For animal shelters across the nation, spring’s arrival means it is time to gear up for the annual influx of kittens known as kitten season. For several months, shelters usually see a marked increase in the number of cats entering their care.
In an effort to stem the tide and prevent unwanted litters of kittens, starting March 1, Santa Barbara Humane will be offering free spay and neuter surgeries for cats at its Santa Maria campus, made possible by a donation from ResQcats.
All visits to Santa Barbara Humane’s veterinary clinic, including those for free spay and neuter surgeries, are by appointment only. Appointments can be booked at sbhumane.org/clinic or call 805- 964-4777 ext. 205.
Spay and neuter surgeries are key to keeping the feline population under control. An unaltered female cat can give birth to as many as 180 kittens in her lifetime, Santa Barbara Humane reports. Those kittens could become part of the 3.2 million cats that enter animal shelters each year.
For the millions of feral cats who don’t enter a shelter, life on the streets is fraught with dangers ranging from encounters with wildlife to communicable illnesses to the hazards of busy roadways.
Surgical sterilization is not only a safe and humane way to prevent unwanted litters; it also offers significant health benefits to cats, according to Santa Barbara Humane.
Spaying female cats helps prevent breast and uterine cancer, and neutering male cats helps prevent testicular cancer; and studies have found that spayed female cats live 39% longer than intact female cats, while neutered male cats live 62% longer than intact male cats, Santa Barbara Humane reports.