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How two plus two equals 143: the importance of spay/neuter

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It all started innocently enough less than two years ago when a woman in Farmington Hills, Michigan took pity on two stray female cats that were living outside in the cold. Michigan winters can be very brutal, so the woman brought the two cats into her home and began to care for them, according to the Facebook page for the no-kill shelter, Animal Welfare Society of Southwest Michigan.

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It turned out that one of the two cats was pregnant, and soon she had the two original cats, plus one litter of kittens. Unfortunately, she did not get the entire bunch fixed so they wouldn't have kittens.

Fast forward less than two years, and the woman, whose name has not been released, has 143 cats and kittens in her home.

It's not unusual for a female cat to have three litters in a year. Most litters average from four to six kittens, and in six months those kittens can have kittens of their own. By now, readers may be wondering how this could happen, since she started out with two female cats. Well, cats aren't too picky about their mates, and needless to say most of the 143 cats are related, very closely related.

The woman assumed she'd be able to find homes for the cute kittens without much trouble. Unfortunately things didn't work out that way, and she ended up with a house full of cats and kittens.

What's unusual about this particular case is that the woman apparently took very good care of the kitties and realized she was in over her head. Spending $700 each week on pet food certainly qualifies as being over most people's heads. With 143 cats, she must have been spending almost all of her time cleaning the house, because from the photos it appears quite clean.

All of the cats have bright eyes and appear to be healthy and well socialized.

The woman contacted the Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan for help. When representatives of the organization went to visit, they were shocked by what they saw. Susan Edwards, president of the Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan, told the Daily Tribune:

“The house had turned into a house for cats. There were ropes hanging from the ceiling, cat toys and litter boxes. There were cats everywhere … although she had some rooms where there were no cats allowed. She had most of her furniture hidden in those rooms."

The Animal Welfare Society of Southwest Michigan is working with several other rescues to place these cats and kittens. These cats and kittens are fortunate. Most of the time it doesn't turn out this well.

In the meantime, take a lesson home from this. Spay and neuter. Spay and neuter early. Spay and neuter every single cat.

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