Early-Age Neuter and Spay

Altering an animal before it reaches puberty is one of the best ways to avoid unwanted litters.

Posted: Wed Dec 18 00:00:00 PST 2002

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young kittenWaiting for a cat to grow up before it is spayed or neutered often results in "oops litters," says W. Marvin Mackie, DVM, who heads four Animal Birth Control clinics in Southern California. "In view of the massive numbers of pets destroyed each year, I consider all of us in the veterinary profession to be part of a great failure to relieve pain and suffering by not advocating spaying before the female's first heat."

Altering healthy kittens as young as 6 weeks old can be performed faster than traditional surgeries on older animals, but is the procedure safe?

"The skill required to perform the surgery is not extraordinary," Mackie says. "The recovery of the youthful patient is extraordinarily quick, however, leaving it unaffected by this important event in its early life. To date, no significant negative concerns have been found in what is now becoming a well-documented subject." 

Early spay and neuter is a growing trend endorsed by major humane organizations like the American Humane Association, the Humane Society of the United States, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Cat Fanciers' Association.

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Reader Comments

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

10/21/2013 11:07:58 AM

AAC -- Thank you for writing. It's easy to be confused about this issue, because people have many different opinions on the subject.

This author says that kittens can be altered as early of 6 weeks of age: LINK

This author says 8 weeks is the safest, earliest date: LINK

Traditionally, people have waited until 6 months of age to fix kittens, but cat advocates urge early alteration in an effort to reduce the unwanted cat population. If a shelter adopts out a cat at 2 months old, they want to make sure that cat is fixed so he or she cannot produce homeless kittens in the future.

Short answer: Vet expert say 8 weeks is old enough, and other cat advocates say 6 weeks is old enough.

A.A.C    International

10/18/2013 4:53:15 PM

I'm not sure if I understand what age a kitten can be spayed or neutered. I have a 8 week old female kitten. She hasn't gone in heat or shown any signs of it, but I would just like to know what age is appropriate for her to be spayed? I don't want to hurt her and cause any problems.

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

1/17/2013 10:09:57 AM

Kristen -- Your cats are ready to be spayed/neutered. In fact, you might want to do this as soon as possible! Thank you for being a responsible cat owner and for doing the right thing by researching cat health and taking preventative action against unwanted litters.

Kristen    San Jose, CA

1/16/2013 7:43:23 PM

I getting a bit confused so when is a good time to get a kitten fixed.I have like 6 6 mth old kittens (5 male/1 female ) and one 2 yrs tuxedo cat

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