Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | February 25, 2009

Unaltered Cat Stats

Shadow talks Cat Stats

Shadow talks Cat Stats

Dear Pet Column,


I recently read a statistic from an article promoting the spay/neuter philosophy that left me awestruck and wondering if it is true.  The statement was that one unaltered cat could yield 420,000 cats in seven years based on the average cat having a litter of 6 every year and each cat from that litter producing the same, etc.  Have you come across this statistic and what do you make of it

Sincerely, Cat Quotient Conundrum

Wow, Cat Quotient Conundrum, now that’s a lot of cats!!!  It makes one wonder how many shelters it would take to home the offspring of 10 unaltered cats over the period of seven years???  Yes, I have heard this statistic being kicked about and, although it sounds rather daunting and would hopefully have folks running to the vet office with their unaltered cats in tow, I have to concede that the numbers are not based upon reality. 

For instance such calculations erroneously assume that every cat born into a litter lives for seven plus years.  The numbers also require that every kitten born to the original cat (and subsequent litters) are female and remain unaltered. 

So I did some research and found that five math professors at the University of Washington sat down with the calculator to determine a more accurate figure using more “reality-based” variables.  The resulting number totaled between 100 and 400 cats originating from one unaltered female cat in a seven-year period. 

This sum is a bit of a deviation from 420,000, but still a substantial number – again – when you think about the amount of animal shelter space that would be required to care for this number of cats.  I would hope this revised number would still have folks running to the vet.  To put it into perspective, there are about 30 homeless cats at the Second Chance shelter right now and trust me – that requires a substantial amount of food and kitty litter to keep us happy. 

Unless you are a math geek (which I happen to be) the most you need to know regarding offspring numbers of unaltered cats is: it is too many – spay/neuter your cats!  Be a responsible pet owner and contribute toward the solution and not the problem.

My name is Shadow and I am a shelter cat here at Second Chance waiting for my second chance at a forever loving home.  Thus, if you have been considering adding a furry purry bundle of love to your family, now is a great time to do it.  You can see me on the SCHS website (below) but I would prefer you come in person so that I can meow and purr my way into your heart – yeah, I am that endearing…

Life is Short, Adopt a Cat.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online:  Questions for next week’s column can be sent to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.


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