EARLY SPAY/NEUTER IN THE CAT (Summary of Findings)
Spaying or neutering before the animal is sexually mature has been a controversial topic. Many have feared that such early altering is detrimental to the kitten's health. However, few real studies have been conducted to test the validity of this fear. The Winn Foundation provided several DVMs a grant to conduct such a study.
The Winn Feline Foundation recently completed a study to determine the long-term effects of early spaying/neutering in cats.
The kittens were divided into 3 groups:
- No difference in food consumption
- After 7 months, cats in group 3 (unaltered until after 12 months) were less affectionate and more aggressive prior to altering than the other two groups.
- Altered cats (groups 1 and 2) were as active as group 3.
- No difference among groups in urinary tract development.
Early spaying/neutering does not seem to affect cats in any negative way. Many shelters have started early spay and neuter programs to ensure that all animals are fixed before they are adopted. At this time, it appears that this program has no negative effects. Further studies will be done to confirm and re-confirm this finding.