Six Months is Too Late – Fix Before Five

Brett thought he was adopting a pair of sisters. After all, they’re nearly identical in age. Come to find out, they were mother and daughter – just five months apart!

It’s shocking, but not entirely uncommon. Female cats can go into heat when they’re just four months old. And just as Brett found out – they can give birth when they’re still just a kitten themselves! 

There is no standardized recommendation from the veterinary community on the best time to spay/neuter kittens, but as of July 2017 there is an agreed-upon recommendation. 

A veterinary task force convened on January 16, 2016 to put forth a recommendation for the age of spay/neuter surgery for cats. As of July 2017 the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), and the American Animal Hospital Administration (AAHA) had all officially agreed – fixing kittens before five months is the recommended best practice. 

In the past, many may have recommended waiting until cats were six months or older. However, with all the science and information available today, we know that six months is too late.

Spreading awareness and resources to empower veterinarians to talk with their clients about the best time to spay/neuter is what Feline Fix by Five is all about. By ensuring more kittens are spayed/neutered before five months of age, we can greatly reduce the number of litters being born – and protect the long-term health of the kittens already in our care. 

We asked Brett a few questions about his precious kitties. Here’s what he had to say: 

What are your cat’s names and their ages? 

Chai, she’s the mom, and she’s about eight-and-a-half years old. Puff, her daughter, is eight years old. (Puff is the one with the adorable mustache!)

When did you adopt them- from where and were they already spayed? 

We adopted them in February 2015 from the Marblehead Animal Shelter in Marblehead, Massachusetts. They were already spayed – which was a huge relief! One less thing for a new adopter to worry about.

Do you know anything about their background?  How did the organization get them? 

Chai and her kitten were found outside. Puff was the only kitten to survive. The shelter took them in, and named them Purr & Meow.

Were you surprised that they were mother/daughter? 

Yes, especially with them being so close in age. I didn’t think that would be possible. 

What are your thoughts about getting cats spayed/neutered at six months knowing what you know now?

Definitely recommend! Chai is the perfect example – kittens can (and do!) go into heat and have kittens of their own, before they even hit the six months mark. By spaying and neutering earlier, more litters can be prevented and more kittens can live their lives as kittens – without the stresses of mating and pregnancy. 

Anything else you can share about their story or about the personalities of the cats?

They make us laugh every day. They have playful personalities, and still act like mother and daughter!