Three Surprising Numbers and Statistics You Didn’t Know About Pet Overpopulation

Millions of Americans count companion animals as a member of their families. The ASPCA estimates that Americans own approximately 70 to 80 million dogs and 74 to 96 million cats.

And while there’s no denying the companionship and unconditional love you can get by owning a dog or cat, it’s also important to make sure you’re providing the best level of care to your companion animal.

Every pet owner has a responsibility to make sure his or her pet is spayed or neutered — a surgical procedure involving the removal of a pet’s reproductive organs so they can’t have puppies or kittens. One of the biggest reasons why you should spay and neuter your pets? It cuts down on the problem of pet overpopulation.

Pet overpopulation is one of the most overlooked issues plaguing the U.S. today — and it’s just one of the many reasons why you should spay and neuter your pets. Here are three numbers and statistics that show just how pervasive the problem of pet overpopulation has become:


Did you know that only 10% of the stray animals that enter animal shelters are spayed or neutered? In contrast, 83% of pet dogs and 91% of pet cats are spayed or neutered on average. To help keep the number of animals in shelters down, the percentage of pets that are spayed and neutered should be closer to 100%.

70 million

It’s nearly impossible to measure the exact number of stray cats and dogs living in the U.S. Estimates for just the number of stray cats ranges around 70 million — and this doesn’t even count the number of stray dogs. The saddest part? A huge portion of these strays and unwanted animals came as a result of unplanned litters that could have easily been prevented through spay and neuter procedures.

2.7 million

Every year, approximately 2.7 million adoptable cats and dogs living in animal shelters are euthanized. This figure shows perhaps the biggest reason why you should spay and neuter your pets — it lowers the number of unwanted animals who ultimately end up suffering and being put down in shelters each year. Many dog and cat spay and neuter clinics offer reduced fees for the spay and neuter procedure, so there’s no reason not to have your pet spayed or neutered.