Although it's impossible to know how many stray or feral cats are living in the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that as many as 70 million are roaming about, and millions are euthanized each year [source: ASPCA]. Responsible pet owners can do their part to solve the issue in their community by getting their cat spayed or neutered. Veterinarians recommend that kittens be sterilized between eight weeks and six months of age -- before a female can go into heat [source: ASPCA]. In addition to keeping the pet population low, sterilized cats are at less risk of developing cancer and are less likely to spray their territory.
Cats do contribute to the circle of life by providing pest control. However, in many ways a cat is just a tiny tiger, so don't expect him to understand the difference between a pesky mouse and an endangered bird -- it's all prey to him. Cats are often blamed for declining bird populations, so teach your child to do his part for the local ecosystem by keeping your cats indoors or in an enclosed outdoor area where they can't get to any of your local feathered friends.