Cats are the first companion animals in France but also the most abandoned animal. They are often not neutered and proliferate in the streets. This is why the SPA, one of the most important Animal Protection Association in France has launched this week an Awareness campaign on Cat neutering and Cat responsible ownership.
The cat population is estimated at 13 million. "Since there are more cats than dogs, we welcome more cats in our shelters, but the abandonment of cats is peculiar, it is linked to the reproduction that occurs mainly during the spring. Not neutered, the so-called stray or feral cats give birth to litters of kittens ", explains Natacha Harry, volunteer president of the SPA.
A pair of cats may have several litters per year and up to 20,000 offspring in 4 years, hence the "interest in controlling this feline reproduction, source of suffering and abandonments that only sterilization can stop "she says.
To fight against these issues and promote cat neutering, the SPA has launched a website, Protéger les Chats which aims to fight stereotypes about neutering. "It is a nonsense to believe that a cat should have at least one litter in her life," says veterinarian Natacha Harry.
The SPA recalls that stray and feral cats usually live short lifes of neglect and suffering and usually die of diseases, predators, car accidents , hunger, poisoning or end up to be killed in the municipal pounds.
"The shelter is an unusual environment for the cat that causes stress due to the community and the separation of its master or territory.This stress can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of disease." she explains. At the approach of the summer holidays, Natacha Harry launches on this occasion a call for adoption. "Between January and April, we recorded less than 10% of adoptions in our refuges which are almost saturated, unprecedented for five years," she worries.
The cost to neuter a cat is between 100 and 200 euros in France. In this country cats identification is mandatory which is key to allow the owners to find their animal in case of loss and avoids the risk of killing in the pounds.