In the past it was considered best not to neuter kittens until they reached six months of age. However, there are many benefits to neutering kittens earlier. According to the ASPCA website, kittens can be neutered as early as eight weeks old, as long as they weigh two pounds.
Neutering refers to surgical sterilization. It can apply to both male and female kittens. However, neutering usually refers to males, while spaying refers to females, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website.
Early neutering will prevent unwanted litters. The AVMA reports that each year millions of unwanted cats and dogs are euthanized. On average, a cat can breed as early as 6 six to nine months of age.
Neutering kittens early can protect them from serious health issues that occur later in life. This includes breast cancer and uterine infections.
While early neutering is recommended, the AVMA suggests consulting with your veterinarian for the best time to neuter. Your veterinarian will consider the physical condition of your pet as well as the breed and age.
Neutering is a major surgical procedure that will change the concentrations of reproductive hormones, and affect the risk of developing certain diseases in the future. Your veterinarian will advise you of the risks and benefits on having your kitten neutered.