Cat owners often ask me when to get their cats fixed (spayed or neutered). Many rescue societies will get kittens fixed when they are less than six months of age, sometimes as young as 6 weeks old. This is done to prevent adopted pets from becoming sexually mature, returning to the society to be fixed, or perpetuating the pet overpopulation problem by having more litters of kittens. I generally recommend that cats be fixed between six and eight months of age, before they become sexually mature. Once a female cat goes into heat, she will go in and out of heat every two weeks until she has been bred or spayed.
The benefits of getting your kitten fixed around six months of age are:
They are physically more mature and can handle the stresses of anesthesia better.
There seems to be a higher risk of breaking the head of the femur off in cats neutered before six months.
All of their baby teeth should have fallen out by six months. If they are still present after this time, they can be removed at the same time as the spay or neuter operation in order to reduce expenses and lessen the impact on the pet.
So if you’re wondering whether to wait or whether to get a kitten fixed early, the clear answer is: do not wait until after they are older than about eight months. Early spay and neuter programs are substantially reducing the wild cat population, which is ideal. One study calculated that just one breeding pair of cats can make 120,000 kittens over seven years!
Please make an appointment if you have any other questions about cat neutering or spaying.