So your Vet says you can’t spay/neuter your new kitten until it is 6 months old…???

Is your vet telling you your kittens cannot be fixed until they are 6 months old? Do you have a cat who had a litter, and you want to find them homes, and you’d have them all altered first – but you don’t want to keep them that long? So you give the kittens away unaltered…

Here’s where the confusion lies – the AVMA endorses the document put out by the Veterinary Task Force on Feline Sterilization for Age of Spay and Neuter Surgery ( click http://www.winnfelinefoundation.org/…/fix-by-five-focus-ver… to see the document) which states veterinarians should recommend sterilization BY 5 months of age – not that they SHOULD wait until age 5 months, but to do it NO LATER THAN 5 months. If you read the document, it states clearly

“Current scientific evidence documents benefits of spaying kittens before the first estrous cycle, including the following:
• Decreased risk for mammary carcinoma1-4
• Elimination of reproductive emergencies such as pyometra and dystocia
• Avoidance of unintended pregnancies that may occur as early as 4 months of age
• Potential decrease in behavioral problems linked with cat relinquishment.”
Note – the first estrus cycle (Heat cycle) can occur as young as 4 months. As they state, pregnancy can occur at age 4 months. And they go on to say “Current evidence does not support an increased risk for cats of complications or long-term adverse health effects with pediatric (6-14 weeks) or juvenile (>16 weeks)  sterilization.”  I can personally tell you I have trapped MANY 4-month-old kittens that were already pregnant or in heat and I have documentation to prove it! These are babies having babies!

For those who have a veterinarian telling you the kitten needs to wait to be spay/neutered, you need to be aware that veterinarian is either not keeping up with current data or is personally uncomfortable doing spay/neuter on young kittens. But it is irresponsible if s/he tells you the kitten needs to wait to be altered until that age – if s/he says they are not comfortable doing the procedure so young, that is a different story and you should respect their decision, and simply have the kittens altered elsewhere. Kittens should be altered before being rehomed, as even well-intentioned new cat owners frequently fail to “get around” to having it done, and THEIR cat now goes on to reproduce, and the cycle continues.

Please! :
• if you have allowed your cat to reproduce, be responsible. Have her spayed, and make sure all the kittens in the litter are altered BEFORE you rehome them! They can be altered when they reach 2 lbs, that is ~ 8 weeks old, and the kittens should stay with mom until that point anyway. Yes, many people give away kittens when they are 5-6 weeks old – and that is unfortunate. They still need to finish the weaning from mom both physically and emotionally to develop into cats without problems. If you’ve allowed her to reproduce, then make sure you follow through to the right ending. And FYI, many shelters these days have a mom and kittens program, where they will spay your mom cat FREE, and you release the kittens to them to be altered and adopted out.
• If you have found a litter of kittens – please, do not rehome them until you have had them neutered! There are many low-cost spay/neuter clinics where this can be done for a minimal fee, and you can always ask the adopter to reimburse the cost of that surgery before adopting. Anyone not willing to reimburse would be questionable on being a good pet parent… Or if you cannot do this, work with shelters and rescues to find placement for the kittens. Many will accept the kittens if you foster them until big enough to be altered.

There ARE options, choose the responsible one. Be a part of the solution – and remember, your veterinarian is there to give you guidance and his/her opinion, but you have choices to make. Make them good.