Among cats, 1 plus 1 equals 6, and this sometimes several times a year! Thus, “letting Nature take its course” amounts to bringing 36 more cats into the world in the space of 16 months, who more often than not wind up killed. In addition, overcrowded shelters can no longer cope with the influx of abandoned or rescued cats. For example, of the 4084 cats and kittens collected in 2016 in the Brussels region, 1425 (38%) were euthanized because of limited shelter space and lack of adopters. Furthermore, these tragic statistics do not take into account all the unwanted kittens who are coldly “disposed of” by private individuals.
In order to spare tens of thousands of animals a life of misery and premature death, a single solution was called for: the adoption of a law requiring the neutering and spaying of pet cats. Thankfully, the government of the Brussels Region finally heeded the outcry from animal welfare associations and actors on the ground, in particular following a positive advice submitted this year by the Brussels Animal Welfare Council, to which GAIA fully contributed as a representative.
Thus, in practice, all cats born after 1 January 2018, the date of entry into force of the future law, should be neutered or spayed. However, a transitional period of 6 months is provided for cats born before 2018 until 30 June 2018. The text also specifies exceptions for professional and occasional breeders who expressly request it. The draft decree will still have to be presented to the Conseil d’Etat before finally being submitted for adoption at second reading to the Council of Ministers.