The importance of spay/neuter of pets and ‘community’ cats before ‘kitten season’ next spring


Eleven-week-old Venus (A500864) was found as a stray and brought to the shelter by a Good Samaritan. Since arriving at Pasadena Humane, she’s been spayed, vaccinated and microchipped. She’s now ready to find a new home.

In my last column, I shared with you some of my family background. While I mentioned that my family has always been a little nutty in the most endearing way, I think I might have neglected to mention that I was an accident. 

Here is how my father learned in 1965 that he was about to have another baby…

Mama belonged to a bridge club with 15 other ladies. Every Thursday, they gathered at someone’s house for a full day of cards.  One Thursday when Daddy came home from work after Mama had been hosting, she said, “Jimmie, you won’t believe it…someone in the bridge club is going to have a baby. Guess who?” Daddy named every other woman, while Mama shook her head after each name. Finally, Daddy said, “Kitty, there isn’t anyone else in the bridge club.”

I guess it was hard for both of my parents to believe, with their 40th birthdays approaching, that a fifth child would be joining the family. 

As they say, accidents happen, and while some, like me, are ultimately welcomed with loving hearts and open arms, others are not so lucky. 

My sister Laura remembers another bridge club day a few weeks after our cat, Puff, had given birth to a litter of six adorable kittens. Somehow, the kitties had escaped from the softly padded box in the utility room where they had been born and made their way into our “family room.”

The room had 11-foot ceilings, with floor to ceiling windows. Laura came home from school to the sound of shrieking women and the sight of six kittens climbing up the curtains. I can picture Mama’s horror and distress as she desperately tried to disentangle the furballs’ claws from her precious drapes. 

Soon after this fiasco, Puff had a trip to the vet to get “fixed.” I’m sure Mama wished she had thought to go to the vet before, and not after, her silks were shredded. 

At Pasadena Humane, everyone is exhausted because we are just coming to the end of kitten season. It’s not easy to care for six kittens, so imagine caring for thousands of them. And it’s even more heartbreaking when we know these births could have been prevented. 

We are begging you while we have this brief reprieve, before spring is in the air and kittens start flooding into the shelter again, please spay or neuter your pets if you haven’t already. 

And you may wonder what you can do to help the many unowned cats living outdoors in our community. Pasadena Humane works with a dedicated network of volunteers that is helping to trap unsocialized cats so they can be brought to our clinic for spay/neuter and vaccines.

Adult outdoor cats who are accustomed to free roaming usually do not adapt well to home life. So once these cats are altered, they are returned to the community where they were found.  

Over time, this process of Trap, Neuter, Return and Monitor (known as TNR or TNRM) has been proven to be the most effective way to humanely reduce the population of outdoor cats.

In the meantime, young kittens born outdoors to unowned cats can be socialized, spayed or neutered, and placed into homes through adoption.   

If you would like to learn more about preventing the birth of unwanted companion animals through spay/neuter and Community Cat Programs, please visit

Those of us who work hard to take care of animals in shelters truly appreciate all the help we can get. And remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.