Having your feline friend fixed is an important part of their care, but how old do kittens have to be to get fixed? Today, our La Mesa vets answer the question, 'What is the best age to spay and neuter a kitten?' and what you can expect.

Pet Spay & Neuter Surgery

When discussing having your cat 'fixed,' we refer 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 it safe to spay or neuter a kitten?

When is the best time to spay or neuter a kitten? There are many different opinions about when you should have your kitty fixed. Early or pediatric spay/neuter is generally done at approximately six to eight weeks. In contrast, standard spay and neuter procedures are often conducted at about five to six months of age. Although, these procedures can be performed anytime during your cat's life as long as they are healthy. Therefore, when is it too late to spay or neuter a cat? The answer is never. Even healthy cats in their teens can safely undergo this procedure.

When can kittens begin to reproduce?

Kittens can begin reproducing as young as four to six months of age. You may want 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, who can inform you when the best time is to have your kitten spayed/ neutered. 

The Benefits of Getting Your Female Cat Spayed

One female cat and her offspring can produce approximately 420,000 kittens in as little as seven years. Fixing your female cat can greatly reduce the number of unwanted kittens in your community.

Having your female cat spayed has several health benefits, including preventing unwanted kittens. 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 prevent your cat from developing uterine infections and 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.

The Benefits of Having Your Male Cat Neutered

Some health benefits of neutering your male cat include a reduced risk of 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 prevent him from spraying around your home and property to mark his territory and prevent your cat from fathering countless kittens.

Are there risks involved in neutering or spaying my kitten?

Spaying and neutering are common surgical procedures, but a qualified and experienced veterinarian must still perform them. Any veterinary surgery requiring general anesthesia involves some degree of risk.

Some orthopedic conditions and diseases, such as prostatic cancer, are slightly more common in kittens who have been spayed or neutered.

However, the advantages of spaying or neutering a kitten will outweigh the disadvantages in most cases.

What should I expect while my kitten recovers from spay or neuter surgery?

Your vet can recommend pain management techniques and prescribe pain medication if required. Though your kitten may be recovering well and feeling playful, do not let him or her run around before they are healed.

You can help ensure your kitten has a comfortable, safe recovery from a spaying or neutering procedure by taking some of these precautions:

  • Check your kitten's incision daily to ensure it’s healing correctly. If you notice swelling, discharge, redness, or a foul odor, contact your vet immediately, as this could be a sign of infection.
  • Contact your vet if your kitten seems lethargic or uncomfortable, has a reduced or non-existent appetite, has diarrhea, or is vomiting.
  • Have your kitten wear a cone (commonly known as a 'cone of shame') or another accessory that will help prevent them from licking their incision site, which could lead to infection. Your vet can recommend the appropriate cone for your kitten.
  • Refrain from bathing your kitten for at least 10 days following surgery.
  • Do not allow your kitten to run around or jump for up to two weeks after surgery (or as long as your vet advises).
  • Keep your kitten inside, away from other animals as they recover

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.

There are many great benefits to having your feline friend fixed. Contact our vets in La Mesa today to schedule your cat's spay or neuter procedure.