How Spaying or Neutering Your Cat Helps Overpopulation

Have you ever wondered if spay and neuter works to reduce pet overpopulation? The answer is a resounding yes, and we have the numbers to prove it! That’s right, we’re talking about math!




Now before you press the back button on your browser. bear with us here! An un-spayed female cat who roams and breeds regularly can have kittens approximately three times per year and will usually have between two and six kittens. For this example, let’s assume that our feline couple in this example have kittens three times per year and have four kittens per litter (the middle of the average litter range).

This means that just one pair of cats, in just one year, turn into 14 breeding cats! The next year, these 14 breeding cats each have three litters of four kittens and turn into 182 cats. The year after that, those 182 cats turn into 2366 cats. The year after that, we see an astonishing 30,758 cats… then 399,854… etc.


That, my friends, is a lot of homeless cats.


Now let’s run the same numbers, but assume half of the cats are spayed or neutered by responsible pet owners. Those numbers in the previous example now drop to: 1, 7, 49, 392 and 2744.

Now, we know that the example above is pretty simplified, and it also doesn’t take into account the high mortality rates for outdoor cats and kittens (the average lifespan for an outdoor cat is only 2-4 years and, in some locations, kitten mortality will approach 50-75%). But the question remains… how on earth does spay or neuter do so much to reduce cat overpopulation?

Well this is the wonder of exponents. By spaying or neutering one cat, you not only help protect the health of that cat (spayed or neutered cats are less likely to roam or develop cancer of their reproductive organs) but you also prevent future generations of cats who would otherwise be out and breeding. In just a few generations you can see a significant reduction in the number of unwanted felines, and the same can be shown for dogs.



Does Spay and Neuter work?


You bet it does! In Calgary, we have seen first hand how well spay and neuter works. In the 1990s, Calgary Humane Society saw the height of our animal admissions peak at over 13,000 animals per year, a majority of which were stray cats. Today? That number has fallen significantly to less than 7,500 animals per year. We have also seen a huge change in where these animals are coming from. In the 1990s, a vast majority of the animals received by CHS were stray or homeless animals found on the streets of Calgary whereas today the balance of stray vs. owner surrender is closer to 50/50. We are also seeing a lot more animals come in already spayed or neutered, which is an exciting trend!

An Open Letter to our Supporters

There has been some recent discussion suggesting Calgary Humane Society should not be allowed to care for the animals it seizes. That we are not empowered to alleviate an animal’s suffering. That we should not be taking animals who have been neglected.

Some have even gone so far as to suggest people shouldn’t donate to our organization. While people are certainly entitled to their opinions, we think people should be able to make up their own minds.

While we did seize 40 animals from a southwest property in January and as the investigation remains active we are limited in what we can say, we can tell you we do not hold animals for “ransom” and we do not provide unnecessary treatment.

Our job as authorized by the Government of Alberta is to protect animals under the Animal Protection Act. Whether that means providing necessary medical treatment to alleviate suffering, finding them a home where they can live safely or seizing an animal whose owner has failed to help them.

This case is far from over and charges are pending against several people in relation to the property in which animals were seized. While some claim they were merely “caught up” in this case, we can confirm that claim is false. As our investigation progresses, we promise to update you with as many details as possible.

In the meantime we ask you to remember, we are a not for profit organization with almost 5,000 animals a year who rely on donor dollars to fund their care, medical treatment, behaviour support and protection.

While we can’t share specifics on this case as it would directly jeopardize the animals in our care, we can tell you for 95 years we have been helping animals in this community and we have no plans to stop.




CHS Responds to Confusion Over Recent Media Story

We have received several calls from members of the public regarding a recent Post Media story about a gentleman by the name of Mike Murphy claiming he and his dog Tilly are ‘caught up’ in his landlord’s animal neglect investigation. This is an ongoing investigation which limits what we can say, however we are able to say this claim is completely false.

Charges are pending against anyone responsible for animals in relation to this property and we will be in a position to go public with charges in the next couple of weeks. While we know it is difficult to see stories such as this, please know Calgary Humane Society only treats animals that are seized in order to relieve their distress and does not do elective or cosmetic procedures on them. While costs for these emergency treatments can sometimes be costly, Calgary Humane Society is also not able to provide free or even discounted medical treatment as it could jeopardize our license and ability to operate. These medical bills, in most cases, are the result failure of the owner to provide the necessary care, which is a criminal offense.

We thank you for your patience while we work to complete this investigation.  We urge the public to reserve judgement until the file resolves.  We cannot try these cases in the media, which sometimes put us at a disadvantage in public perception.