Importance of Spay/Neuter

The stray overpopulation problem in Malaysia is a serious one. However, most people think that the issue needs to be solved by DBKL, the Department of Veterinary Services or the local shelters. This is unfair. The stray overpopulation problem needs to be solved from the grassroots level, where pet owners take responsibility for spaying/neutering their pets and animal lovers/community feeders to be proactive about spaying/neutering the local stray population.

  1. What is spay/neuter?
    • Spaying is a term used to sterilize FEMALE animals by removing the ovaries and uterus. Neutering is a term used to sterilize MALE animals by removing the testes, but also can be used interchangeably with male and female.
  2. Why should I spay/neuter?
    • There are many benefits for you and your animal to spay/neuter at an appropriate age. If the animal is a pet, most vets will recommend three vaccinations (one vaccination per month) then spay/neuter so about 5-7 months of age. If the animal is a TNR (trap-neuter-release) case so you cannot wait that long, then vets who work with rescue animals will spay as soon as the animal is healthy and hits 1 kg in weight.
    • Health benefits: Your female animal will live a healthier life by preventing uterine infections (pyometra) and lowered risk of breast tumors. Your male animal have lower risk of prostate issues and prevent testicular cancer.
    • Behavioral benefits: Your female animal won’t go into heat every month. When a female dog goes into heat, she will exhibit signs of excessive licking, swollen vulva and bloody discharge. When a female cat goes into heat, she will yowl loudly looking for a mate. Ideally your female animal should be spayed before her first heat. For males, neutering will reduce aggressive behavior and spraying (urinating at different spots to mark his territory).
    • Financial benefits: Theoretically, a female dog can have up to three litters per year with an average litter size of seven. That means a female dog and her babies can create 67,000 puppies in just six years (and that’s not their full life span). A cat’s average litter size is five but she can have up to eight in a litter and have up to four litters per year. A female cat can have approximately 100 kittens in her lifetime. One litter of cats in seven years will result in up to 420,000 kittens. Can you afford feed and house 67,000 more puppies in the next six years and 420,000 more kittens in the next seven years? We certainly can’t.
  3. Spay/Neuter FAQ (and these are all real questions we’ve received in the past)
    • Isn’t it cruel to spay/neuter my pet?
      • Animals are driven to mate by their own hormones, not because they have an intellectual understanding of their reproductive rights or because they are making a rational decision to reproduce. In the case of cats, for example, mating is actually incredibly painful for the female cat because male cats have barbs on their reproductive organ. One could argue that it is cruel to let your female cat experience that. Also, kittens born on the streets have an estimated 50/50 chance of surviving kittenhood. Animals born on the streets often die horrific deaths, causes including but not limited to – run over by cars/motorbikes, contagious diseases easily prevented with vaccinations such as the flu, drowning in drains, starvation, exposure, attacks from crows, monitor lizards, feral dogs/cats, human abuse and neglect, dog/cat catchers culling the population. Once they do reach adulthood, their average lifespan is only about 2 years (whereas indoors, cats can live up to 20 years and dogs 15 years). It is less cruel to subject them to spay/neuter than watching kittens/puppies dying on the streets or getting euthanized in shelters due to overcrowding.
    • Isn’t spay/neuter surgery super expensive? I don’t think I can afford it.
      • Male cats can be neutered for as cheaply as RM 100 whereas female cats can be spayed as cheaply as RM 120. Male dogs can be neutered for RM 220 and female dogs can be spayed for RM 290 (but for dogs, their weight is also taken into consideration). It may sound expensive initially but can you then afford to feed 420,000 cats in 7 years and 67,000 dogs in 6 years? Not us!
    • I don’t have a car so how can I get my pet spayed/neutered?
      • Please ask your friend for a ride. Or use Grab. It’s a handy app!
    • How long does it take for my pet to recover?
      • Males will recover as quickly as 2 days. Females may take up to one week.
    • Can’t I just let my pet have babies once or twice before spaying? Puppies/kittens are just so cute!
      • Yes, puppies/kittens are adorable. There are so many waiting for homes in shelters and waiting to be rescued from the streets. Please give them a home instead. There is no reason for you to breed. Also according to the Animal Welfare Act of 2015, it is illegal to breed animals without a license. So no, you shouldn’t let your pet have babies once or twice or ever. Please.
    • Can’t I just let nature run its course?
      • Sure, nature can run its course, but if there are complaints of overpopulation, DBKL has no choice but to act. They will come and catch strays and put them in the pound, where they are euthanized after 2 weeks if no one comes to get them. That’s not nature running its course, but instead there is already heavy human intervention. It’s better for us to be responsible humans and prevent the unnecessary killings of innocent strays.
    • Doesn’t my pet want the experience of falling in love, getting married and having babies?
      • No, she really doesn’t. Animals 100% have emotions that we should respect, but this is an example of projecting human emotions/concepts to an animal. Your pet doesn’t know what it means to fall in love or get married or have babies. When it comes to mating, hormones are guiding their actions, not intellectual decision after careful, rational thought. Your projection of human emotions to your pet is not a reason for you to illegally breed and add to the overpopulation issue. If you want more babies and you are ready for the time/financial commitment for her entire natural life, please adopt them from shelters, rescuers, or the streets.