Here’s something we’ve learned about that most cat parents don’t think about: Neutering our male cats. Usually, shelters and rescues neuter male cats at around 8 weeks of age – or 2+ lbs.
This is understandable – as the priority is to make sure these cats are unable to reproduce. It also help ensure a better chance at adoption as kittens. But this pediatric neutering has become standard practice – even for non shelter or rescue cats.
Is this standard practice the best practice for neutering male cats?
When it come to indoor only male cats in their forever homes, we’ve learned when we neuter male cats matters.
Sex hormones impact much more than just a cat’s ability to reproduce. We understand the main point of a neuter is to make sure these little guys don’t run around making tons of babies. Secondarily, neutering helps avoid territorial behaviors (like the dreaded spraying) of many fully developed male cats. And this is why it is so useful for shelters and rescues to neuter early.
When Should We Neuter Male Cats?
But in a home where there is responsible supervision, the role of sex hormones can (and should) be evaluated beyond these priority. These sex hormones play an important role in a cat’s growth and development. Removing these sex hormones before they are able to do their intended job has been associated with a number of concerning issues.
Urinary blockages due to under-developed penises and urethras. Growth plate issues, causing joint pain and arthritis at very young ages. Obesity caused by affecting metabolism and energy levels.
We are currently blessed with 4 beautiful boys in our clowder. Three of our boys we were able to neuter once they were able to reach maturity. Our 4th boy, Pooh Bear, was neutered at 8 weeks (per ‘standard’ practice). He is our only little man that has ever faced urinary tract issues, now walks with a limp (at 13 years old), and is obese – despite our many years of weight control efforts. He came to us at 3 years old and 26 pounds. Pooh Bear now weighs 20 pounds, but are still struggling to lose the addition 4lbs to achieve his ideal weight.
So – our own experience informs our opinion on best practices for neuters. When possible, let’s wait until our boys are able to fully develop. Depending on breed, this could be anywhere between 10 months to 2.5 years old (for larger breed cats like Ragdolls or Main Coons).
Recommended Product to Avoid Urinary Issues