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When to neuter and spay

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hi, I've been lurking for a while but decided it's time to post!

We're getting two Maine Coon kittens in a few weeks time (one boy and one girl), and are wondering when to spay and neuter them. They will be 13 weeks old.

My husband is hoping that the boy will grow quite big, and the breeder suggested that we can wait until his urine is more smelly, and then get him neutered quickly at this point, which she said is likely to be when he is 6-7 months old. However, the breeder advises that the girl can be spayed earlier than that.

I just wanted to find out what you guys thought. Is it better to get them done at the same time so they can recover together? Does delaying the male neutering optimize his growth? What do you guys consider the optimum time for spaying or neutering?

Many thanks from a soon-to-be first-time cat owner!
post #2 of 27
Hello and welcome I'm fairly new myself. I'm sure there will be experienced catsiters along to help you. I've seen some catsiters here say that it can't be doon soon enough. I took my male to a low cost spay/neuter clinic for $25, but they won't take them until they are 4 mos old. However, I've talked to vets that won't do it until they are 6 mos old. Maybe you can find some that will do it sooner.

While I wouldn't wait too long because cats can get away from ya or make a quick dash out the door, maybe you could do the female ASAP and hold off on the male for a bit? There will be other opinions. But I want to tell you that I too am jealous of my friend's very buff male cat that was apparently not neutered until full grown...but he was a stray that they took in after he had already been neutered...lucky ducks.
post #3 of 27
I would suggest holding off till they 6 months.

Well I am new to all this but that is what I plan on doing with my little angel and I have read some where else that is a good time do it.

But I really not sure. Good luck though. You are so lucky to be getting maine coon, i would love one. maybe one day.
post #4 of 27
Hi and welcome! I would do the male as soon as your vet will agree to do it - and they do vary quite a bit. A male can produce sperm up to a month after being neutered, so you need to be careful if your female is approaching maturity. Most vets will only spay females at 5-6 months, but again you may find one who will do it sooner. Try and do it before her first heat as it reduces the chances of some cancers later. But here some vets will only do it after the first heat, and I have the problem right now of a 6 month old kitten in heat because the vet will not spay her until a full month has passed after her second set of shots! So those are questions to ask your vet so you are not caught out. Enjoy your kittens and remember to post pix!
post #5 of 27
Hi there
I too am all new here! I have a brother and sister. I had the male neutered at 5 months, my vets said that as long as the testicles are visable then its no problem especially as its not a very intrusive operation for a male. He also reminded me that cats have no notion of incest so not to leave them too long before deciding. His sister was spade today and they are both 6 months. All seems to have gone well apart from him hissing at her cause she smells all funny/weird! This will pass.
Good luck with your new babies!
post #6 of 27
Humane societies regularly spay/neuter kittens when they reach 2 pounds, or at about 8 weeks old. Many of my younger cats were fixed this young but my older ones were done about 6 months old. The practice of an 8 week/2 pound speuter has been practiced for about 20 years now and has gained prevelance in the last 5 years. In all the research that I've read, the only adverse effect, if you even consider it as adverse, is that some males will have a smaller head when they reach maturity. If you think about it, you can usually tell when an adult male isn't neutered or was neutered very late by the fact that they have that big lion sized head.

Many vets today are still very old school, and suggest waiting until they are about 6 months old. Science no longer supports this theory. If you want a male cat with a bulky head, then wait until he is about 6 months old, but there is no reason why you couldn't get both of them fixed right now. Neutering young doesn't stunt their growth at all.
post #7 of 27
I'm not sure what to believe. Early neutering didn't seem to make much difference in my 16+ lb. Siamese boy. He is very muscular and has a very masculine muzzle. (And he's too heavy to hold for very long by his meowmy.)
post #8 of 27
This is my personal opinion, but I would get them both fixed as soon as your vet will do it. Pediatric spaying/neutering prevetns any unwanted litters & ensures that there will be fewer unwanted cats in this world. I see way too many of them as is.
post #9 of 27
i also agree with doing it ASAP. One of my male cats was neueterd already when I adopted him at 10 weeks, and he's now 17lbs! So go ahead and do it, if he's going to get big, he'll get big.
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. There seems to be so many different opinions! At the moment I'm thinking that once they're settled in their new home I'll register them with a vet and take the vet's advice on when to neuter and spay. But any more advice welcomed!

I do already have pics, but I'm not sure how to add them. Could anyone advise please?
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've managed to add photos of Bruce and Sheila in the fur pictures section - I can't find an attachments option on this thread!
post #12 of 27
I also recommend doing it right away. I have them done at 8 weeks or as soon as the vet will do it. It is so important and by waiting you run the risk of the male getting the female pregnant or one of them escaping or the male sprayng. Why on earth you would wait until his urine starts getting smelly is beyond me because then me may also spray and at that point it is hard to turn that behavior and the smelly pee around...

Unfortunately some vets are still old fashioned and insist on waiting until 6 months, and also some other countries it is normal to wait that long. But it greatly reduces their risk of cancer and other problems when they are older if they are done BEFORE they mature. But just for your average housecats, there us no reason at all to wait until 6 months. When I contact vets for spaying and neutering, if they say they won't do it until 6 months, I cross that vet off my list and find a more up to date vet. But that is just me.
post #13 of 27
If they were single kittens, you could wait a few months, but being brother/sister and the fact that both sexes can breed at 4-5 months old, its better to get them done now. If you can only afford one at a time, do the female first so he won't breed her if she comes into heat.

You don't want the male to be spraying either. If these are only pet cats and you are not showing them, get them done early.
post #14 of 27
I would also get them done asap. They can mate far earlier than you would imagine and you don't want to end up with inbred kittens My vet wouldn't do the females until about 6 months but that was years ago and many will do it earlier now. The male they did very young. Nearly all shelters spay and neuter when they are 8 - 10 weeks old, and I'm very surprised your breeder didn't have them done before you get them or include in the contract that it needed to be done in a certain amount of time. Is it a reputable breeder?
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks again guys. I haven't chosen a vet yet, but will make their neuter/spay policy one of the deciding factors. I will also show my husband your responses so he understands why it is a good idea to neuter and spay early.

The breeder is responsible, and is an active member of the Maine Coon Cat Club and Maine Coon Breed Society, and all their kittens are registered with the GCCF. It is a condition of us taking the kittens that we get them neutered, but we haevn't got the kittens yet so haven't seen the contract. I think the pedigree certificate is witheld until they have been done.

We will get them when they are 3 months old, and I think we'll wait until they are happy and settled with us (hopefully about a month?) and then have them both done together. Hopefully that will avoid one of them freaking at the funny vet smell of the other!
post #16 of 27
I agree that it's a good idea to get them fixed earlier rather than later.

I think you have a good plan to have them both done at once, too. It's been my experience that males bouce back to normal much faster than females, though. They're often back to causing regular kitten mischief the night of their neuter day. So you probably still need to keep a close eye on them for a day or two after, to make sure the boy isn't playing too rough w/the girl, until she's had a chance to recover.
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've just telephoned my three closest vets, and one will neuter/spay at 5 months, and the others will do it at 6 months! We must be behind the times here (I'm in the UK).

I also asked about cost, and it varies between £23 and £35 for a neuter, and £30 and £43 for a spay. How can costs vary so much when surely it is a standard operation?!

Typically, the surgery that will neuter/spay at 5 months is the one with the high prices! Money is not really a problem for us, but it does seem like money down the drain when it would cost £25 less to get the pair done somewhere else.

How do you choose a vet? Should I visit them all? It seems harder than choosing a doctor!
post #18 of 27
You wil be able to spay or neuter them right away! Being MC's, I'm sure they will be over 2 pounds, and they will also be over 8 weeks. This is called a pediatric spay/neuter....there are NO additional risks, but it is a fairly new procedure so some vets may not agree to do it because they are not trained to. Old school vets will S/N at 4-6 months...this is problematic because many kittens are already capable of producing kittens at that point, and both spay-aborts and birthing are risky for kittens so young. The health benefits of spaying and neutering are much greater when done before sexual maturity.
post #19 of 27
Saki was only 13 weeks when he was neutered and doesnt seem to have any problems (accept a bout with crystals but that's under control now). Different vets have different opinions on when to spay and neuter. With males its a pretty simple procedure so I think its fine to do it when they're young.
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've just visited the vet and registered the kittens - and booked them in for their spay and neuter on 18 June, when they will be exactly 5 months old, which is the earliest any vet will do them in my area.

I could have waited until 6 months and got it done more cheaply, but I met the vet and the veterinary nurse and they were both really nice and reassuring, so hopefully our kittens will be in safe hands. I'm getting them microchipped at the same time.

Thanks for all your advice!
post #21 of 27
Originally Posted by Bruce&Sheila View Post
I'm getting them microchipped at the same time.
post #22 of 27
Originally Posted by Bruce&Sheila View Post
How do you choose a vet? Should I visit them all? It seems harder than choosing a doctor!
It sounds like you have already selected a vet, but if you aren't happy with them and want to find another:

First I ask people I know in the area for recommendations to narrow down my search of vets. I tend to pick people that I know are good pet parents. I make up a list of questions that are important to me and call around to interview them. I start with the person at the desk or ask for a vet tech. If necessary, I will ask to speak to the vet. The types of questions range from their office hours, the cost of basic annual checkups/shots, their ability to handle emergencies, to their philosophy on how they treat terminally ill cats.
post #23 of 27
Mine get done at 3 1/2 months (low cost clinic i use is 4mos but the two weeks dif isn't to long as they are 3 lbs they allow it) years ago when I used a regular vet he required them to be 6 months old-he was a very older man and think his training went with his schooling age that you wait) As for the vet hunt ask friends/family/neighbors with animals who are well taken care of who they use-chacnes are you'll notice a clinic or two keeps poping up. that and also ask the vet recep. for a number or two they outsorce to if they have to many patients to handle for the day-I found my current vet from my old vets reccomendations(moved 10 miles and the new vet is few blocks away-in a emergency this means that much less time getting there)
post #24 of 27
If you dont mind me asking, whereabouts in the UK are you? There aren't a lot of vets that will spay young over here, but there are some.
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Momofmany, thanks for your good advice about how to choose a vet.

I only know one person with pets, and he doesn't particularly recommend his vet! Yesterday I phoned round 5 or 6 to get basic info such as opening times, emergency facilities and neutering policy. Today I popped into the one I liked the sound of the best, and I had a brief chat with a very nice vet, and a longer chat with a veterinary nurse, and I feel very happy with their attitude and the appearance of the place.

Perhaps I could have found a vet that would neuter them at a younger age if I'd phoned round a wider area, but I think we can cope with 5 months, and the vets are conveniently located for us.

Booktigger, I'm in north Birmingham, UK. Although I've already chosen a vet, I wouldn't say no to further recommendations in my area, in case this vet doesn't work out!
post #26 of 27
Hey Bruce& Sheila! At the risk of repeating whats been said, I got my male done at 5 months which cost me £24 the microchipping was another £15. My female was 6 months, done this week in fact and was £35 and the same for her microchipping, she needed her front claws trimming as she was constantly attached to my net curtains which they didnt charge for.
You are right, most UK vets dont seem to neuter before 5 months for males and 6 for females. My vet said that its all about size for the female, when they are younger that 6 months its generally more difficult to see their tiny organs to do the surgery. It seems that you have done your homework and thats all any of us can do. I am sure your babies will do just fine. Good luck X
post #27 of 27
hmm, dont know any in Birmingham off hand, I am closer to Manchester, but near the Yorkshire border, and there is a vet about 30 mins from me who will neuter at 8 weeks old - kitten or puppy. Shame you aren't closer really, fingers crossed yours dont try to do anything before they are old enough to be done.
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