What Is the Neutering and Spaying Age for Cats?
Six Month Guideline
- The traditional veterinary wisdom was that cats should be at least six months old before getting spayed or neutered. The idea was to allow a cat to become physically mature before alteration.
Early Spay and Neuter
- Recently, however, several veterinary associations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association, have endorsed early spaying and neutering (also known as pediatric spaying and neutering). This procedure can be done on kittens as young as eight weeks old.
Early Spay and Neuter Disadvantages
- The main disadvantage to early spaying and neutering is that many older veterinarians were trained under the old guidelines and are thus simply more comfortable with full-grown cats. There also may be a higher risk of the cat's adverse reactions to anesthesia and a higher risk of post-surgery hypothermia, or lowered body temperature.
Early Spay and Neuter Advantages
- The advantages to early spaying and neutering are multiple. Shelters and breeders can have kittens altered prior to adoption, which eliminates the chance that the new owner will neglect to have the cat spayed or neutered after adoption. Also, it's believed that younger cats recover from the surgery faster than older cats. Younger cats also show less behavioral problems subsequent to alteration.
Early Spay abd Neuter Myths
- Early spaying and neutering do not appear to increase the chance of obesity or urinary tract problems in cats.