Is it safe to neuter cats at around nine weeks old? Celia Haddon advises...
Q) I volunteer for a small cat rescue that homes kittens at about nine weeks and makes adopters promise to get them neutered when they are older. However, I have heard that some of the larger rescues are now neutering their kittens at about nine weeks, before handing them over to be adopted? Is this safe for the cats? Should we be following their example?
Your Cat reader
Experts now believe in neutering kittens as early as possible, as long as the kittens are in good health. Veterinary techniques have improved to make the operation safe. The Cat Group, a group of feline welfare organisations, state: “There is no evidence to show that neutering earlier than six months (and as early as seven weeks) has negative developmental or behavioural consequences.” You can read their policy statement on the timing of neutering at www.thecatgroup.org.uk/policy_statements/neut.html
If rescue charities neuter before homing, they do not have to do follow-up inquiries to make sure it has been done. Occasionally, a new owner will promise to neuter the kitten and then fail to do so, either deliberately or by leaving it too late. Follow ups take time and effort by the rescue charity. But the disadvantage, of course, is that neutering before adoption is expensive, so the adoption fee has to be higher. Get a copy of The Cat Group policy and show it to the charity so that this can be discussed.