Are you a cat or a dog person?
Most people have an immediate answer, and can list the reasons why. Dogs are loyal, give unconditional love, are fiercely protective, can understand and connect with us on a deep level, and get us off the couch and outdoors. Cats are intelligent, mysterious, low maintenance, independent yet extremely affectionate, and their unique purr is deeply comforting.
Researchers have said there is proof that living with both dogs and cats improves our health. You’ve probably heard that having a pet can lower blood pressure, relieve anxiety and loneliness, and can even help strengthen children’s immunity systems. Some people find walking a dog can be a great way to meet neighbors and make friends. Whatever the reason, your pets enrich your life as only they can. When your pup brings his leash to you with a wagging tail, hides your shoes, opens closed doors, or just gives you that goofy, tongue-out smile – that is something only he can give you. When your kitty skitters across the floor after a ball, squishes herself into a tiny box, or crawls in your lap with a head-boop and a loud purr, that is all part of the special connection you have with her.
To give your best friends back the love they give you is easy: lots of play time, hugs, head and tummy scratches, and most importantly, taking care of their health. Food and fresh water are the basics, but your pets also need protection from fleas, tics and worms, basic vaccinations, and an annual checkup.
Spay/Neuter = Love
An essential part of your pets’ health care is to spay (female) or neuter (males) them.. It is a simple, quick surgery that prevents them from having litters of puppies or kittens. Unplanned litters are a fact of life when your pets aren’t “fixed,” and as adorable as they are, unwanted puppies and kittens are a stressful responsibility that often leads to homeless animals who give birth to more animals, filling the shelters.
If you are lucky enough to avoid unwanted puppies and kittens, spaying or neutering is still a very important part of caring for your best friends; it decreases the risk of reproductive infections and tumors in females and testicular cancer and prostate problems in males. It can help extend their lives, and lessen the heat cycles, spraying, howling, wandering, and fighting. And it is a myth that your dog or cat will be more sociable if they are allowed to have a litter. It is also untrue that spaying your girl will cause her to gain weight and get lazy.
Although pets can get pregnant throughout the year, spring is when new litters begin to arrive in earnest. Everything in spring that was dormant comes back to life – the trees bud and flowers rise from the ground and explode into blossoms. So does the number of kittens. The warm temperatures usher in what is known as “kitten season,” which generally begins in March and ends in October, but can last longer depending on the length of warm weather in your area. Cats are extremely fertile – female kitties can get pregnant as young as four months, and can become pregnant while still nursing. Because a cat can have around 3 litters in a year, a female can create a staggering amount of cats in her lifetime. In one year, she would have about 16 kittens, and the next year she and her offspring and their kittens would total 66 cats! Unchecked, in five years there would be 12,680 more kitties, and just in that one colony. Most of these end up homeless – the lucky ones that survive are found and fostered by rescue organizations, but those organizations can only take in a tiny portion of homeless animals. The others continue to have more kittens, filling shelters that cannot accommodate them. And it’s not just cats; dogs can also have three litters a year, creating a dynasty over a period of a few short years, although there are generally more roaming cats than dogs.
How can I have my pet spayed or neutered?
It’s very easy and safe to have your female or male pet fixed. Mitchell Veterinary Clinic provides, high quality spay/neuter surgeries that include after surgery pain management and 24 hour observation post surgery. Bookin an appointment is as simple as a phone call. You can set up your spay/neuter by calling 417-876-5717, Monday-Friday, 8:30-5:00.
What should I expect for my pet the day of surgery?
It is important to remove any clay based litter from the litter box for cats 24 hours before their scheduled surgery. Also do not feed your pet any food and limit fluid intake after midnight the day of surgery. Be prepared to drop your pet off at the clinic between 9:00am and 11:00am. This gives the staff and doctors time to thoroughly exam and prepare your pet for their appointed time of surgery.
Is there any way I can help take care of the kitties in my neighborhood?
Outdoor cats that are free-roaming are called community cats. They may be friendly or feral, and can be taken care of by providing food, water and shelter outside. But just like your pets, getting them spayed and neutered keeps them healthy by not having the stress of constantly having and raising kittens. Mitchell Veterinary Clinic will happily spay/neuter any community cat that is brought into the clinic. Those who do so are generously contributing to improving the quality of life for community cats, helping them become good neighbors, and humanely reducing overpopulation. The cost of the surgery is the same and the responsibility of the person who brings the cat to the clinic. The ear is notched so as to identify those animals that have been fixed, kept for observation for one night and then released to the person who brought the cat in for surgery and then released where the animal was initially caught.