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Most US cats neutered, study says

In Animal News on May 27, 2009 at 8:15 pm

A recent study conducted by the national nonprofit group Alley Cat Allies reveals that the majority of household cats in the US are neutered. The study, “Population Characteristics and Neuter Status of Cats Living in Households in the United States,” is published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association.

Consisting of 1205 random respondents across the country, this is the first nationally representative study to analyze the relation of household income to the neuter status of pet cats. The income benchmark included in the study was $35,000, and the findings indicate that family income is the most significant predictor of whether household pet cats are neutered.

More than 90% of cats in households earning $35,000 and more per year are neutered, while just 51% of cats in households earning less than $35,000 are neutered. Regardless of that disparity, an overall average of 80% of household cats in the US are neutered.

These neuter rates demonstrate a very positive finding: neutering is an accepted, common practice among the large majority of Americans with felines in the family. In turn, these cats are leading healthier lives.

On the other hand, it is imperative to consider the fact that pet cats only represent a portion of the US cat population. Stray and feral cats are more likely to be intact and breeding, and scientists estimate that there may be just as many of these cats as there are pet cats. Research indicates that less than 3% of stray and feral cats are neutered.

This study highlights the need to expand the accessibility of low-cost, high-volume neuter programs to increase the proportion of neutered cats and to improve cats’ quality of life in the US.

For more information, visit AlleyCat.org. —Christina Cottini

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