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Neutering & I.D. Questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Julius is now a few days shy of 5 months old. I've called around to a few different vet clinics to compare neuter prices. One of the places I called was the SPCA Hospital, who told me that all cats being neutered there MUST be tattooed as well. I asked whether I can refuse the tattoo and get him microchipped instead -- the answer was no. That I could pay for a microchip, but I can't refuse the tattoo.

Are your cats tattooed? He is my first cat, so I don't know if this is something every cat owner does.. I'm used to dogs and microchipping them.

Secondly, is 5 months old still too young to be neutered? That same hospital told me to wait until he is 5.5 months old, but another vet has said close to 5 months is okay. Another vet who specializes in cats says she won't do the surgery until they're around 5 lbs.

Doesn't seem to be any consistency and now I'm really iffy on who to bring him to The vet he HAD been seeing for his check-ups and vaccinations just doesn't seem to know his stuff (long story) and I just can't trust him.

So...any advice?

post #2 of 9
5 lbs is pretty normal for a "good weight" but it sounds like Canada has some UK/EU opinions on "best age" for altering. In the US you can get kittens from the SPCA that are 10 weeks and altered -- even females. Arguably it's not a good idea for females, as their skin around the incision can get saggy (and typically SPCA techs are focused on being fast, not perfect).

I just had my Abyssinian neutered, at 4.4 lbs and 4 months old. The vet had no problem doing it. It's a more taxing surgery on females, obviously, but that doesn't affect Julius.

Calling around is a good idea anyway, as the price can vary drastically. I would suggest not going to the cheapest place, and the SPCA does typically tattoo animals (so they know if they end up back at the SPCA). It's not something you see under the fur but I agree it's a bit odd for a regular pet, not an SPCA adoptee.
post #3 of 9
We don't have our animals tattood, just microchiped. Apperently people tattoo dogs as well because when I registered Thor they asked if he had a tattoo.

I would say 5 months would be ok as long as he is a good weight, which it sounds like he is. With all three of our cats we waited until they were 6 months. Another really good way to tell if they are ready is to check their teeth. That's a really good way of knowing how old they are and how mature they are. Stuart is about 5 months old and he still has his baby teeth, on the way out, and they won't neuter him until they fall out. So check his teeth and see what you think.
post #4 of 9
It seems to be pretty standard over here to tattoo (free of charge) at the time of spay/neuter/microchip with a D for desexed in one ear and M in the other.

You can refuse though.

It is possible to find vets in Canada who'll do early spay/neuter, when I was living there we had a litter of kittens done at 12 weeks.

My current kittens were all desexed (in Aus) at 10 weeks by their breeder.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies.

Yes, dogs do get tattooed, too, but that's not very common these days. I think most people prefer microchip because it can't fade or get altered like tattoos can.

It's just weird that the SPCA Hospital won't let him get out of there without stamping one on him even if I'm to chip him.

Anyway, is 5 months definitely an okay age to have him neutered? He is at a good weight, I suppose. He was last weighed a few weeks ago and he's been growing like mad, so I don't know. I was on a discussion list now and people are discussing how early neutering can be bad or affect growth. How early is "early"? Are they talking about weeks or under 6 months? So confusing.
post #6 of 9
Early is less than 3 months. 5 months is fine. Some people prefer to let them get very close to adult ages, so that males develop close to their full tomcat size, with the jowly face and larger bone structure.

The argument on your list seems to be by people who just discovered that hormones affect growth. Yes, if you neuter a cat while it's young, it will not grow to its full adult size because it won't receive a rush of hormones. That's not rocket science, it's basic biology. It's semantics whether altering a pet causes its growth to be stunted, or if it simply prevents puberty-oriented growth.

Cats don't care if they're smaller or bigger, though. They don't develop complexes that their owners fixed them too soon, making them smaller than all the other cats. The bigger worry, to me, is to alter them before they develop any of the "adult" behaviors, such as spraying or going into heat. I'd rather neuter a month early than wake up to a living room full of stinky cat pee. Generally you simply want them big enough to be able to handle the surgery and have no ill effects afterwards. Hence, it's more important for females to be larger, as its major surgery, compared to the relatively minor surgery of castration for males.

In other words, the older and healthier they are, the less likely that complications will happen during the procedure. But it's more important for females, and most breeders push for between 5-6 months simply because you can be more sure that the cat is going to be a good size (even the runt).
post #7 of 9
The Winn Feline Foundation did a study on early altering, they found that the kittens done early are larger, taller and longer than those neutered later in life.

post #8 of 9
I work for shelters who do literally thousands of cat spay/neuters and even more kitten early spay/neuters and there has been no more risk to the youngsters than you see with any older cat.

Most vets right now recommend 5-6 months since early spay/neuter is a newer idea. Pretty soon it will catch on and I imagine more and more vets will offer this to the public.
post #9 of 9
Dunno about cats but there are studies that prove neutering young impacts the behavior in dogs when they are grown. It was especially found that females were more agressive. Several service dog groups won't neuter at less than 5months now. I think it makes sense. I've seen large differences in livestock cut young versus after they were adults. Consider if a human child never went through puberty. If they never received those hormones. It makes a difference in physical structure, health, and emotions. Reason why if I can I prefer to wait as long as possible and I let my dog go through 1 heat cycle before spaying. However I do entirely agree with shelters neutering early. You can't really adopt an animal out not being entire-*ly sure if the new owners will neuter on time or properly look after the animal if it isn't neutered so that it doesn't get pregnant or cause pregnancies. If you can't keep your animal completely confined from any other unaltered animals (including strays that might come on your propery) you should neuter before they are old enough to have a chance of coming into heat.

A tattoo can be a good idea. I make sure to put on collars with ID even when mine are chipped. Microchips can be missed and not everyone checks cats for microchips. So many barn cats and dumped house cats show up in shelters here that I doubt they manage to check them all in detail. I know lots of people who take in stray cats and never check for a microchip. I also came across a post on another forum of someone who found a cat and was planning to keep it when it was suggested to check for a microchip. Turns out the cat had an owner and it wouldn't have gotten back there if someone else hadn't told them to check it.

Any typing errors, misspellings or odd symbols I missed are to be blamed on the kitten who won't stop attacking my keyboard.
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