Santa Barbara Humane is now offering free feline spay and neuter surgeries, starting today at its campus at 1687 W. Stowell Road, Santa Maria.
The operations, which are made possible by a large donation from ResQCats, are by appointment only. To make an appointment, visit sbhumane.org/clinic or call 805-964-4777, ext. 205
Santa Barbara Humane noted that spay and neuter surgeries are crucial to keeping the feline population under control. An unaltered female cat can give birth to as many as 180 kittens in her lifetime. Those kittens could become part of the 3.2 million cats that enter animal shelters each year, Santa Barbara Humane noted.
For the millions of feral cats who don’t enter a shelter, life on the streets is fraught with dangers ranging from encounters with wildlife to communicable illnesses to the hazards of busy roadways.
Surgical sterilization is not only a safe and humane way to prevent unwanted litters. It also offers significant health benefits to cats. Spaying female cats helps prevent breast and uterine cancer, and neutering male cats helps prevent testicular cancer. Studies have found that spayed female cats live 39% longer than intact female cats, while neutered male cats live 62% longer than intact male cats.
Dr. Katie Marrie, Santa Barbara Humane’s chief veterinary officer, says that surgical sterilization can also help address some common feline behavioral problems.
“In male cats, surgical sterilization helps decrease aggressive behavior and can help prevent certain unwanted behaviors like spraying, fighting, and roaming in search of a mate.”
Dr. Marrie also noted that for female cats, spay surgeries can make a difference that the whole neighborhood can appreciate.
“Anyone who has been around female cats that are in heat can attest to how noisy they can be. Spaying your cat can prevent a whole lot of yowling!”
In 2022, Santa Barbara Humane provided 5,762 spay/neuter surgeries to cats, dogs and rabbits in Santa Barbara County. The surgeries typically cost $100 for female cats and $80 for male cats.