Originally posted as a Greene County Daily World column authored by Kegan Inman.

 You don’t want to give your pet the opportunity to live as long as possible. A study found that pets that are spayed and neutered can live a longer life. Spayed cats lived 39% longer while spayed dogs lived 23% longer. For males, it improved by 18%.

 You don’t want to reduce their risk of cancer. Spaying your dogs and cats can prevent different cancers including mammary and ovarian cancers as well as infections of the uterus. Neutering your dogs and cats eliminates the possibility for testicular cancer and reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer.

• You are fine with your animals running off. Animals have a great sense of smell. A male dog can sense a female in heat up to three miles away and a male cat can sense the same up to a mile away.

• You enjoy your female cats howling and other heat-related behaviors. During the heat cycle of a cat they are more likely to howl and be demanding. For both dogs and cats, you may also see bleeding as well as excessive or unusual urination habits. Female cats can go into heat every three weeks during their mating season and dogs generally go into heat twice a year.

• You love the smell of cat spray. While there is the possibility that it could still occur, having your cat neutered can greatly reduce the desire for your cat to spray.

• You enjoy dirty puppy pads and lots of cleaning. Anyone that has ever potty trained a single puppy knows that it is a lot of work. Imagine having four to six or maybe even more in your home at once. It typically requires lots of puppy pads and still there are messes to be cleaned up and possibly even destroyed flooring or furniture. Preventing puppies in the first place is the best way to avoid this.

• You like to spend money. Having a pet that is not spayed or neutered can come with extra costs. While the typical cost of a surgery for spaying or neutering can be $50-$200 depending on the animal, situation and vet, this can be cheap when compared to other costs that you might incur. As mentioned, there are health risks including cancer that your pet is more likely to suffer from but if your pet has a litter of puppies or kittens, you may be paying for puppy pads, special food, vet visits, vaccinations (if you are responsible) and more. Additionally, if your animal roams off in search of a mate and gets picked up, there may be fees to reclaim your animal. For example, Linton Animal Control charges $75 for the first offense when they pick up your animal.

• You are fine with stray and unwanted animals. the number one way to reduce pet over-population is to be sure that animals are fixed. If you want to help prevent stray and unwanted animals, ensuring that your animals are all spayed or neutered is the number one thing that you can do.

In closing, to quote a Facebook meme “Please Don’t Litter, Spay or Neuter Your Critter”