The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reports that just one pregnant, female cat and her offspring can produce up to 420,000 additional kittens in a seven year time frame. To make matters worse, many scientists believe that there may be just as many cats living on the streets as there are in American homes. The explosion of the cat population has led rescue groups and other animal advocates to search out advanced forms of birth control that can be offered along with the existing contraception methods that are already offered for felines.
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An ovariohysterectomy (OHE) is also known as a "spay," and entails the complete surgical removal of the female cat's reproductive organs. According to Pet Education.com, the removal of the reproductive organs prevents pregnancy and also inhibits the female cat's heat cycle. Ovariohysterectomies are performed in the veterinarian's office and do not require an overnight stay.
Vasectomy is a form of male birth control that can help to reduce rising numbers in the cat community. In the book "A Complete Guide to Understanding & Caring for Your Cat" author Carole C. Wilbourn explains that a feline vasectomy involves severing the vas deferens, which is responsible for carrying semen from the testicles. Although this surgical procedure is efficient in preventing pregnancy, it does not suppress the male cat's urge to mark his territory by spraying. A vasectomy is performed by a veterinarian and does not require and overnight stay.
Neutering is another form of male birth control but instead of severing the vas deferens, the testicles are removed. This surgical procedure is also referred to as castration and is performed in the veterinarian's office. The Mar Vista Animal Medical Center of Los Angeles, California reveals that not only is neutering successful in preventing pregnancy, it also curbs other bad behaviours like spraying, fighting and roaming by approximately 90 per cent.
It is important to keep in mind that although birth control methods serve the purposes of reducing pregnancy and lowering the cat population, they do not prevent the spread of feline disease. These diseases can still be transmitted from cat to cat even if they have been surgically altered. Therefore, they should still be prohibited from having free roam of the neighbourhood. According to Best Friends Animal Society, FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) is much like the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) in that it compromises the immune system. FIV can spread through a cat community and is transmitted through saliva.
A new form of contraception to aid in controlling the cat population is on the horizon. According to Science Daily, Texas A&M University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is in the process of developing a birth control pill for use on animals. The active ingredient that is being tested for such a pill is known as phosphodiesterase 3 inhibitor. The feline birth control pill is expected to stop reproductive eggs from reaching maturity.
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