Spay and NeuterAnimal homelessness is a community problem that requires a community solution.  Millions of Hampton Roads budget funds are spent annually to house and care for animals, only to end up killing many healthy and treatable animals.  Spay/neuter programs are one component of a community’s success at saving lives.

Many sheltered animals are the result of unwanted and unplanned litters.

Spay and NeuterBy spaying or neutering your pet, you are doing your part to save animals.  Your pet will not have unplanned puppies or kittens that end up in a shelter – and that means that the animals already waiting for homes will have that much more of a chance to find one.

Did you know that thousands of healthy and treatable cats and dogs enter the doors of Hampton Roads’ shelters annually and are ultimately killed.

Hampton Roads animal shelters’ annual reports can be found online at Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  Go to Virginia annual on line reporting.


Most homeless and/or lost pets in our area are cared for at the following Hampton Roads’ shelters:


Your spayed female dog or cat will no longer go through heat cycles.  Female dogs in heat may be more likely to show aggression to other females.  Female cats in heat will typically “yowl” and urinate frequently.
Neutering your male pet will reduce the breeding instinct and the behavior that goes along with it – spraying or marking territory with urine, aggressive behavior, and the drive to escape from your home and roam.

Animals altered at an early age tend to be more submissive and have a friendlier demeanor.  Male dogs/cats that are neutered are much less likely to roam, mark their territory (and your belongings) with urine, and show aggression. Intact (unneutered) animals may go to great lengths to breed:  escaping yards/fences/enclosures and wandering into unsafe areas.

Spaying your female pet eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer and greatly reduces the incidence of mammary gland tumors.  It is not true that your female cat or dog will benefit from having one litter before she is spayed!  In fact, spaying her before her first heat will reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Spaying your male pet eliminates the possibility of testicular and prostate cancers.
Most cats and dogs are able to reproduce by 6 months of age.  Many veterinarians will spay or neuter an animal as young as two months of age, but as with any surgery, you should consult with your veterinarian to see if your puppy or kitten is old enough and healthy enough to be spayed or neutered.

Spay/neuter can increase a dog’s life by 1-3 years, and 3-5 years for cats.  Animals who have been spayed or neutered have a very low to no risk of mammary gland tumors/cancer, prostate cancer, perianal tumors, pyometria, and uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers.

Some of the myths surrounding spay/neuter include:

  • My pet will become overweight. The spay/neuter procedure has absolutely no effect on body mass fluctuations, or energy levels.
  • It’s better to allow them to have one litter first, or to reach maturity. Medical evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. A feline can have her first litter at 4-5 months of age, while a canine can do so at 5-6 months of age.
  • Altering changes my pet’s personality. An animal’s personality is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.  Your pet will be no less like himself than humans after a sterilization surgery (i.e. vasectomy).
  • I don’t want my male cat/dog to feel less like a male. Pets don’t have any concept of sexual identity or ego.
  • It’s a good thing for our children to see the miracle of birth. In the internet & technology age, you can easily find a video of an animal or human birth to show your children.  Most pets prefer to give birth in seclusion at night, which would lessen the chances of your children being able to view the birthing process.  Alternatively, you could explain that birth is a miracle of life, and that preventing the birth of some pets can save the lives of others.
  • Surgery is complicated, painful, and my pet will have a hard time recovering! Surgery can always involve a slight risk.  However, spaying/neutering surgeries are routine surgeries that many veterinarians perform everyday!  The anesthetics currently used are very safe, and many doctors use equipment that monitors heart and respiratory rates during surgery to ensure that their patients are doing well throughout the procedure. Pain medicine may be given immediately after the procedure to insure that your pet is kept comfortable.  Recovery for males is minimal, with females needing a little more care.  Many pets aren’t aware that they’ve had anything done!  The earlier in your pet’s life they are altered, the easier the surgery is on them!
  • My pet is a purebred, with papers! One out of every four pets brought into an animal shelter is a “purebred”.  Breeding of animals should be done for the betterment of the breed, and is best left to the experts.
  • I’ll find fantastic homes for all of the puppies/kittens. Shelters are full of great animals needing homes.  Each home you find may mean one less for each of those pets.  The average litter size for dogs is  x  ; that for cats is  x  .  If you rehome the litter without having them spay/neutered, in less than one year’s time, each of your pet’s offspring may have offspring of their own.



  • Spay/neuter for cats and dogs in  Hampton Roads .
  • TNR for community cats.
Fill out our online Assistance Application to apply for financial assistance.  For help with community cats in Norfolk, contact the Norfolk SPCA at 757-622-3319, x130, or e-mail