Photo courtesy of http://catsherdyou.com/world-spay-day-2016/

Article by Open Paws Saudi Arabia 

 

Veterinary professionals in developed countries are practically unanimous in their advice to neuter pets. Not only are there advantages to the animals’ health, but accidental breeding and uncontrolled breeding are the route causes of animal overpopulation and the many unwanted pets.

Here the idea of neutering is not so common and some people have not been given the right information to make an informed decision for their animals. Please take the time to read this page then you can make the best choice for your pet.

I’m Fixed!

Respect for Animals in Islam

Some people believe it is mukruh (reprehensible) or even haram (forbidden) to neuter cats.
One of the main reasons for this is that Islam prohibits the harming of animals. There are many hadeeth that express the need to care for animals, and not cause them harm, for example;

Ibn Umar narrated the Prophet (pbuh) said:
“A woman entered Hell because of a cat which she tied up and did not feed, nor did she allow it to eat of the vermin of the earth.” [i.e. mice, etc]
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3140; Muslim, 2242).

And it was narrated from Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah that
A donkey whose face had been branded, passed by the Prophet (pbuh), and he said,
“May Allah curse the one who branded it.”
(Reported by Muslim)

The Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) repeatedly forbade cruelty to animals, saying in the Hadith popular tradition, “Whoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to himself.” So we should show mercy and compassion toward all living things. We should always treat animals with respect and kindness, not harm them or cause unnecessary suffering.

Even the slaughter of an animal must be humane, as the Prophet (pbuh) said,
‘… when you slaughter, you should slaughter well. Sharpen your knife and give relief to your slaughtered animal’. (Sunan Abu Dawud).

The neutering of animals – as with any operation or treatment – should also be done with compassion. Neutering is mentioned by the scholars, although they do differ somewhat in their opinions.

The Hanafis said that there is nothing wrong with neutering animals, because that benefits both the animals and humans.
The Maalikis said that it is permissible to neuter animals whose meat may be eaten, (and the Hanbalis agreed that sheep can be neutered too) and it is not makruh, because that makes the meat better.
And we agree with the Shaafa’is agree that it is better to neuter an animal when it is young and that it should not cause the animal undue suffering or death.

Of course in the days of the Phophet and the later scholars of Islam, people did not even have access to medicians for animals. In those days the operation would be more difficult and more painful so it was only advised under circumstances which would benifit the animal and / or people.
And we agree!

I would never recommend neutering a wild song bird – it lives in balance with nature – or a mare horse – such a big operation is not worth any benifit.
But I would recommend neutering a pet cat, dog or rabbit. – why?

There is a comment on neutering cats: ‘If neutering cats will bring some benefit or ward off some harm, then there is nothing wrong with it, as it says in al-Kubra.’ (al-Fawaakih al-Dawaani, 2/346)

In fact there are many benifits to neutering your pets. And it wards off much harm. In addition, we now have very good anaesthetics and pain-killers with modern medician – mashAllah – to make sure the animals do not suffer pain during the proceedure.

Of course some people still say “it is interfering with nature”. Actually we do not recommend trying to change any wild animal and we believe in conserving the natural enviroment. But pet animals no longer live “nautral lives in a natural enviroment”. Neutering actually helps them adjust to the living arrangements we keep them in and allows them to live longer, healthier, more relaxed lives as pets.

Neutering is also the most important step in controlling the pet over population problem. Because animals naturally breed in large numbers – in nature many babies would not survive – neutering is the only compassionate way to control the overpopulation problem we have.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
If there are too many cats and they are a nuisance, and if the operation will not harm them, then there is nothing wrong with it, because this is better than killing them after they have been created…
Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/448

Pet population Control

There is a real problem of too many un-wanted and stray animals in Riyadh – especially cats. Most people don’t seem to realise that allowing you pet to breed continuously and raising all the offspring – is UNatural. In nature cats only live about 3 years and most of the kittens die. There are diseases and preditors which hunt them so the high breeding rate balances the high death rates. Domestic cats retain their ability to reproduce in large numbers but now they live with us, are protected from starvation, disease, exposure of hunters, their survival rates – and life expectancy – massively increase.

Most countries have a problem of pet overpopulation.
The USA, for example, even with animal shelters and humane societies, euthaniases over 4 million cats and dogs a year! (read more here)
In KSA, no statistics track the thousands of unwanted animals and no shelters are available for them.
Extrapolating from shelters and charity data from the surrounding countries in the region, and from our own experience working in the kingdom, the problem is massive – even it most people never notice.

Cats and dogs breed at expotential rates.
For example, a female cat can produce
(on average) 4.8 kittens, twice a year.
If half of those are also female and survive to breed…
How many cats do you have
after just 2 years? ……………      – over 100 cats!!

You can say that your house cat would not be breeding so much compared to an outside cat, but even then, the population can expand very rapidly.

It’s a statistical FACT:
there are NOT enough homes for all of them.

There are no medical or psychological advantages for you pet to breed more pets.
Don’t be part of the pet overpopulation problem when you could help with the solution.

Common questions and answers about neutering pets?

What’s neutering? And what’s involved?
To neuter or de-sex an animal, a veterinarian removes certain reproductive organs. If your cat is female, the veterinarian will remove her ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. The proper name for this operation is an ovario-hysterectomy, although it is commonly called “spaying.” The testicles are removed from a male animal. This operation is properly called an orchiectomy, although it is usually referred to as castration, or simply “neutering.” The operation is usually short and quick, just a few minutes. Veterinarians often keep the pet for the day to make sure it recovers correctly from the anaesthetic. Sometimes there is a check-up, a few days after the operation, but your vet can give you all the details.

Is the operation painful?
Spaying and neutering operations are performed painlessly while your pet is under general anaesthesia, just as when people go into hospital for operations. After the surgery there may be some discomfort, but this is part of the normal healing process and can be controlled with medication. In my experience, most cats act as though nothing has happened the very next day!

When should my pet have the operation?
Generally speaking, as early as possible. Most veterinarians recommend that a female be spayed before her first oestrus or “heat” period (around 4-6 months of age). A male dog or a tomcat can be neutered at 6 months to a year old, but there is no harm in treating him earlier. This was also advised by the Shaafa’is scholars. Younger animals tend to recover much faster from the proceedure. Your veterinarian can recommend the best time for your pet.

Is the operation expensive?
Professional fees vary from place to place depending on the economics of different services. Also the size, age, sex and health of your pet will affect the procedure. For example a young male cat is simple, quick and cheap to neuter, but a large female cat is more difficult and requires more equipment, so it will be more costly. Contact the vet clinics directly to check the price and for their clinic details. Remember that surgical neutering is permanent. It’s a life-time investment in your pet’s health that can solve a number of problems for you, your pet, and the community that is already burdened with too many dogs and cats.

What are the alternatives?
The oldest way to prevent mating is to keep your pet confined during its fertile periods. Since pets are capable of mating so much of the time, confinement is not particularly convenient for the owner or the pet and sometimes it’s impossible. It also does nothing to eliminate the other problems with health and behaviour as neutering does. Veterinary medical scientists are working to develop a “pill” or some other convenient method of birth control for pets. But presently the only sure way to keep your pet from mating, if it gets outdoors, is to have it surgically neutered.

The Advantages of Neutering your Pet

They are safer at home
Neutered pets are less likely to run away from home. The drive to look for a mate leads pets to roam, increasing to chance of getting lost and injured in fights or be cars etc or being caught by animal / pest control.

Less injuries from fighting
Spayed and neutered pets are less likely to fight or have aggressive behaviour toward other animals, seen especially in males. Bite and scratch wounds from fighting can cause permanent injury or infections in cats and dogs. Reducing this saves the pet much pain and their owners’ veterinary bills.

Improved behaviour
Spayed and neutered pets are less distracted by sexual instincts and become easier to train. They also tend to be more attentive to their owners and family.
Female cats in heat, yowl and exhibit anxious behaviour that is often annoying to their owners – and neutering eliminates this problem.
Male cats spray urine to mark territory both inside and outside the house. The spray has an obnoxious, unmistakable odour and is unhygienic – neutering eliminates this problem too.

neutering pets improves
behaviour, health & hygiene.

They don’t attract more cats to the area
When in season, female cats attract more male street cats into the compound that are noisy, aggressive and bothersome to other residents and their pets.

Reduced cancer rate and RT diseases
Neutering females significantly reduces breast cancer, eliminates the risk of ovarian tumours, cysts and other abnormalities. It prevents endometrial hyperplasia (abnormal womb changes) and pyometra (a septic, life threatening infection of the womb).

Neutered males are less likely to suffer prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) and have much reduced chance of prostatic infection/abscess or neoplasia (tumour and/or cancer). Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular tumours in males.

Reduction in the spread of disease
Neutering both male and female cats significantly reduces the risk of contracting diseases from infected animals via bite wounds or mating. Sexually transmitted diseases such as feline leukaemia (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV or cat AIDS) are fatal.
In fact neutered pets can live up to twice as long compared to sexually active ones.

As any mother or doctor knows, pregnancy is not without risks itself. Infections, metabolic upsets and the risks of injury especially in a difficult pregnancy are removed. For example, an emergency caesarean section can be risky and expensive.

Avoids the significant psychological stress the mother cat has to go through when her kittens are taken from her to new homes of the pet shop.

Prevention of unwanted/unexpected pregnancy(ultimately contributes exponentially to the pet overpopulation problem).

There is a massive death rate of unwanted and abandoned pets. There is simply no excuse to contribute to this. (learn more here.)

Can you arrange to have my cat neutered?

Absolutely. Neutered cats liver longer, healthier and less stressed lives. Neutering (also called sterilizing or de-sexing) is the most effective and humane way to control the ever expanding cat population. The operation is a simple day procedure and can be done from when they are just 2-3 months old. Our prices are 100SR for girls and 50SR for boys.
askthevet@openpaws.org for an appointment.

up

Top 10 reasons why people don’t their pets.

1. Just one litter won’t hurt.
2. A female dog or cat should have at least one litter for health reasons.
3. But I have a male cat; he won’t leave me with any kittens.
4. We can find “good” homes for the kittens, even sell them to make money.
5. My cat is so cute and unique; there should be more of her.
6. I want my children to witness the miracle of birth.
7. It’s not natural to desex animals.
8. I just couldn’t look my Tom cat in the eye if I had him castrated.
9. If I spay/neuter my pets when they are young, it will stunt their growth.
10. Neutering my pet will change it’s personality and make him fat and lazy.

1. Just one litter won’t hurt.
Studies show that virtually the entire pet overpopulation problem stems from the “just one litter” mentality. Every day, kittens are turned into rescue organisations and pet shops because the owners couldn’t find homes for them.
In developed countries, with animal charities, about 70-80% of unwanted animals are destroyed because there just aren’t enough homes. Here, they die on the streets, in pet shops or in the pest control traps.
Just one litter does hurt – thousands of animals every year. Don’t be part of the problem when you can be part of the solution.
(more excuses)

2. A female dog or cat should have at least one litter for health reasons.
This argument is indefensible – both medically and ethically. There are absolutely no medical advantages to having a litter. While pregnancy is a natural process, it is not without stress and effortand risks to the mother’s own health. For example, much more harm comes from needing an emergency caesarean than choosing to spay before pregnancy. There is also a great deal of physiological stress on the mother when the babies are finally taken away from her. In fact, there are many more advantages to neutering before pets are even sexually mature.
(more excuses)

3. But I have a male cat – he won’t leave me with any kittens.
That’s just irresponsible. Since he is likely to leave them with someone else, you’re just leaving the problem in someone else’s home. Besides that, when he prowls for mates, he is more likely to suffer injuries and the risk of getting lost. As an entire Tom cat he is in the highest risk group, for getting and spreading FIV (Feline AIDs virus), and other diseases.
(more excuses)

4. Because the mother cat is so special, we can find “good” homes for the kittens,
we could even sell them to make money.

You may have one or two friends who mentioned they’d like a kitten – what will you do if your mother cat produces 7 babies? Take the left-overs to the pet shop? What about all the kittens and cats already there hoping for good homes, do you want to take their chance away? As for selling them to make money, the cost of raising a litter (if it’s done properly) includes vaccinations, wormings, veterinary fees, and feeding a quality food, which consumes most of the “profit”. Besides, there is a huge amount of time involved. Last but not least, Islam does not permit selling your kittens. Read the Hadeeth about it here
(more excuses)

5. My cat is so cute and unique; there should be more of her.
People often think their pet is the best in the world. That’s great! But what makes you think her kittens will be the same? Do you even know the father – or were you going to let her risk mating with a street cat Tom?
(more excuses)

6. I want my children to witness the miracle of birth.
Hmmm… are you also going to take your children to the vet clinic or pest control company so they can witness the tragedy of death? Believe me, from my personal experience as a veterinarian, few things upset me more than the need to fill rubbish bags full of diseased, neglected and unwanted animals.PLEASE don’t be a part of the problem when you can be part of the solution.
(more excuses)

7. It’s not natural to neuter animals.
Street cats are not naturally occurring wild animals like sparrows or lizards. There hasn’t been anything “natural” about these cats since we domesticated them and began to develop breeds, thousands of years ago. There is nothing “natural” about the streets and cities they live in or the food the steal from rubbish bins. There is nothing “natural” about the Pest Control company that comes every month, traps them, kills them or dumps them in the desert. This is often just a lazy excuse, used when people don’t want to take responsibility for the animals in our care. And we have a responsibility to care for the animals and the health of our community.
However, some people believe it is makruh (reprehensible), to neuter animals for religious reasons.
This is debatable even within Islam. Here is what we’ve researched on this topic.
(more excuses)

8. I just couldn’t look my Tom cat in the eye if I had him castrated.
You’re anthropomorphizing (i.e. giving the animal, human feelings). Your cat doesn’t have a sense of gender in the way that humans do. He / she will not know that you have removed their sexual organs. I’ve heard people say if you neuter Tom cats, the hormones will go to their heads and drive them mad. Actually neutering removes the hormones and reduces sexual tension between the animals. Other say the females will be lonely without children. Realistically, female cats (queens) leave their babies as soon as it’s time to get pregnant again – or a Tom cat drives them off. The fact is, neutered animals live more relaxed, community orientated lives without the pressures of constant reproduction.
(more excuses)

9. Early spay/neuter will stunt my pet’s growth.
No. Your puppy / kitten will develop normally. In fact, young animals also tend to recover from surgery more rapidly than older animals. Female cats look identical whether neutered or not. Male cats neutered at a young age will avoid “tomcat jowls” and the undesirable behaviours associated with intact males, like spraying urine and fighting.
(more excuses)

10. Neutering my pet will change its personality and make him / her fat and lazy.
Historically, pets have been spayed / neutered around the time of puberty (5-8 months of age). Natural changes in the pet’s behaviour often occur around this time too. Many animals (including people!) become less playful as they mature. Because spay / neutering only affects sexually dimorphic behaviours, and does not affect learning, it will not impair an animal’s ability to, hunt, play, etc. Animals actually may be better able to focus on their task, since they will be less distracted by other dogs and cats. In addition, they will not be subject to the “emotional” effects of hormonal fluctuations. Spayed / neutered animals are three times less likely to develop behaviour problems compared to intact animals. (Beaver, A Guide for Veterinarians. WB Saunders. 1999 p208). They will be less likely to wander and pick fights and much less likely to mark their territory by urine sprays.

The primary influence on an animal’s personality is the care with which it was raised.
As for getting fat, the number one cause is a simple imbalance between diet and exercise!

What’s your excuse now?

 

Source:  http://www.openpaws.org/neuter.html#why