“Spaying and neutering are two of the most common surgical procedures performed on our pets. By convention, the surgery has, in the past, always been done after the age of puberty, in other words, at around six to eight months of age in the cat. Although there had been little scientific study to confirm this as the optimum age for this procedure, the veterinary community as well as the public did not, until relatively recently, question the validity of this practice.
In the last two decades, however, the optimum age for gonadectomy, the generic term for spaying and neutering, has come under scrutiny.
Early spaying or neutering does not guarantee that your cat will never contract a contagious disease, but it will greatly decrease the chances, simply by decreasing the chances of it mingling with a contagious cat. Spayed female cats will not be breeding with males that may be carrying diseases. And neutered cats of both sexes are less likely to be fighting with strange cats that might be infective.
Spayed and neutered cats generally live longer and healthier lives. There are no drawbacks to spaying and neutering early. In todays society we often have busy, complicated lives. Why wait until our cats are of breeding age to have them spayed or neutered? The best time to do this procedure is when we are in the habit of taking them to the veterinarian for kitten vaccinations. That way time will not get away from us and an accidental breeding occur.
Early spaying and neutering is endorsed by the United States Humane Society, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the California Veterinary Medical Association. It is our best weapon against the overwhelming problem of pet overpopulation and all its attending ills.”
The text of this article was written with permission from the author with whom ICRA was put in touch directly by Cat Fancy Magazine and is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared in the March 1996 issue of Cat Fancy Magazine.
Further reading from ASPCA.