When to Spay or Neuter your Cat

Have you ever wondered “When is the best age to spay or neuter my cat?”  We frequently get questions about this topic:

  • Will my new kitten be spayed when I pick her up?
  • When should I get my cat neutered?
  • At what age should a kitten be spayed or neutered?

It is widely known that spaying or neutering a cat is part of being a responsible pet owner.  However, it is important to understand the ideal window of time when a new cat should be spayed or neutered.

If you want to know the reasons for getting your cat spayed or neutered, please click here.

When to Spay or Neuter your Cat
Spay or Neuter your Cat 5 months old

Our Veterinarian’s Recommendations

Our veterinarian doesn’t perform spay or neuter operations until a cat is at least 5 months old.  We spoke with Dr. Oliver to understand the reasons for this policy.  Here is what we learned from this conversation:

Size and Strength

Surgery and Anesthesia

Just like for people, surgery and anethesia present a stress for a young kitten.  There are two key factors in the way a spay or neuter surgery affects cats.

Their body temperature can drop from the effects of the surgery.  The larger a cat is, the more temperature reserve they have in their body mass and the better they are able to regulate their temperature as they recover from the surgery.

Anesthesia is required for the comfort of a kitten during surgery, but it also must be processed by the body.  The larger the cat’s body mass, the better it is able to rid itself of the anesthesia after surgery.

Female cats tend to be smaller at a given early age than male cats.

Urinary Tract

Male Urinary Tract Blockage

Male cats being neutered are at risk for urinary tract blockage resulting from the neuter surgery.  The older (and larger) a male cat is, the larger the urinary tract “plumbing” is, and the lower risk they face from potential blockage as they recover from the surgery.

Sexual Maturity

The age of sexual maturity of cats

Cats should be spayed before they reach the age of sexual maturity.  It is best that a famale not be spayed while she is in heat.

A cat can reach sexual maturity before six months old, but it is extremely rare.  Dr. Oliver has heard of this happening, but has never seen it himself during his career.

When to Spay or Neuter your Cat

If a kitten is spayed or neutered too young, they face risks from the surgery.  If they are altered too late, you face risks of damage to your home, carpets and furniture, as well as potential health and safety risks to your cat.  The key is to find the “Goldilocks” age – not too early and not too late.

The ideal age window is typically around 5 months old.

Consult your Veterinarian

However, each cat is different and you should consult your veterinarian to determine what is best for your cat.  It’s important to discuss the timing and benefits of alteration with your veterinarian, because the optimal age for the procedure may vary based on your cat’s individual health and circumstances.

Woman Consulting with Veterinarian
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