Neuters are Cuter

by Kellie Heckman

FiXiT Foundation wants to bring spay and neuter (SN) to everyone, and we are using a research-based approach to determine how to best increase demand for it. It’s also the reason I am in St. Croix working on our island project, recently renamed “The Final FiX.” As part of the management of our low-cost SN clinic, I am continuing to gather data from our clients and our patients, which allows us to both answer many questions and also help us optimize our system by learning a bit about the culture of owners of unfixed animals on St. Croix, and the responsibilities that these people face.

We are already starting to see patterns. First, we have many more dogs coming to the clinic than cats. Approximately 69% of our clients are female dogs, and 8% are male dogs. Shelter intake records indicate that there are twice as many dogs coming in, but we are seeing about three times more dogs than cats come get fixed. Of these dogs, 66% are less than 20 pounds, which is not too surprising, as island dogs are known for being small.

Nearly 100% of people say that they have chosen to alter their animals to “prevent unwanted kittens and puppies.” This certainly explains why we see so many females. We see 5 times more female than male cats, matching the disparity we see in dogs. The owners of these females are held responsible for the puppies and kittens – the cost of feeding, providing a space for a nursing mama and babies, and ultimately finding a home for these unexpected family members can be a huge burden. Stakes are quite high compared to owners of males. No paternity testing for these guys!

We will continue to monitor this data and allow the patterns to drive our latest promotions and advertising campaigns. We anticipate a male-centered campaign. Any suggestions for headlines? Bucks for balls? Neuters are Cuter?

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