Q: I foster a female kitten that is approximately 13 weeks old. I have to go back to the veterinarian for her second set of booster shots in three weeks. Because I foster this kitten, the association wants the vet to spay her at the same time. She would be only 16 weeks old. Isn’t that too young? What’s the right age to have a kitten spayed or neutered?
A: In the past few years, there’s been a push, especially at animal shelters and humane societies, to spay or neuter kittens at an early age. This is because if a kitten is adopted out to a home at the age of 8 or 9 weeks, a significant percentage of the adopters fail to spay or neuter their cat, even if the adoption fee includes a free spay and neuter. Or if they do, it may be after their male cat has gotten out and impregnated a female, or after their female cat has gotten pregnant and given birth to kittens.
Shelters can’t wait until kittens are six months old before neutering and spaying. They don’t have the room, and it would deprive potential adopters of experiencing the joys of their kitten’s kittenhood. Studies have shown that kittens can be spayed and neutered as early as 8 weeks of age, with no deleterious effect. Your cat, at 16 weeks of age, can be spayed with no worries at all.
Arnold Plotnick, DVM