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Cat spay - how early?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
We have two kittens that are going to be outdoor cats. We've had them closed up in the garage with the mom (the mom has just been spayed) for 4 months. We already found homes for the others, but these 2 are going to remain here. There are fields on our property where they're going to live. We think it would be a good idea to have them spayed/neutered (1 male, 1 female) before letting them out since there are a few other cats that are field cats. I found out that they can be spayed at 4 months, but it is advised that the cat is 3.5-4 pounds first. I always heard that they should be 6 months. The girl is pretty small - I have a scale that I can weigh her on. I'd like to wait a bit, but the cats are anxious to be out. I'm afraid of her getting pregnant, or us not being able to catch her again. She is pretty tame though - we've successfully trapped and spayed 3 other outdoor cats. How soon can she get pregnant? My Maisey didn't go into heat until almost a year old.
post #2 of 10
She can go into heat as early as 4 months, but as you've noticed sometimes they don't go into heat until much later.

Generally, it's best to wait until they're about 5lbs or so. This is more important for females as a spay is much more involved surgery. You can do it earlier -- my friend has a female kitten that was spayed at 10 weeks, by the SPCA -- but there's more risk involved.

If you're worried about her becoming pregnant, and she's over 4 months old, she *should* be fine. I'd say there's more risk in leaving them unaltered since they're outdoor cats, so you might as well get it done now.
post #3 of 10
Cats don't have to be in heat to get pregnant. And they can breed and get pregnant as young as 4 months old. So if these will not be indoor cats, then you should get them both done now before they are allowed to roam or you will wind up with a pregnant kitten!
post #4 of 10
I have mixed feelings. On one hand, it's pretty invasive for female cats and to go through that at under 6 months of age just seems harsh, but on the other hand it needs to be done. My kitten is 12 weeks and I'm taking her to the vet for the first time since I've had her on Wednesday, so I am going to see what she thinks about early-age-spaying.

If they are outdoor cats, then sooner is preferable for sure!
post #5 of 10
Find a good vet who's experienced at and advocates early-age spay/neuter. She can be fixed at four months, or possibly even earlier. I would strongly advocate keeping them, and Mama too, indoors-only, for their own safety and health.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
OK, they're actually not 4 months until December (were born Aug. 11) - I'm not thinking well today! So, I will hold off on it until at least another few weeks. The only problem is that my dad will leave the garage door open while he's cleaning and taking the trash out. He thinks they won't go far, but when I had the door up for a short time sweeping, they were exploring the driveway. You think you can keep track of them, but they're kittens - they move fast, and there are two of them. She likely won't get pregnant yet - my dad grew up on a farm and thinks he's the pro on cats, but if she's almost old enough for spaying, she's almost old enough to get pregnant. I'm trying not to obsess over them, but I was there from the beginning - they're my babies! I wish I could keep them indoors so the spaying wouldn't be such an issue, but my mom is adamently against anymore indoor cats. I plan to move into an apartment in March, and would take at least one of them with me, but my cat despises other cats. Also, a 1-bedroom is kind of tight for two cats - I'll have to think on it.

I hope these cats will stay close to the garage once they're allowed out - my mom is going to park in one side, and the other side is going to be for the cats. We put some carpeting and beds and such there to make it as comfy as possible for them. We're going to keep it shut most of the time with one door open just enough for them to go in and out. The spaying is still an issue even if they stay close by because our field cats will likely be wandering in once the garage is open. I guess we'll continue to keep them shut up in the garage (and hopefully my dad will be careful about letting them wonder, or else I'll kill him .) until they're at least a little over 4 months. Thanks!
post #7 of 10
Originally Posted by EggyToast View Post
Generally, it's best to wait until they're about 5lbs or so
They can be safely done at 2lbs, around 8 weeks old.

My kittens were all done by the breeder at 10 weeks.
post #8 of 10
Most of the modern up-to-date vets will do neutering (male and female) once the cat reaches 2 lbs. I'd say get them done now - no need to wait.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Most of the modern up-to-date vets will do neutering (male and female) once the cat reaches 2 lbs. I'd say get them done now - no need to wait.
Well, I'm not sure that Condi (the girl) is even 2lbs. Most of what I've read says to go on weight rather than age - most say to wait until 3.5-4 lbs. I asked my dad if he thought she was that big, and he said definietely not - she may be 1 lb. She's a tiny thing - she was the runt of the litter, and had to compete with 5 cats for food. Gray (the mom) tried to abandon her - she moved the cats 1 by 1 to a new location when they were a few days old. Condi was the last one left, and I think the mom forgot about her or left her on purpose because she was alone in the old nest for an hour. We kept thinking she'd come back for her, but after an hour (it had only taken her about a hour to move the 5 other cats in total), I put gloves on and moved the kitten to the new den myself. Gray let her nurse, but I was always concerned about her getting her share. Condi was the first to eat on her own. She's growing, but is still so small and skinny. Fuzz (the male) is probably a lb or more larger, but it's hard to tell because he's very long-haired. I bet he's big enough to be neutered, but I think it's better to get them done at the same time if possible. That way I can let them go outdoors at the same time. I don't want one out and one still in the garage.
post #10 of 10
If you decide to wait on the female make sure not to wait on the male. They may be siblings but given the opportunity they can and will breed. I wouldn't take my chances. There are too many unwanted cats/kittens out there.
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