Halfway to Home: How Did Pet Overpopulation Become Such a Problem?

Over the last few months, we’ve been talking about the overpopulation problem that leaves many cats and dogs homeless and in need of a loving, caring home. Adopting from shelters and fostering are GREAT ways to help, but how did this overpopulation problem get so big?

Why are so Many Cats and Dogs in Need of Homes?

There are two MAJOR reasons for pet overpopulation:

  • Allowing cats and dogs to reproduce with little chance of finding homes for their offspring


  • Pets being given up by owners who no longer want or can take care of them (as stated by petsintexas.org).

Spaying and neutering your pets has MANY benefits. Not only are you reducing the number of homeless pets that might lose their lives, but you are also improving your own pet's health, reducing unruly behavior, and saving on the cost of pet care.  Many people think taking the litter of puppies or kittens to a shelter is a good solution, but, in some states, as many as 300,000 homeless animals are euthanized in animal shelters every year. These are not the product of homeless animals who live on the street; they are the puppies and kittens of family pets.  In its lifetime, a female cat or dog can have more than 100 babies, and a male can father thousands. As stated by Animals Abused & Abandoned, Inc., “as long as these birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes for all of these animals.”

“Spaying [and] neutering is the only permanent, 100-percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats."
-The Humane Society of the United States


If you are a cat owner who permits your cat to spend significant time or live outside, it is imperative that you spay or neuter him or her.Feral cats (cats who spend all or most of their lives outdoors on their own, living in a wild or semi-wild state) may live independently, and they often breed and overpopulate rapidly. Despite their independence, they still have to depend on humans for much of their health and safety, like spaying and neutering them. Also, these cats, if unvaccinated, can pass diseases and parasites onto other cats, too, both feral and domesticated alike. As stated by the ASPCA, the most humane and effective way to maintain feral cats is to trap, neuter and return them.

Unfortunately, we also find a lot of pets being brought to shelters by owners who have to relinquish their rights to them because they can no longer take care of them. According to Petfinder, moving, having landlords who do not allow pets, and having too many pets in the household are the top three reasons that cats and dogs are brought to shelters. If this is the situation you find yourself in, than yes, taking your animal to a shelter is a better option that just turning them lose on the street, but rather then taking them to a shelter, you can take it upon yourself to find a new forever home for them. Reach out to family and friends, and interview interested prospective adopters until you find a great fit for them! That way, you know they will be going to a safe and loving new home!

Do you have a foster cat or dog, or a senior cat or dog that you love to pieces? #FosterFriday and #SeniorSunday are still going strong! Post a picture of your foster or senior baby to social media, (on Friday and Sunday, respectively) and tell us all about your baby (we know what a challenge that will be with only 140 characters!).

Stay tuned in November for the next installment of our “Halfway to Home” series and a SPECIAL THANK YOU TO MS. THIFFANY BELDA for once again helping out our division with her amazing talent and artwork! 











Photo Courtesy of Elaine DeSimone


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