Too Many Pets, Not Enough Homes or Shelters

Fighting pet overpopulation with adoption and prevention

Three black catsImagine if every person living in New York City was actually a cat or dog. That’s about the number of pets that will end up in shelters in North America this year. 

Of those 7 million pets, nearly 3 million will be euthanized. We lose thousands of adoptable pets every day due to overpopulation.

Research tells us most people don’t understand the scope of pet homelessness. It’s a huge problem that can best be solved by getting more pets adopted and preventing more unplanned litters.

How adoption can solve the problem

Adoption is one of the best ways to reduce pet homelessness. About half of American households do not currently own a dog or cat. PetSmart Charities® research reveals the top reasons people don’t adopt pets from shelters:

  • Desire for a specific breed or type of pet
  • Doubts about shelters 
  • Uncertainty about the pet adoption process

Local animal shelters and rescue groups offer a variety of healthy, lovable and purebred pets. Often, these cats and dogs arrived at the shelter because they were lost or their families could no longer care for them.

Animal welfare groups that partner with PetSmart Charities® must screen pets for health and behavior concerns. These groups are a great source of information about a pet’s needs, history and health. 

Many organizations offer a number of important services such as health screenings, vaccinations, micro-chipping and spaying or neutering. Adoption fees cover the cost of most of the services.

When you adopt a pet, you help make room for more pets at shelters and rescue groups. You’re giving other homeless pets a better chance of finding a home.

Preventing unplanned litters

Increased spay/neuter services prevent unplanned litters to reduce pet overpopulation from the start. PetSmart Charities has subsidized more than 1.4 million spay/neuter surgeries since 2009.

Unplanned litters are the main source of pet overpopulation:

  • 35% of dogs and cats in U.S. households are not spayed or neutered. That’s about 60 million pets who can breed and produce millions more puppies and kittens every year. 
  • Stray pets and free-roaming cats often produce multiple litters every year.
  • Many people aren’t aware of low-cost spay/neuter services or that pets can be fixed as early as 8 weeks of age.

Fighting pet overpopulation with more adoptions and fewer unplanned litters