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If you are adopting a kitten soon, let me be the first to congratulate you! New pets are always exciting but can also be a little overwhelming at times! There are many questions that you may come across through cat parenthood, but perhaps the most important question is what is the to spay or neuter your cat?
Getting your cat spayed or neutered is very important. There are too many cats in the streets and in shelters already, so we want to avoid adding to the problem as much as possible. Having your cat fixed can also help prevent health issues down the road, such as testicular cancer, uterine infections, or breast cancer.
What Age is Best?
There is no easy answer to this question. Every cat or kitten is different and will go through sexual maturation at different times in their lives. Unlike dogs, cats can be spayed or neutered as early as eight weeks of age or as soon as they reach a weight of 2lbs. There are benefits for waiting until they are more mature, however having an intact cat is a much bigger responsibility for the pet owner.
Recent studies have shown that the best time to neuter a male cat is between 6 and 10 months of age. This is usually when your boy starts to sexual mature, causing potential problems like humping, urinating outside the litter box, or spraying to mark their territory. As soon as your male cat starts showing these signs, it’s time to schedule their neutering procedure.
For female cats, the studies say that they optimum time to spay is usually between 7 and 12 months of age, or as soon as they go through their first heat cycle. You want to avoid them having more than 1-2 heat cycles before they are spayed. Female heat cycles in cats can be intense, and during it your cat will likely be more prone to escaping or attracting nearby male cats. During their heat they need to be monitored very closely.
Pet Parent Responsibility
As pet parents, we must take full responsibility for our pets and their actions. Having an intact cat is a risk. They are notoriously good escape artists, especially if sexually motivated. It takes an observant and proactive pet parent to monitor their cats well enough to wait for spaying or neutering until the cat’s sexual maturity, and those few months can feel like a lifetime for a busy pet owner!
We all get busy in our lives, and there is no shame in admitting that waiting won’t work for you. If this is the case, I suggest making an appointment for a spay or neuter surgery as soon as possible to prevent any unwanted babies!
Keep giving your pets the best of the natural life!
April Arguin A.S., C.P.N., M.P.H