Bringing Our Pets Home and Putting an End to Pet Homelessness in America

6 min readSep 21, 2022

How often have you seen a stray cat or dog out while walking or driving? A few times, I’m sure. You have probably seen even more cats than dogs too. There are an estimated 48 million cats & dogs who live on our streets today. 41 million are cats, and 1.3 million are dogs. In 2021, about two million animals were brought into the shelter. Shelter life for these animals does not always end in adoption either. In 2021, 139,817 cats and dogs were put to sleep due to overcrowding. For us animal lovers, these stats are difficult to read. Every one of those cats & dogs deserves a home where they can access basic necessities like food, water, and shelter. The life of a homeless animal can be rough and short. Unfortunately, these animals do not always end up on the street because of them typically, it is because of us. Whether they were left behind, lost, or even born into homelessness, these furry creatures are forced to toil through a life they didn’t choose. It is our responsibility to keep our animals healthy and off the street. One of the most important and helpful ways to keep our furry friends off the street is by spaying and neutering them. Spaying and neutering not only prevent reproduction which in turn, keeps the number of cats and dogs on our streets lower but has also been shown to improve their health and lifespan. Another helpful effort by pet owners is IDing your cat or dog. Accidents happen, and when they do you want to be prepared which is why your pet should always be wearing at least one form of ID.

One way to decrease pet homelessness is by spaying and neutering. Sterilization has been shown to increase the lifespan of both cats and dogs dramatically. Sterilized dogs’ life expectancy increased from 7.9 years to 9.4 years. Cats also showed a dramatic increase in lifespan, with females living 39% longer and males living 62% longer than unaltered cats. Fixed pets are also significantly less likely to die from infectious diseases, trauma, vascular disease, and degenerative disease. Animals that have not been spayed or neutered are also more likely to display behavioral problems such as roaming, urine marking, or fighting. One of the main reasons pet owners relinquished their pets to the shelters in 2021 was due to pet behavior. Spaying and neutering are one of, if not the most important ways of controlling the pet population. By the look of the numbers now it is evident that there are far more pets than there are homes for pets. Pets reproduce at alarming rates, for example, a cat can get pregnant as early as four months which is why it is important to spay and neuter as quickly as possible.

With cats being the main contributing factor to animal homelessness, programs like Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) have been created to decrease the reproductive rate of cats, specifically feral cats. The TNR program is supported by 65% of adults according to Best Friends research. This program includes trapping, neutering, vaccinating, and returning community cats to their original outdoor locations. TNR has been shown to stabilize cat communities and remove socialized cats from feral cat communities. TNR is also aimed at ending the catch-and-kill method by animal control. The animal control method is a temporary fix to the cat population. If cats are not being fixed then they can reproduce at troubling rates as stated above. As a cat lover in the pet community, you can help end cat homelessness by supporting local shelters and spay and neuter efforts. At Pawtocol we have created a Pet Fund that will donate 100% of its proceeds to the shelters and rescues we have partnered with. You can find out more information on how to donate to our Pet Fund here. The more cats who are spayed and neutered the fewer cats there will be roaming our streets fending for themselves.

Aside from the TNR program many shelters and rescues have created spay and neuter programs of their own to help end pet homelessness and improve their overall life. You can also help fund spay and neuter programs by donating, volunteering, and spreading the word. One of our partners, Almost There Rescue shows what your donations can do, a $500 donation can cover the spay & neuter of an entire litter of puppies. You can visit their website here to view for yourself how your donation is being used at their rescue. At Pawtocol we have partnered with different shelters and rescues that offer spay and neuter programs. Almost There Rescue is just one of the few we have partnered with. You can view our other partners here.

As pet owners, it is our worst nightmare that our pets will end up on the streets alone searching for food, water, and a warm place to sleep. Our pets are like our children we never want to even think of the day that they go missing. We never want to bear the thought that our own furry creature is now lost out in the world among the other almost 50 million homeless pets in America. That is why IDing your pet is vital. When your pet gets lost you want to ensure they find their way home, right? By IDing your pet you can ensure that when they are found, wandering alone, they will be safely returned to you. Out of all the pets that enter shelters only 800,000 of them are ever returned to their owner. As part of our mission at Pawtocol to improve the lives of pets and pet owners, we have developed the next generation of pet tags. It’s your key to not only safely storing your pet’s information such as lost reward info but takes you into the Pawtocol ecosystem and connecting you with other passionate pet lovers. You can visit our website here to learn more about our Pet Tag. With the Pawtocol Pet Tag, you can be confident that if an accident ever does happen, your furry friend will be more likely to be found and brought home.

Pet homelessness is a serious problem in our country with almost 50 million pets sleeping on our streets. As part of the pet community, there are plenty of efforts we can all make to decrease that number and end pet homelessness. Our pets all deserve a warm place to sleep and family to love them. By supporting spaying and neutering programs and IDing your pet you can help end pet homelessness one pet at a time.


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