To neuter or not to neuter?

Neutering of pets is a topic that can lead to long discussions. I am all in favour of it.

A good friend of mine with two lovely, but big and boisterous dogs took years to decide. Whenever I pointed out the advantages: they would be much easier to handle and how more pleasant walks would be with well behaved dogs, the answer was always: “It is not natural.”

Of course she is right: it is not natural. But our pets do not live in a natural environment. If they were still living in their natural habitat their kittens and puppies would not all survive. The survival of the fittest would certainly apply. Even the parents would not live to the old age our domesticated pets do.

With our regular visits to the vet for yearly vaccinations against all kind of diseases, well balanced food and healthy exercise our pets live much longer than they would do in the wild.

Neutering does not change the character of our dogs and cats: it only makes them more relaxed. Male dogs no longer have the desire to run away from home to answer the call of a female, often miles and miles away, with the added danger of getting involved in a road accident.

Personally I do not believe that your bitch or queen looks forward to having two or more litters a year. The first birth may well be exciting for all involved and you may even be lucky enough to find homes for all of them, but we all know that animal charities are always desperately looking for homes for the animals in their care. There are simply more pets looking for homes than there are homes looking for pets. As far as the reproduction of cats is concerned I have some sobering and chattering statistics for you:

If a male and female cat get together whenever nature determines they and their first year offspring will produce 42 cats in the first year, 66 in the second, 1,382 in the third, 2,220 in the fourth and 73,041 in the fifth.

If all of them keep going and keep reproducing then in the tenth year they have managed to produce 80,399,790 new lives.

Of course in reality that number will be much lower, because the death rate will reduce the overall outcome, but still... Can you think of a better reason to have them neutered?