When you bring home a new furry friend, you may wonder 'When is it safe to spay a kitten?'. While this answer depends on several factors, there is a standard age for reproductive care to begin. Today, our Gallup vets discuss having your kitten spayed or neutered answering the question of 'How old do kittens have to be to get fixed?'.
Spay & Neuter for Kittens
When we talk about having your cat 'fixed', we're referring to having your pet spayed or neutered. Male pets are sterilized by removing their testes, whereas female pets are sterilized by removing their reproductive organs.
When is the best time to spay or neuter a kitten?
There are many different opinions about what is the best age to spay or neuter a kitten and when is it too late to spay and neuter a kitten. Early or pediatric spay/neuter is generally done at approximately six to eight weeks of age, whereas standard spay and neuter procedures are most often conducted at about five to six months of age. Although, these procedures can be performed at any time during your cat's life as long as they are healthy. Therefore, it is never too late to have your cat spayed or neutered, even healthy cats in their teens can safely have this procedure done.
Because kittens can begin reproducing as young as 4 to 6 months of age, you may want to have your kitty 'fixed' before puberty or their first heat cycle to avoid accidental pregnancy or certain health conditions.
It's always best to talk to your veterinarian so they can inform you when the best time is to have your kitten spayed/neutered.
What are the benefits of having your female cat spayed?
It's estimated that in as little as seven years, one female cat and her offspring can produce approximately 420,000 kittens. Having your female cat fixed can make a big contribution to lowering the number of unwanted kittens living in your community.
Aside from preventing unwanted kittens, having your female cat spayed has several health benefits. For example, if your cat is spayed before her first heat cycle, she is less likely to develop malignant mammary tumors later in life.
Spaying can also help keep your cat from developing an infection of the uterus and developing cancers of the reproductive organs.
Spaying might also help eliminate several unwanted female cat behaviors such as heat-induced howling, increased and overly intense affection, intense rubbing on objects, marking territory with urine, and the desire to wander.
What are the benefits of neutering your male cat?
Some health benefits of having your male cat neutered include a reduced risk of your cat developing prostate or testicular cancer.
Male cats that are neutered often show less inclination to fight with other male cats, helping to reduce the risk of serious injuries caused by fighting.
Neutering your male cat may also reduce his desire to roam in search of females. Less desire to roam contributes to a lower risk of injury from traffic accidents as they travel long distances.
Having your male cat fixed may also help to prevent him from spraying around your home and property to mark his territory, and will prevent your cat from fathering countless kittens.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.