February is nationally recognized as “Spay/Neuter Awareness Month.”
The purpose is to encourage people to have their pets sterilized before the spring and summer months when there is a rampant overproduction of puppies and kittens. During that time most animal shelters experience an unmanageable increase in animal intake. Spay/neutering helps to decrease those numbers and saves pets’ lives.
There are many health benefits to spay/neuter. Females are at less risk for infections of the reproductive tract (pyometra) and mammary tumors (breast cancer). Males will not develop testicular tumors and will be less prone to prostate and associated urinary problems.
Cats, in particular, will have less exposure to fatal diseases such as feline leukemia and the feline AIDS virus if they are spayed/neutered. They will fight less and will not be mating, which means they will be avoiding the most common ways these feline diseases are spread.
Behavior problems are lessened when a pet is spayed or neutered. Males tend to exhibit fewer testosterone-driven behaviors, such as urine marking, aggression and roaming. Females are less likely to fight as well.
Obviously, your pet will not be able to reproduce, helping to control the ever growing and unwanted pet population. That said, the animal welfare community has been unable to convince everyone of the benefits of spay/neuter.