We get by with a little help from our friends.
The Beatles really had it right here. What I’ve learned in my years of cat ownership and fostering is that spay and neuter are very expensive. Vet care in Canada is prohibitively expensive. People are having to make some really tough decisions about their companion animals when their finances are tight. And we can’t expect everyone out there to be educated about or attuned to the cycle of homelessness, hopelessness and suffering associated with the pet over-population. I recognize and salute my readers for being the vanguard of this type of knowledge.
Facts (from the OSPCA)
- The pet overpopulation crisis is a direct result of animals left unaltered
- Local cat rescue organizations estimate that the number of homeless cats living in the streets of Toronto to be close to half a million
- Thousands of homeless animals across the province end up in shelters
- Spaying and neutering is a straight-forward medical procedure with many health benefits, including the reduction in the risk of developing certain cancers and illnesses
- Clinics utilizing this spay/neuter model in the US have reduced shelter admissions and euthanasia by up to 70%!
- Data collected at our clinics shows that >50% of spay/neuter clients have no previous relationship with a veterinarian
You could say that you should not adopt an animal if you can’t afford the vet care… but when there is loss of income, there are challenging financial times, and there are hundreds of thousands of homeless animals who need some sort of home, shouldn’t we be inclusive? Seniors, young people starting out, families with children… often these are wonderful homes with love and care but not necessarily the kind of money needed for current vet costs.
When I got my first cat spayed, it cost over $200CND (and that was nearly 2 decades ago!). I had student loans, rent, 2 poorly paying jobs, and this cost was genuinely a burden. However, I knew health-wise it was best to get her fixed before she ever went into heat and so I did it.
Recently I was looking into fostering with an impoverished rescue. The cat they wanted to me to foster had been with them for a year… but had never been fixed because they simply didn’t have the money. They adopt out unfixed cats because they can’t afford to fix them. My fear is that when someone adopts the kitty, they too won’t have the money. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this would contribute to the overpopulation and suffering. And yet, this rescue operates in low-income and needy urban areas and has animals dropped off all the time. Their backs are to the wall: what can they do?
The rescues I’ve fostered for fix all kitties over 6 months of age before adoptions. They must fund raise to be able to do this. Every cat they adopt out loses them money due to the shots, s’neuter, and de-worming. Yet they do it because they know it’s right for the kitties. One rescue even does juvenile spay-neuter –and after reading a ton about it and watching how fast the little munchkins bounced back after the op, I have to say I’m now a proponent.
These rescues are friends to cats. I will support this type of work – and urge you to as well. But sometimes we all need a little help from our friends to get by. So in that spirit, here are some great low-cost, high-volume, spay and neuter facilities. I commend them for what they are doing to address the problem … and know that we need more of them!
This will not be a complete list for Ontario and I won’t be able to keep it updated regularly, but I know this can help at least a few people out there. Please feel free to pass this info on… help those in need and by extension, all the homeless animals out there.
Greater Toronto Area:
- Newmarket: OSPCA
- Toronto East: Brimley-Lawrence Animal Clinic
- Toronto Animal Services: Toronto Residents Only
- Toronto Humane Society: Spay Neuter Clinic & Fee Schedule
St Catherines: OSPCA
North Bay: OSPCA
OSPCA Fee Schedule – By appointment only and there will likely be a waiting list… it’s worth it for the prices
If you know of more, feel free to add them in a comment.