new and better age. It took a few days of recovery after the spay surgery, but she is now becoming comfortable with our other pets. It is rewarding to know we’re offering an abandoned animal a new chance to flourish in a loving, comfortable home, and, of course, we get plenty of love back.”

Ways to Help
“Spay It Forward.” If your pet is altered, help others alter their pets. Donate at http://www.sacanimal.org/ or send a check payable to Sacramento Area Animal Coalition at PO Box 161043, Sacramento, CA 95816.

— “Evelyn Dale of Davis is a volunteer and advocate for shelter animal welfare. Contact her at pawsforthought@sbcglobal.net. This column appears monthly.”

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