Best age to Spay a kitten? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-18-2005, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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Best age to Spay a kitten?

I am sure it has been posted here many times before, but being relatively new to the forum, I was hoping I could get an answer without having to read back too far. I have a slight dilemma, and I hope someone with veterinary experience (or a lot of kitten experience) can help me out.

My 18 y.o. daughter has adopted a kitten. Her dad wants her to have the kitten spayed by the end of the month (long story, but it has to do with teaching adult daughter responsibility and priorities). We think Emmy (daughter's kitty) was born late March or early April.

My other daughter found a kitten last summer that was (at most!) only 10-12 weeks old. She (Jazzy-Cat) was found while visiting "grandma" in Arkansas. Jazz was near a busy highway and miles from any residence.

We attempted every means possible to find an owner, but no one came forward. The assumption was made that she was "dumped" there.

A few weeks later, "grandma" and my daughter took her in to their local vet to be spayed. He commented (after he had mutilated the poor kitty) that he noticed a scar when he shaved her, but since he couldn't be sure he proceeded with the surgery, finding no ovaries or uterus (GRRRR...when he saw the scar, why didn't he call?) Poor Jazz was "spayed" twice...

Anyway, back to new kitty: Emmy. She is about 4 months and my hubby wants her spayed asap...OUR vet says no and that she should be 6 months at least. Vets in Arkansas, (those my mom has contacted) say that they frequently alter "pound" kitties as young as 6 weeks (which may explain why Jazz was spayed so young...)

What is the general rule in regards to the best age to spay a kitten?

Thanks in advance for any info!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-18-2005, 03:19 PM
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I am a Veterinary Nurse, and we spey from 5-6 months of age. 4 months is acceptable, but a little too young for my liking, I must admit.

Because we do a lot of charity neutering, we have had a few animals that have been opened up, only to find they are already done! Its really sad, but we still open them up. A scar midline does not necessarily mean a cat (or dog) has been speyed, it just means that animal has had abdominal surgery. A scar on the flank (where we neuter from in the UK) is more suspicious.

Ems
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-18-2005, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply Ems

I was so heartbroken when I learned that poor little Jazz had been opened for no reason. As far as I know, that is the only way it is done in the US. When I took her to my vet for her regular vaccines (after she had been "spayed twice") I mentioned the event to our vet. He said that they occassionally get a female cat (whose origin was unknown) in for neutering, then find the tell-tale scar. At that point, they will not go further until the kitty goes into an obvious 'heat' (menarche).

I had questioned the first vet as to why he didn't at least contact us when he noticed the scar (since she was so young when she was found) and he simply "shrugged" and stated that was their policy: since we paid for her spay, they wanted to be sure she was spayed. I would have been willing to wait, if there was any question at all. It was so very sad to put her through that pain.

We are certain about my other daughter's kitten though, as she was a member of a litter from a friend's cat. The only thing we don't know is her exact age, but she can pin it down to the last week of March or first week of April.

What are the "cons" to having her spayed at 4 months as opposed to 5 or 6? Are they serious health or developmental risks? The kitten is starting to become a bit aggressive in her behavior, but I doubt that is related to anything more than my daughter spoils her badly (but in a good way...she just hasn't learned to teach her proper kitty-manners, yet.)

Thanks again!
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2005, 03:56 AM
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There are no reals pros or cons to getting her done that little bit younger, it should not affect her health and it won't change her current behaviour much - most kittens that age get a little 'playful' Kittens have been known to come into season as young as 4 months, though I've never experienced that. All my cats are boys, so my decisions were easier I left my two youngest a little later to let them mature a little before I got them the snip.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2005, 06:54 AM
 
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Cats should be spayed no later than 4 months as they can go into heat at 4 months and actually become pregnant.

I know how you feel about the double spay. I brought in a feral one time and told them I "thought" it was a girl. The vet cut it open and then realized it was a boy. I had to think, was she cutting it with her eyes closed that she couldn't see it was a male? I thought that was horrible that she did that. She wasn't a charity vet either, just one who didn't pay attention to what the heck she was doing.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2005, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Cats should be spayed no later than 4 months as they can go into heat at 4 months and actually become pregnant.
I disagree, unless the cat is outdoor/feral. We would not usually spey a female cat before 5 months, and more commonly 6 months. As long as owners are responsible and keep them indoors, of course
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2005, 03:44 PM
 
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The shelters are full of kittens from owners who "meant to keep them indoors." The price paid by unwanted litters is not worth it. Our local shelter doesn't allow an animal out of his doors without first being spayed/neutered. They fix them as young as 8 weeks of age. Advocating that people wait is only playing russian roulet with kittens that aren't needed in this world right now.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2005, 04:00 PM
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I know, which is why I do think shelters, etc need to neuter as early as possible. And if a cat does get out, we always recommend speying ASAP whether they have been mated or in season. I know it happens, but cats rarely come into season before 6 months.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2005, 04:11 PM
 
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I really don't want to argue with you about this issue. I resuce animals for a living so I know the numbers of kittens being born to cats younger than 6 months, they total into the thousands every year. Like I said before, it's a game of russian roulet not to fix the cat at 4 months and the stakes are too high not to.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2005, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
 
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Resolved.

Emmy went in this morning for her spay and is currently recovering.
She will be allowed to go home in the morning. The vet my daughter took her to (she is visiting grandma) was of the opinion that she is approx. 5 months of age and at the ideal age, weight and condition to be spayed. He is also a rural vet and charges 1/8th what the vets in our area charge for a spay.

From the day my daughter adopted her, she was never out of my daughter's sight, unless I was kitty-sitting. All of my kitties are (with the exception of Jazz, who is harness-trained and taken out every evening in nice weather) indoor only.

None of our furrkids (or, in my case, grand-kitties since they belong to my daughters) will be parenting...two neutered males and two spayed females. That is a lot fewer unwanted kittens, if one takes the time to do the math.
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