Sterilizing the cat: advantages, timing and useful tips

When should cats be spayed? What are the things you absolutely must know before doing this? We explain the benefits and disadvantages of neutering the cat.

Often those who own a cat, both male and female, ask themselves questions about the sterilization of their four-legged friend: what are the advantages of sterilizing the cat? When should sterilization be carried out? These are just some of the more common doubts you are likely to have too if you own a cat.

In reality, cat neutering is a surgery very similar to what the vet does when neutering a dog: the testicles are removed in male cats, the ovaries are removed and in some cases even the uterus for cats.

Of course, like any intervention, sterilization of the cat also has advantages and disadvantages that we will deepen in this article dedicated to the topic.

When to sterilize the cat? Timing for males and females

Traditionally both male and female cats are spayed at the age of six months. In reality, there are several reasons why it would be better to anticipate the sterilization intervention, especially in the case of stray cats: those who take care of these animals tend to proceed around eight weeks of age.

For female cats it is advisable to proceed with sterilization before sexual maturity, and therefore before the first heat appears. This moment occurs at different ages, depending on the breed and individual development of the cat. Usually the best time to neuter a cat is around six months of age.

For male cats, however, early neutering around 8 weeks is advisable as male cats tend to run away from home to meet females in heat. They also usually spray urine to mark the territory and emit annoying sounds to call the females.

Advantages and disadvantages of spaying a cat


Unlike what happens in dogs, non-neutered female cats tend to go into heat regularly every two weeks throughout the year: in this period the males concentrate in the area with harassing behaviors such as those just described.

Furthermore, a spayed cat does not risk unwanted pregnancies that can lead to the abandonment of the kittens. Finally, the spayed cat has a lower risk of contracting pyometra, a very common uterine infection in old age.


When male cats are not neutered it is easy for them to run away to chase kittens in heat, even far away from home. Often there is a risk that they get lost and never come back.

Furthermore, male cats that are not spayed are at increased risk of contracting and passing on some infectious diseases such as FIV and FeLV to other cats, because they tend to fight with other males for mating.


As mentioned above, early neutering is often practiced on cats to overcome a number of possible drawbacks.
Let’s try to understand together what the risks may be based on the most common fears among those who own a cat at home:

  • the risks for anesthesia are present in any surgery and sterilization is no exception, however these are very rare events;
  • regarding behavioral consequences, no changes were observed in cats after neutering;
  • if the cat is neutered at the same time as the vaccination phase it is possible that it suffers too much stress, for this reason the veterinarian tends to distance the procedures.

In conclusion, early neutering (at eight weeks) is recommended for abandoned, wild kittens or those ready to be adopted.
If the cat is purchased from a kennel or in the case of unscheduled domestic litters, the feline will need to be neutered at the age of approximately 4 months.
Kittens adopted by shelters and associations can be sterilized by the association itself or by their owners on the basis of specific agreements, usually between 8 and 12 weeks of life.

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