If you decide to adopt a kitten, you will need to decide when to spay or neuter it. If you get your kitten spayed or neutered when it is too young, it can negatively affect the cat. However, if you spay or neuter your kitten too late, you can miss out on some of the benefits that spaying and neutering can provide. In order to figure out if your kitten is old enough to get spayed or neutered, you will need to know your kitten’s age, when the suggested age of spaying and neutering is, and when your veterinarian suggests completing the surgery
Over the past several decades, the recommended age for spay (ovariohysterectomy) or neuter (castration) of cats has changed. At one time, the recommended age for spay was after the female cat had a litter, then it changed to after the first heat cycle, and eventually the veterinary profession settled on 6 months of age or older. Given that cats reach sexual maturity at about 5 months of age, more and more people are advocating lowering the spay/neuter age to 4 to 5 months (early spay/neuter) and support early spay/neuter in animal shelters
The optimal age to spay/neuter a cat is before it reaches 5 months of age. For owned cats, the optimal age would be 4 to 5 months; for cats in shelters, the optimal age could be as early as 8 weeks. Current scientific evidence shows no medical or behavioral reasons to delay spaying/neutering of cats past 5 months of age, and there are population and health benefits to spaying/neutering cats before they reach 5 months. Sterilization surgeries are easier, faster, and safer when performed on cats younger than 5 months, and implementation of this practice is simple.
Age A Kitten Have To Weigh To Be Neutered
Before neutering, male kittens must weight at least 2 or 3 pounds, depending on the preference of the veterinary practice or spay/neuter facility performing the surgery. Neutering smaller kittens may result in difficulty manipulating the tissue during the operation. Most male kittens weigh 2 pounds by the age of 6 weeks and 3 pounds by the time they are 8 to 9 weeks old.
Advantages Of A Kitten Neutering
Both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners endorse pediatric spaying and neutering. For veterinarians, the procedure is easier than working on a mature cat, with kittens recovering from the surgery more quickly than males neutered at the traditional later age. While animal shelters often require adopters to spay or neuter kittens and may offer discounts or certificates for the surgery, many people do not follow up with it. Shelters adopting out kittens already spayed or neutered do not have to follow up with adopters to ensure compliance. These kittens won’t be making unwanted babies of their own.
What Is Cat Neutering?
Neutering means surgically preventing cats from reproducing. In males, the operation is called castration and in females it’s called spaying.
With castration both testicles are removed which takes away the main source of the male hormone testosterone. With spaying, both the ovaries and the uterus are removed which means the female is unable to become pregnant.
What’s Involved In The Cat Neutering Process?
Both operations are carried out under general anaesthetic. Every surgical procedure has some risk but modern techniques are very safe.
Because it involves surgery, there will be some discomfort but cats are given drugs to control this and most of them are up and about just a few hours after they’ve had their operation.
How Much Does Neutering A Cat Cost?
Costs vary quite a bit depending on the sex of the cat and the individual vet practice so check with your local vet. Several charities, including Blue Cross, offer low-cost neutering so contact your nearest one to find out more.
What Age Can Cats Be Neutered?
Cats become sexually mature from the age of around five months. In order to prevent unwanted pregnancies, it’s recommended that cats are neutered at around four months old, after they have completed their primary vaccinations. Some vets still recommend spaying at five or six months and it’s quite safe to neuter older cats.
Why Should I Get My Cat Neutered?
There are lots of reasons why it’s a good idea. Here’s just a few:
For male cats:
- Neutering reduces their chance of catching feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), an incurable disease similar to HIV in humans which is spread by saliva usually from bite wounds during fights.
- Unneutered cats that are confined can become frustrated and may try any escape route – including out of your top floor window.
- Neutering cats reduces their urge to roam and fight so they’re less likely to go missing, get hit by cars, or get hurt.
For female cats:
- Spaying cats, especially if it’s done when they’re young, greatly reduces the risk of them getting breast cancer and infection of the womb (called pyometra). Both of these can be fatal.
- Pregnancy and birth can carry significant risks to a cat.
- A female cat can produce up to six kittens, three times a year. That’s a lot of mouths to feed.
- It can be very stressful trying to make sure your cat doesn’t get pregnant and, if she does, you’ve got the worry of caring for her through her pregnancy, birth and the rearing of her litter. And that’s before the challenge of finding good homes for the kittens.
- Female cats that aren’t spayed often come into season over and over again, which means they can be almost continuously in heat. This can be exhausting and usually attracts a queue of amorous and vocal tomcats to the house.
- Unneutered male cats tend to urine-mark their territory, including your house, with a powerful and unpleasant scented urine.
- Thousands of unwanted cats have to be put to sleep every year because there are too many unwanted animals and not enough homes for them. You can help by getting your cat neutered.
What Happens After The Surgery?
Some people worry that their cat’s personality will change. This isn’t true but you might see a fall in certain behaviour – roaming, mounting, fighting or spraying urine.
People also worry that their pet will get fat. Neutered animals might have slightly lower food requirements so you just need to feed them a little less.
When Should I Spay Or Neuter My Cat?
Kittens can be spayed or neutered as young as six to eight weeks of age, however standard spay and neuter surgeries are most often performed when the kitten is between five and six months old. That said, it’s important to note that provided your cat is healthy, these procedures can be performed at any time during your cat’s life.