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Neutering cats – when and why?

19 Oct 2020 by Vetsmiths

Thankfully, most cat owners know that when they get a kitten they’ll need to think about getting them neutered at some point. However, it’s often not explained why this is important or when you should think about getting this done.

The good news is that for both male and female cats this is a pretty straightforward and low risk procedure that they will bounce back from very quickly.


Female kittens are masters of the ‘teenage pregnancy’ and seem to be able to seek out that grizzled Tom cat roaming the area.  This is why we would always recommend neutering (spaying) them at around six months of age.  They can’t get pregnant prior to this.

Spaying your little girl kitten, will also protect her against a very aggressive form of breast cancer.  This is often not known, but is another important reason to consider prompt neutering.

The op

The operation will be performed under a general anaesthetic and typically results in a small wound to the left flank, or occasionally on the midline (her tummy).

We favour dissolvable, buried stiches to reduce any interference with the wound and will arrange for a post-op check two days later and then again at ten days to give the all clear.

Cats, generally get back to normal very quickly, although it’s advisable to keep them in for a few days following the op, whilst the stitches heal.


Male cats will mature sexually from as early as six months of age.

If left entire, like most males the hormones will start to take over and behaviours such as fighting for territory, and roaming far and wide will set in.  Increased fighting can make them prone to catching a nasty viral disease called FIV or ‘cat AIDs’.

Entire male cats will even start to look different with the male hormones causing a widening of the nose and face.

Probably most antisocially of all, male cats will almost always start to mark their territory by ‘spraying’ (squirting urine) around the house.  A unique cocktail of scent hormones means you won’t be able to miss this distinctive smell – not pleasant!

Finally, and probably most importantly, an entire male cat roaming the area can father literally hundreds of potentially unwanted kittens.  This is to be avoided.

So when should you get your male kitten ‘done’?

Neutering (castration) in male cats is best done around the six-month mark.  This is a good compromise between letting them grow up a bit, but catching them before the antisocial behaviours start to kick in.

The Op

As is so often the case, the males get it slightly easier than the girls as everything is more accessible.  Castration is performed under a light general anaesthetic, but they recover very quickly and are normally back to their mischievous ways the following day.

We will arrange a post-op appointment to check on your little boy two days later.


We’re happy to have a chat about the best time, but normally for neutering (spay or castration) we suggest this is best done at around six months of age.  This helps to set up a healthy life for your cat to go on and lead a long happy life.

We do say that if you have a pair of kittens, we prefer to do them on the same day.  This way they can console each other and recover quickly together.