By about four months of age, cats can have kittens and dogs can have puppies. Many people wait too long to get this operation done, thinking their companion animal is still just a baby themselves. But before they know it, they have a litter of kittens or a litter of puppies that they’ll need to find homes for. Finding a loving, responsible home for each animal isn’t always that easy!
What’s more, if those animals don’t get spayed or neutered, they will have babies too - meaning more loving, responsible, forever homes will need to be found.
Every year, thousands of abandoned, neglected and unwanted dogs, cats and rabbits enter SPCA Centres and other animal rescue shelters around New Zealand. Some of these animals are lucky enough to be adopted into loving, responsible, forever homes, but sadly there are far more animals in need of a caring family than there are kind, responsible people willing to provide them with a good, permanent home.
Companion animal overpopulation is a serious problem. Animal shelters become overcrowded and are unable to care for the thousands of homeless companion animals in New Zealand every year. Sadly, not enough people adopt their companion animals from shelters to help ease the crowding. In many cases, homeless animals live a sad, lonely, hard life out on the streets, trying to survive on their own.
There are three main reasons:
Animals come into shelters for many reasons, and sometimes for a combination of reasons, so it can be difficult to identify the most common reason.
SPCA is the only charity in New Zealand with the legal power to seize animals where there’s evidence of cruelty or neglect, so many of the animals who enter our care are brought in by our inspectors. This will be different from other animal shelters. We also receive many stray animals who are found injured, sick or otherwise vulnerable.
The shelter can be a stressful environment for animals and animals may wait a long time to find a new home. This is why SPCA supports keeping people and their companion animals together whenever it is possible, appropriate, and in the best interests of both the animal and person to do so. We believe this should be a priority for the animal welfare community and for society as a whole.
Many of the reasons for surrendering an animal are short-term challenges that may be solved with supportive services. Research shows that people would choose to explore safety net options when they are made aware of them and given proper support. SPCA supports efforts to keep animals healthy and happy in their existing home or community through supportive services, including education, supplies, and other resources.
SPCA spays and neuters every animal adopted from our SPCA Centres, even those as young as eight-weeks-old.
We also recommend that people have their companion animals spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Remember, it is an easy procedure for your veterinarian to perform.
For more questions about when to have your companion animal spayed or neutered, speak with your veterinarian.