It may seem that warmer weather is still out of reach, but now is the time to be spaying your cat in advance of her heat cycle and preventing unwanted litters before kitten season arrives this spring, a time when shelters traditionally see large numbers of unwanted litters being born. To help reduce the number of homeless cats, Altered Tails is offering a beat the heat promotion sponsored by PetSmart Charities. During the month of February, Altered Tails will spay/neuter female cats for a special rate of $20.

Spaying and neutering is one of the most effective ways to reduce the homeless pet population. While some worry that their pet may be too young for this procedure, spaying and neutering is safe for kittens as young as 8 to 10 weeks old. And, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, spaying a female cat before the first heat cycle is actually beneficial, rather than waiting until after one heat cycle has occurred. The procedure is known to improve the health of the pet including a reduced risk of certain reproductive cancers and infections.

This special rate is even less than the organization's normal low-cost price and is available to all residents of Maricopa County, and parents who wish to take advantage of this offer must mention the "beat the heat" promotion when they schedule their appointment. The promotion is based on availability. Visit www.alteredtails.org or call (602) 943-SPAY for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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