Spay/neuter dilema

calliopeJuly 29, 2011

Several months ago I took in a beautiful marmalade male kitten who needed a home. He is now three and a half months old. He was to be an only cat, but two weeks ago, somebody dumped a kitten/kittens in front of our rural home, and the only one I could approach and feed was a tiny female tortie, whom I would say is perhaps eight weeks old now. I have until yesterday kept them separated since I wanted to be sure the male had all the innoculations he needed before he was exposed to a new stray. The female shall be making her first vet visit for a physical and first shots next week, although I have wormed her.

They will be companions to each other and here is the issue. I really like my vets and have had them for over 25 years but they want to hold off neutering the male until he is six months old. The one to whom I spoke knows I have a new female and that didn't seem to change her opinion.

I'm sorry, he is already displaying behaviour suggesting he is hitting puberty soon and I know from the only unexpected kitten I have ever been responsible for that a male most certainly can produce a kitten at four months, since it happened at my house waiting for that kitten to get old enough to neuter. LOL.

When my male kitty hits six months, my female shall be four and a half months old, also conceivably old enough to go into heat.

I don't want to play kitten roulette and if I can't convince them to feel comfortable with the reproduction responsibilites I think go with pets, I'm going to have to take them elsewhere to a vet who will take them sooner. This could be an issue with them. Some vets here will not accept cross practising. Thoughts?

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i honestly know nothing about cats but i would think that if the family jewels are visible, they can be removed. why on earth would a vet want to wait so long? you are doing the responsible thing, i would think they'd jump at the chance to eliminate another possible breeding!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 1:48PM
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I can see an issue some vets may have if you're treating your pet for an illness and you bounce back and forth between vets for treatment, but I see no problem finding a vet that will spay/neuter when you want and need it done.

Your vet shouldn't have any issue with this and if they did, I'd change vets. I'd let the 'new' vet know that you're coming in for spay/neuter only and any info they need re: vaccinations can be requested from the other vet. Or, you can just take in any paperwork showing his vaccination history to the new vet. There shouldn't be a problem..........

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 1:48PM
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Rant alert (minor rant).

Who the heck gave vets, or doctors of human beings for that matter, the rights & powers to dictate to the people who pay them for performing their services?

I could understand it if somebody said, "sorry, I cannot in good conscience de-claw all 4 paws", but this is a responsible decision, an absolute no-brainer.

(Thanks, I feel better.)

*You* are the one who will have the responsibility for a litter of kittens if these 2 breed.

& every humane organization I know of recommends spay/neuter at early ages;
Not only does it prevent pregnancy, but the cats handle surgery better at younger ages.

aaand another thing (I'm on a roll!).

Vets not liking "cross-practices" sounds like the tail wagging the dog.

When a service provider tells you that you can't have what you want & you can't go someplace else...
I'd go someplace else.

If you can't find a vet you like who is willing to do what *needs to be done*, check for a spay/neuter clinic in your area.

They'll be grateful for the opportunity to prevent the birth of another generation of kittens who will either not live to see their first birthday or who will find homes, meaning that other kittens will die because there are only a finite number of homes.

Bless you for taking in these little ones, & good for you for making your own, responsible, decisions.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 5:01PM
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His testicles have descended already and he is about three pounds, maybe more. Our shelter does have a spay/neuter program and it would be cheaper than the vet, actually. Not only is his surgery not as invasive as a spay, the female is ? as to history and it looks as if she had a much harder way to go in her short little life than the male, since I spoke for him before he was born and had him vetted immediately. So he absolutely has to be neutered before she cycles the first time and I don't trust picking up on it before the deed is done. And she may not be as good a candidate for an early spay as he is an early neuter.

I guess if I do get the partner who won't do the neuter earlier, I'll just be honest about it. I'm not shy. Tell her I'm going to ask the other partner his opinion and whether he'll do it. If neither will, then I guess it's off to the shelter we go and not only will I pay them the fee, I'll pad it with a donation.

I like these vets. They're good. They're close. They're reasonably priced, and they'll come in themselves for emergencies and are reachable at their homes and give you input as to the level of care you want/need. I previously used the other service and switched to this one for those very reasons. So, I guess I'll run it by them next week and perhaps I'll get the other partner who may have no qualms whatsover about an earlier neutering. They each have their own style and preferences and strengths and weaknesses and compliment each other, but because of that it can also put the client in an akward position.

If they won't, I don't see where I have any other choice than to use the shelter program and just let it play out. But I am NOT going to bring more kittens into this or any other house.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 5:40PM
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"I am NOT going to bring more kittens into this or any other house."

Amen, Sistah!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 5:50PM
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Then there is no dilemma....

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 7:02PM
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There will be if I need to look for another vet.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 7:48PM
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The reason they want to wait until 6 months is to allow the cat to mature with his hormones. If you did not have a female in your home it would not be a problem.

You are making the right decisions. Not sure what is going on in their minds with an unspayed female in the house.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 8:21AM
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Here's the AAHA position statement on neutering/spaying.

Pediatric Neutering (Gonadectomy/Ovariohysterectomy/Orchiectomy) of Companion Animals Statement

"The American Animal Hospital Association supports the concept of neutering cats and dogs as young as 8 weeks of age in order to help reduce the overpopulation problems in companion animals.
Veterinarians are encouraged to counsel their clients about responsible breeding and to spay or neuter their pets before they have an unwanted litter. Practitioners should make recommendations based on an assessment of each individual patient."

Sounds like you need to counsel your vet :) I understand that you like this practice, so I hope you and the vet can get past this and do the right thing here. If not, you may find a practice that you like better.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 10:07AM
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Neutering before 6 months of age certainly seems to be a reasonable and safe practice with few, if any, proven long term problems. There is plenty of research and experience with this practice though I am sure the debates will continue forever. The same goes for earlier spaying of the females. Though female cats can theorhetically become pregnant by 6 months of age since she does go into heat that young, successful pregnancy that young is actually pretty rare- I have yet to see that happen in 26 years of being a veterinarian.

However, if the male cat is truly under 6 months, he cannot impregnate a female. Male cats are not able to produce viable sperm before 6 months of age (and likely not until 8 or 9 months) so there is no danger of getting a female pregnant. So if your male has a full set of deciduous teeth (baby teeth), he is still functionally sterile. But you should check teeth if his age is unknown as some cats can look a lot younger than they really are. If has his adult teeth, he may be old enough to breed properly.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 10:26AM
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My good friend had her male and female kittens fixed at four months yesterday per her vet's recommendation...

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 1:53PM
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I certainly don't want to argue with a vet, but I know my four year old Russian Blue queen was impregnated by a male cat younger than six months old. She was an amputee who never laid a paw on earth outside and he was the only intact male inside and I caught them in the act when she cycled. I just went up to my office to check his records before I answered, because I'd imagine if anyone should know, you would. I cleaned my office out last winter and finally pitched the records of most of my animals who had passed away and his are gone. He died young. This has been quite a few years ago, but he was still a kitten, and I was waiting for the proper age to neuter and I remember telling my husband then not to worry he was too young to be fertile. Well, let's just say he wasn't shooting blanks. Now that I am seeing my very young Tom displaying similar actions I again reassured my husband not to worry he was way too young, and got reminded I'd said that once before. ;-)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 4:58PM
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If I can feel 2 testicles, I can remove them, and I have no issues doing that. Dog, cat, or otherwise.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 9:57PM
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I don't have a whole lot to add, but I have been through the neuter thing not too long back. My vet had said she likes to neuter around 5 months, BUT she said if he started to act "randy" prior to that, bring him in at that point (and she commented that he looked spunky enough that she expected to see him around 4 months).

You said he is already displaying some pubescent behaviors- have you been clear with your vet about that? I do understand that some vets are just stuck on a number- back when my prior cat was neutered in the early 90s, the rule of thumb where I was seemed to be 9-12 months for male cats! It was a bit of a change to neuter our last guy so young, but wow, he really did seem to handle it better than an older cat. Just based on that experience, I would push for an earlier neuter. If your vet won't do it, I would definitely not take any chances and go to a spay/neuter clinic that will do it for you. JMHO, but as long as your money is the right color, your current vet shouldn't turn you away or give you any grief later- that's not what you pay him for...

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 9:48AM
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Just an update. New kitty went in to see the doc yesterday to start her kitten shots and an exam. Other partner was on, and I broached the issue of spay/neuter. He also supports waiting until the male is at least six months old and gave me the rationale. He is just an excellent diagnostician and usually up on the latest studies and he said that neutering before six months is showing an increased tendency for urinary blockages as the cat ages. I have had two male cats with those issues and one involved a surgery, he himself performed. He told me that wasn't such an issue with females and he felt very comfortable to do her spay as early as four months. Since the male shall be hitting his six month milestone the same time she is hitting her fourth month I am planning on having them both done at once and going through their convelescence at once. I feel better about the whole thing.

Thank you all so much for your input.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 1:28PM
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glad it's turning out well.

(It does seem like the polite, the respectful thing would have been for the vet to tell you that in the first place.)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 3:32PM
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Yep..........and that just shows to go you what I meant about each partner having their own strengths and weaknesses and had the first one explained it to me, I wouldn't have fretted for two weeks. Alls it took was the partner who took a few extra minutes. I'm sure that aspect of practise sometimes gets forgotten in the rush. It shouldn't be.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 3:39PM
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