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WHS Education Corner: Raising Smart Future Pet Owners

By: Richard Milbourne, Assistant Manager in Education

Who doesn’t love a kitten? They’re small, cute, curious, mischievous and adorable. There is never any difficulty in finding a home for a kitten that comes into the shelter. Seeing a pile of kittens snuggling together or playing makes them an easy sell. However, when going into schools, it is vital to address the topic of animal overpopulation.

It’s easy to find a home for one or two kittens; Less so for 25 kittens. This is why discussing animal overpopulation and Spay/Neuter surgery with students is so important. Did you know, for example, that two uncontrolled breeding cats create 2 litters per year with a survival rate of 2.8 kittens per litter? After one year that would be 12 cats, after 2 years, that would be 66 cats, after 5 years it could be 12,680 cats and after 10 years? 80,399,780 cats. The population of Canada is only 36,000,000! That’s more than 2 cats per person in just ten years! A scary thought indeed!

When visiting students, we discuss what a Spay/Neuter surgery is. We walk through, step by step, each part of the procedure from the anesthesia all the way through to the recovery. There are pictures accompanying each step. Students always have lots of questions about what is going on and are fascinated by the ‘behind the scenes’ look at the work we do to help control the animal population of Winnipeg. We then play a game using cubes (which represent kittens) and try to find homes for them. Its amazing how quickly the ‘homes’ fill up and how many spare kittens we have without homes! The visual presentation and the practical activity really hit home the lesson for the students.

There will always be kittens and puppies. There will always be owners who make the choice not to have their animals spayed or neutered; but through education we can give information to the next generation of pet owners who will then be informed when it is their decision to make. If you are interested in having the Winnipeg Humane Society visit your school, call 204-982-2046 or email education@winnipeghumanesociety.ca to find out more.