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Q: When should you neuter a kitten and is it healthy? What else can I feed a cat other than dry food?

Original Question: "I have a 2-month-old female kitten and I was wondering, when should I get her neutered and what should I feed her other than dry cat food? Also, is neutering good or healthy for my cat?" - Toffy


Vet Certified Answer:

Hi Toffy,

Thanks for your question.

In some ways this is a simple question, but it’s also complicated.

Most veterinarians recommend that spaying of a female cat should occur at 6 months. The reason for this is that it will guarantee that a heat cycle does not occur. There is an extremely well founded and well-known study that proves with every heat cycle a cat experiences, their risk of mammary carcinoma increases significantly. A cat that is spayed at 6 months of age reduces it's risk by 91% in comparison to an 11% reduction in a cat spayed at 2 years of age. Spaying after 2 years will not reduce the risk of mammary cancer. I encourage you to take a look at our video, "Should I Spay or Neuter My Dog or Cat?" for more information on this topic. 

Mammary cancer is very aggressive in cats and it is for this reason that most veterinarians recommend spaying at 6 months. But this is just one argument for spaying at this time. The other benefits that come with not having to deal with heat behaviour which many pet owners find annoying include vocalizing, excessive affection, overstimulation and discharge from the backend. You also eliminate the risk of pregnancy overall.

Early spaying will have effects that some pet owners may find unattractive. They will not reach their full growth potential since they mature at 12 months of age. Some may argue that this can affect their long-term health but no studies exist to demonstrate this and there is no widespread belief among professionals that this occurs. I find that it is more of a cultural and religious belief to keep a pet sexually intact which I always respect.

I think it’s important to educate yourself about the pros and cons of early spaying and learn the facts. Have an open and frank discussion with your veterinarian and then form your own opinion based on what you believe to be is important to give your cat a healthy life. Everyone has different opinions on this, but your opinion is most important.

As far as your question about wet and dry food, please view our video about whether you should feed your cat a wet or dry diet and what the best food is for your pet. Those videos will educate you about this topic and help you make an informed decision.

Thanks for your question and good luck.

Dr. Clayton Greenway


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