Traditionally, veterinarians have waited until cats are at least 6 months old before neutering them. But research shows that healthy kittens can be safely neutered at 6 weeks, or as soon as they weigh 2 pounds. Referred to as early-age, pediatric, or pre-pubertal spay/neuter, the procedure eliminates any chance of an “oops litter,” since female cats can become pregnant as young as 4 months of age.
Early-age spay and neuter is safe. Endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners, early-age spay/neuter surgery (and the anesthesia associated with it) show no adverse effects on animals both in short- and long-term studies.
“Pre-pubertal neutering is the best-kept secret in veterinary medicine. Once veterinarians try it, they will love it. Prepubes have a much lower complication rate, surgical time and will save vets both time and money while guaranteeing that our companion animal friends will never reproduce. Pre-pubertal surgery is simply a win-win situation for all parties involved,” said Dr. Jeff Young, a leading veterinarian in the field of high-volume spay/neuter who established Colorado’s Planned Pethood Plus Inc. in 1990.
There are many benefits to cats of early-age spay/neuter. Veterinarians who perform the surgery report that it is an easier, faster procedure; the patients recover quickly; it is the best way to prevent litters; and it is cost-effective.
Research shows that kittens neutered before 12 weeks of age have fewer complications from surgery than those over 12 weeks. Also, kittens rebound much faster after the surgical procedure, with less stress than their counterparts over 6 months old.
Here are also seven health and behavioral reasons to choose to spay/neuter your kitten before the age of 6 months:
1: pre-pubertal spay/neuters tend to be easier, faster and less expensive. The recovery time is quicker, and there are fewer complications for the cat.
2: Spaying your female prior to her first heat nearly eliminates the risk of mammary cancer, uterine infections and uterine cancer, which is fatal in most cats.
3: Until she is spayed, a female’s heat cycle will repeat and continue for days and weeks at a time until she finds a mate. Spaying will stop the cycle along with the annoying behavioral issues that come along with it, such as constant vocalization and inappropriate urinating.
4: Neutering your male before 6 months of age prevents testicular and prostate cancer and greatly reduces his risk for perianal tumors.
5: Early neutering reduces aggressive behavior in your male and his need to mark the house and furniture with strong-smelling urine. Additionally, he will be less inclined to roam or dart out the door, which could result in a traffic injury, fatality or impregnating a female.
6: Negative behavioral issues that are typically the by-product of an unaltered cat are often the reason a cat is brought to a shelter or dumped on the streets. Early spay/neuter can stop these problems from happening in the first place.
7: possible weight gain as a result of spay/neuter can be managed by proper diet and exercise, so a cat ddoes not have to be destined to a life of obesity.
by deborah Barnes
learn more about spay/neuter at www.CATCHANNEL.COM/EXCLUSIVES