Why and When to Neuter Kittens

Neutering Your Kitten

Male Kittens are typically neutered between 4 to 6 months of age. Neutering kittens improves behavior, lowers aggression and reduces spraying.

When to Neuter your Cat or Kitten

Dear Simba,
We just brought home our new little guy, J.R. He is
6-weeks-old. When should we get him neutered? How much will it cost? McGrath's

Hi McGrath's,
Congratulations on your new kitten! Male kittens are usually neutered at between 4 to 6 months of age. However, the AVMA has endorsed early age neutering of dogs and cats 8 to 16-weeks-old. You and your vet can decide in a few weeks.

Neutering is a must for many reasons:

  • It will make your cat more affectionate
  • It will prevent loud and persistent calling for mates
  • It will make him a less aggressive
  • It reduces 'roaming' behavior where kitty runs off to find a mate
  • It will decrease the likelyhood of his getting into fights with other cats (and getting injured as a result)
  • It will prevent indoor (and outdoor) spraying.
  • Neutering will reduce your cat's 'roaming' behavior (your cat will be less likely to runs off to find a mate).

  • Neutering will decrease the likelyhood of his getting into fights with other cats (and getting injured as a result).

  • Neutering will prevent indoor (and outdoor) spraying.
In sum, neutering your cat or kitten will increase your cat's expected life span and the quality of his life. As to cost, neutering should cost somewhere between $50 to $100. The amount may exclude blood work fees which could add another $50 to $100 to your cost. - Simba

PS - folks interested in finding a good andinexpensive neutering solution can check out the following sites: Spayusa.org, LoveThatCat.com

Hi Simba,
I recently took shelter to Snickers, a 3-month-old male kitten. I also have 2 females I am going to get spayed in a few weeks. One of the kittens is in her heat cycle and I was wondering if Snickers is old enough to realize he is a male...I do not want an accident.. I noticed him biting her on her neck. Do I need to separate them now or will I be ok until the operation? Leia

Dear Leia,
You should be ok for a few weeks. Male cats do not become sexually mature until they are 6 months or older so you are ok for now...This assumes that Snickers is not older than you think he is... Simba

Prevent Cat From Spraying

Hello Simba,
We have 2 cats that are almost twin brothers. They are for the most part...good cats. The problem is that they are spraying around the house. We asked a family friend about getting them neutered, with some hope of this stopping...However we were told that it was too late and that if they were not already neutered prior to them spraying then they would not stop spraying. Is this true, if so what are some options that we can do to get them to quit? Kevin and Cindy

Dear Kevin & Cindy,
It is always good to neuter your cats ,unless you are breeding them.

Spraying is an act through which male cats mark territory. They do this to attract females in heat and to discourage other males from intruding on their turf. Spraying can also occur when males feel stressed or threatened (i.e., introducing a new cat to the house). Your best bet for stopping this behavior is to have them neutered.

In addition, you need to thoroughly clean all areas where they have done their deeds (see Litter Usage section for reasons why). The spraying should stop or diminish following their operations. This problem can be corrected so do not fret! Simba

My Kitten is 7-months-old. His urine has an pungent odor. It is so bad the smell comes up through the vents from the basement and nearly makes the entire house smell! He has not been fixed yet. Could this have something to do with it? Eileen

Dear Eileen,
It is common for un-neutered male cats usually have very foul-smelling odor in their urine. This should go away once he has his operation. However, should it persist it could be indicative of a more serious medical condition. In that case, please consult with your vet to ensure that it is nothing to do with his kidneys. If you are not already doing so please only feed him cat food. Simba

Early Age Kitten Neutering

Hiya Simba,
I adopted a little baby on Friday - 8-week-old Hamish, a "moggie" who Is absolutely adorable. Prior to being put up for adoption he was wormed, vaccinated, micro-chipped and.....neutered. he is a tiny scrap of a thing and I am concerned about his future health because he was neutered so young! They had to operate, as his testicles had not dropped. Poor little mite has stitches in his tummy!

He is very happy and healthy, races around the house, eats like a horse, uses the litter tray, is putting on weight and seems fine. But is 8 weeks too young to neuter him? What effect will this have on him in the future? One of my friends mentioned he could have urinary tract problems later in life. - Helen (Sydney, Australia)

Dear Helen,
Poor little guy!! According to the AVMA early neutering & spaying not appear to cause any long-term damage to cats. At 8 weeks Hamish should be ok.

In fact, in 1993 the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) House of Delegates approved a resolution that stated its support for spaying and neutering of dogs and cats as young as 8 to 16 weeks of age.

In addition, according to a study published in the JAVMA a study published in the JAVMA (Vol 217, No. 11 in 12/1/2000) in a group of 263 cats studied early age neutering "did not result in an increased incidence of infectious disease, behavioral problems, or problems associated with any body system..." The study concluded that early age neutering may be performed safely in cats without concern for increased incidence of physical or behavioral problems. So if the AVMA says it is ok, I suspect Hamish will be fine.

As for his special situation it appears he is what is called a cryptorchid. These are cats whose testicles have not descended fully onto the scrotal sac after birth (most male cats' testicles descend into the scrotal sac prior to birth). These types of cats require a more extensive surgery to locate the testicles and remove them, which is what appears to have happened. Just be sure to feed him a nutritious diet. Monitor his bathroom behavior and go to your vet if you suspect something is amiss. Urinary tract disease can be caused by diet quality and can impact cats regardless of what age they were spayed/neutered. Your Pal, Simba

Dear Simba,
We have a 3-month-old male cat named Sniffles. I was wondering how long before 6 months of age can he be neutered? A local vet here said anytime after 3 months. We (my wife and I) want to avoid having him begin marking his territory. Concerned for kitty

Dear Concerned for Kitty,
You can have Sniffles neutered anytime after 8 weeks. It is unlikely that he will begin spraying prior to that time. Simba

Vasectomy for Cats??

Dear Simba,
I have three cats: a 2-year-old female, an 18-month-old male and a 7-month-old female (whose parents are the two first). They bred normally until now, but I do not want any more 'babies'…at least for now.

We live in Brazil and I talked to local vets about performing a vasectomy on the male, since I did not want to interrupt his sexual life.

One said that it is not a good idea, because cats are different from humans and mount only to breed. He also mentioned that constant sexual intercourse without breeding could cause infections in the females. He said the best solution was to neuter the male.

I really do not want to neuter the male. I know he will be calmer, but he is already calm. He does not spray. I live in an apartment flat and the females are about to go into heat. I also think he is too old to be neutered and I do not want fat cats ('Garfields').

I do not want also to spay the females, because in the future I want them to breed with another male. What should I do? Guilherme

Dear Guilherme,
I agree with your vet that you should not do a vasectomy on your male cat. The operation is not necessary and as your vet said will cause all sorts of problems. Vets are not routinely trained to perform vasectomies and I can imagine you do not want someone experimenting on your kitty!

You are kind to worry about your cat's enjoying himself, but as your vet said, cats mount only to breed. The whole act takes no more than a few seconds and is very unlike that for other animals. Being neutered, your cat will still be a loving caring creature and he will not become lazy or fat unless you allow him to become that way. Anyway, 18 months is not too old.

As for the females, do not spay them if you plan on breeding them. At the same time, if you do spay them you can always adopt a new cat...There are many loving kitties out there in need of homes! Keep me posted. Simba

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