Spay and Neuter Awareness

Let’s face it. Unfixed pets can also be downright annoying! 

Roaming – Hormones making them want to find a mate cause them to be more likely to roam, especially if they smell another not fixed animal. Even trying to keep them inside can be quite a task and they often love to dash out the door. Pets don’t know to look both ways before crossing the road and this can cause them to get hit by cars. Some will also roam too far from home and not know how to get back. There is also a good possibility a female will come back pregnant or a male will impregnate any females in the neighborhood.

Spraying/marking – Unneutered males especially are more likely to spray or mark, but some female cats will spray as well, especially when they are in heat. When a cat or dog sprays, they are making what they pee on as theirs. Unfixed animals tend to be more territorial, thus they feel the need to spray or mark. 

Fighting/aggression – Not fixed pets are much more likely to get into fights with other animals and some are even more aggressive towards people. Even a fixed animal might get into fights with a not fixed animal. Even smelling a not fixed animal can start to drive your pet a little crazy. This is a big reason why we typically keep intact cats in our intake area until they are fixed. Even smelling that intact male cat can make even our fixed cats want to mark. Intact pets can also be more likely to show aggression towards people. 

Female dogs in heat – Female dogs in heat bleed, so you either have a mess to deal with or you have to put a diaper on them. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a good time to me. Spayed females don’t tend to go into heat, so by getting her fixed, you won’t have to deal with this. 

Calming down dogs – Young dogs tend to calm down a bit when they get fixed. That’s not to say it will solve any behavioral problems without training, but it can help, especially when done when the dog is younger.

Not fixed cats tend to cry. A lot. – Unspayed females in heat can be especially annoying with their constant yowling. They also can get extremely needy and behave a bit oddly. Intact males can also be quite loud about their desire to find a girlfriend. 

There are so many reasons to get your pet fixed.


They will be healthier. For one, getting spayed or neutered reduces or eliminates their risk of certain types of cancer. Females are less likely to develop mammary tumors. So often when we get stray dogs who are not spayed, they have a ton of mammary tumors. Spayed cats and dogs are also less likely to develop ovarian cancers and cysts and uterine infections. One of the most common tumors in older intact males is testicular tumors. Getting your male cat or dog fixed eliminates that risk. It also decreases their risk of prostate disease. 

It will likely save you money in the long run. Spay or neuter is cheaper than a litter of puppies or kittens and can help save you some money on vet bills long-term by helping eliminate or reduce the risk of the medical problems listed above. 

There are low cost options for spay/neuter. CCHS has a fund for helping with spaying and neutering dogs, and KSNAG assists with spaying and neutering cats. CCHS has a certain amount of money put aside each month for spay/neuter assistance, so get in touch with us to make sure there is funding available, which there typically is. We work with Copper Country Vet Clinic, Northland, and Bayshore. Set up an appointment at one of those vet clinics, and let us know when it is, so we can get the voucher to them. Amount of help we give depends on size and if they are male or female, typically between $75-150. For cats contact KSNAG at 906-296-9144 and ask for Dawn. 

Your kids can “experience the miracle of birth” by your family taking in a foster. We and other shelters occasionally get in a pregnant mama cat or dog, and we prefer to put these animals in foster. If your family is interested in fostering a mom with kittens or puppies, just get in touch with us.

Spaying/neutering are some of the most common surgeries done on pets. It is a pretty low risk surgery for most animals. 

Your pet won’t contribute to overpopulation. While the numbers of animals euthanized (put to sleep) in shelters has decreased, each year approximately 920,000 animals are put down. If we end animal overpopulation, we can save so many more animals. 

Some myths:

“Getting your pet fixed makes them fat.” Overeating and lack of exercise make pets fat, not spay/neuter.

“My pet is so great! The world needs more of them!” Genetics are tricky. Even breeders are not able to get exactly the traits they desire every time. Chances are if you let your pet breed, you will not get a pet with the same traits as their parent. Even if you do, animal overpopulation is still a major issue. So often the offspring of these pets end up in shelters. It’s shocking how often we end up with multiple, if not all the dogs of a local litter. This is also the problem with individuals trying to find homes for puppies and kittens. You can try your best to find good homes, but finding responsible people who are willing to train a puppy and work through the wild kitten years, so often they end up at shelters or dumped because people just can’t handle them. 

“I don’t want to take away his manhood.” Pets don’t have a concept of masculinity. They may feel a bit of discomfort after surgery, but other than calming them down some and potentially making them less aggressive, neutering doesn’t affect their personality like that.

“It’s better to have one litter first.” This is false. Every time a pet goes through the heat cycle they are at higher risk for breast and uterine infections. We’ve had many nursing mamas get mastitis, and very often when we get older adult female dogs they are full of mammary tumors.

Some final notes

If we have persuaded you, remember DO NOT GET YOUR CAT DECLAWED! Often people like to have that done when they are fixed, but there is no benefit for the cat, only lots of potential side effects. 

*We do understand some vets prefer to fix puppies when they are a little older. In Michigan as a shelter we are required to either get an animal fixed before adoption or send them home with a contract that they will bring them in for their spay/neuter appointment with a deposit, and these animals are not registered to the new owner until they are fixed. If you get a puppy from outside a shelter, we don’t have a problem with you waiting to get them fixed until they are a little older as long as you are responsible about not letting them be near other intact animals. Our concern is with those who never intend on getting their animals fixed. 

Author: Rebecca, CCHS assistant manager