Early Neutering

We at Cwtchycats are huge advocates of early neutering for numerous reasons. Utmost among these reasons are the benefits for the cats themselves. We are very fortunate to have a cat specialist vet who has carried out this procedure for many years and mentors other vets in doing it. The kittens come home after neutering, and you literally wouldn't know they had had an operation. They bounce out of the carrier, and eat and play exactly the same as before they went in for their ops. They don't have stitches that need removing and they don't wear a collar either. Our vet uses very soft sutures which don't irritate them, so there is no need for a collar, which stresses kittens out. When we take in ex breeding cats for neutering, it is a different story - their recovery is much longer and they are out of sorts for a few days. Another benefit to the new owners of early neutering is that the kittens hormones haven't kicked in prior to the op, so they are far less likely to exhibit hormonal behaviour like spraying in the house. Plus the new owners won't need to take time off of work to visit the vet, collect them after their ops and let them recuperate (if done later on in life), plus there is no danger of an 'oops' litter! As breeders, it is a huge benefit for us, as we know that  none of our kittens will end up in the hands of Backyard Breeders, but instead will be exactly what we always intended - much loved and pampered pets!

The following is an summary of research endorsed by TICA and conducted by a number of universities including the University of Florida. 

THE INTERNATIONAL CAT ASSOCIATION, INC.
EARLY SPAY & NEUTER: PROS AND CONS

An informative look at the pros and cons of early spay or neuter.

A Brief Look at Early Spay and Neuter

The concept of early spaying and neutering (before the animal is sexually mature) is not a new one. The philosophy of early spaying and neutering of pets has been practiced for over 50 years in North America. It was not until much later that questions and concerns were raised about the possibility of negative side effects in practicing this procedure.

  • Concerns were that the animal may suffer from long-term effects such as: stunted growth, a higher tendency to obesity, a lack of desire to be active or an undesirable behavior pattern. It was believed that waiting until a pet was older increased the safety of surgery. In addition, there were concerns that early altering would increase the incidence of feline lower urinary tract disease.


These concerns have been tested and researched, thoroughly, by many different universities and have resulted in some findings that are worth studying and understanding, before making any conclusions on when to spay or neuter your pet.

University Study Conducted on the
Benefits or Drawbacks of Early Spay or Neuter

Studies conducted on the benefits or drawbacks of early spaying or neutering were done by the University of Florida. These studies were funded by The Winn Feline Foundation, in conjunction with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). These extensive studies were monitored very seriously and concluded that the spaying or neutering of an animal, before it has reached sexual maturity, has no known ill side effects. On the contrary, research has found that early spaying or neutering of your pet can aid in the recovery process, giving your pet a speedy and virtually painless recovery. Years ago, when safe pediatric anesthetic techniques were not available, waiting until a patient was older increased the safety of surgery. Altering no longer needs to be delayed for this reason. These studies were conducted on animals ranging from 7 weeks old to 12 months old. Those 7 weeks old did not react any differently than those who were 12 months old.

  • Results from the studies performed in Florida were as follows:
    • Growth may be prolonged if the procedure is performed prior to sexual maturity or the animal's first heat. This can be a benefit for the pet owner who has an unusually small pet and would like for it to become a little larger.
    • Observations of urinary tract development showed no differences between those altered early and those altered post 7 months (other than the differences related to sex). The investigators measured the diameter of the urethra in the male kittens and found no differences between the groups.
    • Contrary to popular belief, the neutered group of animals was just as active as their unaltered counterparts.
    • Spaying a female can actually protect her against mammary cancer and uterine infections. In males, neutering reduces the risk of testicular cancer and enlargement of the prostate and related infections.
    • From a pet owner’s point of view, the altered pet is a much better companion than their unaltered counterparts. They have a tendency to be less aggressive and more affectionate. And, since they are not motivated by the urge to reproduce, they are less prone to roam and fight.

Why Advocate Early Spay & Neuter?

There are obvious reasons to spay or neuter your pet as soon as possible. These reasons are both for the welfare of the general animal population and for your own pet's health.

  • Pet population control is a growing concern. By spaying or neutering your pet, you can help contribute to reducing this problem. Responsible pet owners can and should make a collective effort to insure that all pets are neutered, thus preventing any further increases in unwanted pets.
    • Susan Dixon, DVM who fully endorses early altering and has done hundreds of baby kittens, says, "The surgery is EASY and the kittens heal so fast".
  • A Healthy Pet is a happy pet, and the earlier they are spayed or neutered the less likely they are to remember the procedure and the more likely they are to have a speedy recovery.
  • Ask your veterinarian about concerns you may have on early spay/neuter.

©1998 updated 2001 Brigitte McMinn ~ TICA Feline Welfare Committee