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When to Spay a Cat

The Best Time for This Important Procedure

By Lauren Leonardi . November 22, 2013 | See Comments

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A Kitten Being Held By A Veterinarian

Spaying your female cat is always a big decision. Who doesn't love new kittens running around the house? But there are many benefits of spaying for both cats and pet parents alike. Find out here what they are and when is the best time to get your cat fixed.

When a female cat is spayed, her reproductive organs are removed, which makes her unable to give birth to a litter of kittens. The procedure, more formally known as an ovariohysterectomy, is common, safe, and in most cases, highly recommended. But when should it be done? Here we cover when to spay a cat.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SPAY A CAT?

The recommended age for having a female cat spayed is just before they reach sexual maturity, around 5-8 months. They should weigh at least 2 pounds at the time of the procedure.

Spaying is recommended for female kittens before their first heat when possible. Signs of female heat will be obvious. If your young cat goes into heat before you’re able to have her spayed, keep her indoors, wait until the heat passes, and have her spayed just after.

UPSIDES OF SPAYING

Behavioral
Spayed cats tend to be more affectionate and docile. Because their sex drive is reduced, they’re less likely to wander and roam.

Health Benefits
Removing your cat’s sex organs eliminates the likelihood that she’ll develop cancer in those organs, and drastically reduces the likelihood that she’ll develop cancer of the mammaries.

Population Control
Spaying kitties prevents unwanted litters. Millions of cats are euthanized in America each year. Spaying and neutering our cats, and keeping the streets free of unwanted litters, is one of the most fair and kind things we cat lovers can do.

DOWNSIDES OF SPAYING

Most reported downsides of spaying have been debunked as myths. The remaining legitimate downside to early spaying is possible weight gain -- “fixed” pets have a tendency to gain weight. Resolve this by adjusting your cat’s diet, with the input of your vet. Be sure to offer your cat lots of play time to help her get exercise.

FOR BREEDING CATS

If you wish to breed your cat, do so responsibly and purposefully. Before breeding, look for resources related to your cat’s breed to see if she meets breed standards. Take her for a checkup with your vet to see if she’d be passing along hereditary diseases. If you decide to leave your cat unaltered so that she may breed, be sure to keep her indoors and away from other unaltered cats, to prevent unwanted pregnancies. If you decide you’d like to stop breeding your cat, have her spayed as soon as she’s weaned her litter. Unaltered male kittens at just 14 weeks of age have been known to impregnate their siblings and other cats in the house, so don’t wait too long, and take care to separate kittens if you want to prevent breeding.

More on Cat Health

How Much Should Neutering a Pet Cost?
All About Spaying and Neutering Dogs and Cats
Kitten Health Basics

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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