Will Cats Become Extinct If We Spay/neuter All Of Them? [Answered]

Could spaying and neutering all cats truly push them to extinction? Before you worry, let us reassure you - our organization stands firmly behind the necessity and importance of spaying and neutering. We believe it to be a vital part of responsible cat care, and in this article, we'll explore why.

Join us as we reveal the astonishing figures behind the global cat population and learn about the incredibly fast pace at which they reproduce. We'll also shed light on the cat overpopulation crisis, demonstrating why spaying and neutering play such an essential role in its resolution.

But the story isn't all doom and gloom. We'll highlight the remarkable resilience of our favorite four-legged friends and explore the impact of extensive spaying and neutering, leading us to a surprising and heartening conclusion.

So, sit tight and embark on this journey with us. Through the numbers, facts, and realities of the situation, we aim to solidify your understanding of why spaying and neutering are indispensable in our efforts to ensure a better future for all cats.

Taking Responsibility: The Importance of Spaying and Neutering Cats

As cat lovers, we take joy in their quirks, their purrs, and their companionship. We all appreciate the mischief and wonder that kittens bring. Yet, there's a responsibility that comes with that love. We support and endorse spaying and neutering, including TNR (trap-neuter-release) programs for cats without homes.

Surely, a world without cats and kittens would be unthinkable! Yet, some might wonder, could wide-scale spaying and neutering lead us there?

Is Cat Extinction Possible? A Look at the Numbers

When we encounter posts about proud owners celebrating their pet cat's newborn kittens, we often cringe. Not because kittens aren't adorable - they certainly are! - but because of the deeper implications. These well-meaning actions could potentially contribute to a larger problem. But could it really lead to a cat-less world?

Before we jump to conclusions, it's time we delve into the data. Let's get our heads around the numbers and explore the real impact of spaying and neutering. What does it mean for our beloved cats, and what does it mean for their future? Stay tuned as we demystify these questions.

Counting Cats: The Global Cat Population

The Cat Population in the USA

Do you know how many cats call the USA home? Let's look at the numbers. Experts believe about 90 million pet cats live here. But they aren't alone. An estimated 50-70 million cats live on the streets. In total, that's a staggering 150 million cats in the US!

Cat Numbers Worldwide

The cat population issue isn't just a US problem. For instance, Australia houses 2.7 million pet cats. But the number of stray cats? An astonishing 18 million.

Moving to Europe, we see a similar trend. The IFHA (the International Federation for Animal Health) counts 66 million pet cats. And in warmer European countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain, there's a significant population of cats living outdoors.

So, how many cats are there in the world today? Though it's tough to pin down an exact number, estimates indicate at least half a billion. Yes, you read that right. Half a billion cats!

This multitude of cats underscores the critical need for spaying and neutering. Stay with us as we unpack the reasons and explore what you can do to help.


will cats become extinct

Understanding Cat Reproduction Rates

The Rapid Pace of Cat Reproduction

Let's discuss the speed of cat reproduction. Consider a hypothetical scenario. Say cats are on the brink of extinction. Only 1% of the estimated 500 million global cat population remains. That's 50,000 cats or 25,000 breeding pairs.

A female cat can start breeding at just 4-6 months old. Typically, she'll have two litters a year, with each litter having 2-5 kittens. Not every kitten survives, but a well-nurtured female cat can rear at least six kittens per year.

A pair of cats can produce more than 2 million cats in 8 years!

In other words, a single pair of cats could produce more than 2 million offspring in 8 years. It's a staggering figure, but it's based on simple math. According to SpayUSA, even with a 99% reduction, 25,000 breeding pairs could repopulate the world to current levels within a few years.

The Impact of Spaying and Neutering

As long as humans inhabit the earth, cats will be part of our world. Spaying and neutering won't change that. Even if we could neuter 99% of all cats worldwide, cats are prolific enough to recover quickly.

But are we close to achieving this 99% goal? Unfortunately, no. In the US, 91% of pet cats are spayed or neutered. That's promising, but only 10% of stray cats entering shelters are neutered. That leaves millions of unneutered cats, just in the US.

The Overpopulation Issue

Consider the implications of these rapid reproduction rates. Each year, tens, if not hundreds of millions of kittens are born in the US. In comparison, we welcome only about 100,000 new human babies per year. There simply aren't enough suitable homes for the number of kittens born.

1.2 million cats and kittens are euthanized in the US every year.

So, what happens to these cats? The fortunate ones find homes. Some 3.4 million cats end up in shelters annually, of which 1.3 million are adopted. Tragically, 1.2 million cats are euthanized each year in the US alone.

These numbers don't even account for the countless cats dying on the streets from hunger, disease, extreme weather, predators, traffic accidents, and human cruelty.

The need for responsible cat population control is urgent. Spaying and neutering are not just recommended—they are crucial steps in preventing cat overpopulation. Let's all play our part.

will cats become extinct

The Crucial Need for Action

Act Responsibly

The message is clear and simple.

Spay and neuter your cats. No exceptions.

Feeding a cat brings along the responsibility of ensuring that it is neutered. Refuse to contribute to the overpopulation crisis.

Practice responsible ownership by preventing your cats from bringing more kittens into the world. It's a vital step we can take to halt this overwhelming tide of suffering.

Our Cats are Not at Risk of Extinction

And let's dismiss the notion of cats facing extinction. If you know someone who can provide a good home for a cat, they'll have plenty of choices.

If you ever hear of someone unable to find a cat to adopt, do inform us. Until then, commit to spaying and neutering your cats. Failing to do so makes one a part of the problem, contributing to the suffering and demise of countless cats.

Ending Note

In conclusion, spaying and neutering are not options but necessities. They're crucial steps towards managing the cat population responsibly and reducing the needless suffering of millions of cats.

So, let's all play our part diligently and compassionately.


Further reading: spay-and-neuter

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18 comments on “Will Cats Become Extinct If We Spay/neuter All Of Them? [Answered]

IsMeHi March 24, 2023
Hey guys
Anne Jones December 12, 2020
Totally against spaying pet cats without letting them having at least one or two litters and giving the kittens for adoption. Otherwise, sooner or later cats will become extinct and/or a luxury product. Neutering feral cats is totally out of the question. That would lead to cats mass extinction and an uncontrolled increase in the rat population.
    Lucia Flamini January 17, 2021
    are you serious? please educate yourself by reading from routable sources of information before writing such nonsense
      Mansour March 23, 2021
      You are the one that should educate yourself, spaying strays is a good idea, I feel like getting a feline cat a partner is a better idea tbh
    Mansour March 23, 2021
    Totally agree 7 billion people in the world we can just find a cat a partner then give them away Neutering cats is a good idea neutering all of them is crazy and dangerous
Tammy July 20, 2020
Agreed but shelters are too uptight about adopting out pets. I saw a certain cat on a website for over a year, when I asked if the fee could be reduced from $200, they said no. A local shelter refused to allow me to adopt a cat because I was honest enought to admit to having to surrender a cat (to a friend) in the past. If shelters would lighten up a bit, there wouldn't be such a problem with over crowding and these animals could find homes.
catspaw66 June 4, 2019
Galixy said:
Spaying is cruel but sometimes you have to do it but how bout you get spayed or neutered and see how it feels
NOT spaying is the cruel act.
lilin September 14, 2017
JustAMaleThatLovesCats said:
Should I spay/neuter an indoor cat?
Yes, for two reasons. One is that inact middle aged cats have enormously high rates of reproductive cancer and infected uteruses. In the wild, they'd never live more than 7 or 8 years, but our indoor kitties live twice that long. So, their bodies don't really account for this extra lifespan, and their reproductive organs break down and become very troublesome and unhealthy in what we consider middle age. Secondly, intact cats are miserable when they're in heat and you keep them from mating. Females will cry and scream, throw themselves at your door, etc. Males will mark everything, attack other cats, etc. It makes them crazy to be stopped from doing their mating thing, and it'll make you crazy too. Neutering solves both of these problems.
tarasgirl06 August 25, 2017
rascalshadownj2 said:
I'm all for spaying and neutering cats And dogs. This was a good article! I think everyone should read this. I agree about  what they said about cats Not becoming extinct. I don't think there would be any possibility of cats becoming extinct. There will always be a few cats that will be around to breed more cats. Same with all animals who have large litters, like rabbits, and other rodents. Considering there are millions not to mention Billions of cats, it would be impossible to spay and neuter that many cats. Thanks for posting this article. :-)
As long as cats are purpose-bred by those who think, for whatever reason, that this is a good thing to do to maintain "breed standards", there will absolutely be cats. And wouldn't it be amazing if all cats were as sought after and treasured as "purebred" cats?
JustAMaleThatLovesCats August 25, 2017
Should I spay/neuter an indoor cat?
tarasgirl06 June 25, 2017
HUGE PROPS for this article, which I wish everyone would read and take to heart. It eloquently states what I have spent most of my adult life advocating for, for the reasons listed in the article. PLEASE. PEOPLE. NO EXCEPTIONS. SPAY & NEUTER. For CATS' sake. And isn't CATS why we're all here? While ONE cat loses his or her life because there is no loving permanent home for him or her, my heart breaks, and I am far from alone in this. PLEASE. PUT CATS FIRST.
Anne August 23, 2016
@Zelskid There's a link there to the SpayUSA brochure that explains the maths. Exponential growth is a formidable thing. Of course, in reality, most of the cats die and don't keep on reproducing. These cruel deaths are what we need to prevent by spaying and neutering.
kittens mom August 19, 2016
S/N is the best option for almost all pet owners. True breeders produce for a waiting list and are seldom advertising anything but their cattery.  The cat population needs to drop and when if it ever reaches a point where cats truly declining in population numbers healthy cats with good genetics can be selected to breed. The massive feral population is a man made disaster. Right now the focus should be on population control. This isn't about eradication.
tarasgirl06 August 15, 2016
You are so correct.  No excuse could possibly negate the suffering and death of millions of sweet cats annually.  It is the caring thing to do to spay and neuter (just as it is to forego adding to the human overpopulation crisis; with close to 7 1/2 BILLION people crowding our earth, driving species to extinction, polluting all infrastructure, and consuming finite resources like there's no tomorrow, it is the responsible and caring thing to do to realize that no one is so amazing that their progeny must be born! and that, if you care at all about animals, humans including the children already here, the planet and/or even just yourself, you'll make the caring decision not to add to the misery.  If you absolutely must procreate, please keep it down to 1 or at most, 2.  Thank you.)
catluvr321 August 11, 2016
Go spraying and neuturing!
rascalshadownj2 August 10, 2016
Hey foxxycat, Just saw your comment. I agree. That's a good point about using those birth control medicines for female cats. That would be cheaper than the operation itself. To spay a female costs more than neutering the male. The females have more reproductive organs to remove than the males. It's a more involved operation. But vets do it all the time. I think another thing that would help with people who can't afford to have their pets spayed or neutered, would be if once a year, all the vets have a free spay and neuter day and promote it on TV, in the paper, social media, etc. Then maybe more people would bring their pets in and get them fixed. I also agree that if all these people have money for gas for their fancy cars, IPhones, IPods, laptops, etc. then they can get their pets spayed and neutered. It's all about being Responsible! You're right. There are always Irresponsible people in the world. Just like you said, look at all the young teenage girls who get pregnant out of wedlock and have to go on welfare to help take care of their children despite the fact that they have access to birth control pills. It's really crazy! Not to mention, they are always telling young people Not to get pregnant, until you can afford to take care of your babies. But they get pregnant anyway. So much for being responsible. Duh! If you have cats and dogs (and by the way, dogs have larger litters than cats, they have 12 to 16 puppies a month.) and they haven't been spayed or neutered, keep them indoors or in a pen until you can save up enough money to get them fixed. Don't let them run all over the neighborhood getting pregnant, or getting other female cats and dogs pregnant. You're right too, that it's sad that not all shelters are No Kill shelters. Many animals get euthanized all the time. Personally I think all shelters could be No Kill. I read where a shelter in Florida upgraded their shelter, and became a No Kill shelter, and it became more popular, and they had better living spaces for their animals. It was a nice shelter. Maybe some day all shelters will be No Kill. That would be nice.  And you're right about being a foster parent. That helps shelters a lot too. But mostly it's all about people being More Responsible! That will help a great deal! Please Be More Responsible!
foxxycat August 10, 2016
I too wondered about this. If we fix em all we will not have any-BUT that was until I spent days on Facebook looking over all the ads for people needing homes for all the unwanted born animals that could have been spayed. My heart aches for the 12 oclock noontime when I know NYC puts to sleep those on the deathrow list. Every night a list of cats gets sent out. some nights there are over 30 cats. THIRTY CATS IN ONE DAY PTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   That's just cruel and not right. So yes I agree spueter them all. We will always have irresponsible pet parents just as we have irresponsible teenagers and young adults getting pregnant despite widespread access to birthcontrol.   did you know they do have birthcontrol for cats? Its got a mixed view but the way I look at it=if you don't have access to reduced cost spay then this medicine you would need to give I believe is daily or once a week could help stop more kittens from being born until you save money to spay.   I know this will make some folks angry but seriously=if you have money for gas in your car to get to work and lunch money for school lunches vs making sandwiches-then you can save the money to fix your cats. Kittens are expensive. Dieing kittens will be very traumatizing for your kids to watch. So save your kids from seeing the kittens die from illnesses as we know there are often kittens who wont make it. I only hope this helps people reach out to others asking for help and info to get their females spayed and males neutered. We don't need more animals in this world.   We have shelters putting x amount to sleep every day at noontime. It has got to be hard on the workers to do this. But what can we do? no fosters. No money for food. no money to pay for vet care for the illnesses that often plague the kittens and cats. The only humane thing is euthanasia. But after awhile this takes a toll on our animal lovers souls. We can only deal with so much death.   please SPAY! PLEASE FOSTER! PLEASE END THIS! 
rascalshadownj2 August 10, 2016
I'm all for spaying and neutering cats And dogs. This was a good article! I think everyone should read this. I agree about  what they said about cats Not becoming extinct. I don't think there would be any possibility of cats becoming extinct. There will always be a few cats that will be around to breed more cats. Same with all animals who have large litters, like rabbits, and other rodents. Considering there are millions not to mention Billions of cats, it would be impossible to spay and neuter that many cats. Thanks for posting this article. :-)

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