What is the Best Time to Spay a Cat?

If you’ve just recently adopted or are considering adopting a female cat then spaying her should be one of the first things on your to do list as a new cat owner. There are a wide variety of reasons that you should spay your female cat and they can be broken down into a couple of simple categories.

But one of the most common questions out there is what is the best time to spay a cat? So let’s take a look at key reasons to spay your female cat and also everything you need to know about how and when you can get this procedure completed.

If you happen to have a male cat then please check out this article for details on males & neutering.

Behavioral Reasons

Have you ever heard a female cat in heat?  If not check out this wonderful video of a female cat yowling so you’ll have an idea of what you can listen to for days at a time. Females that haven’t been spayed usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house and at all hours of the night!

On top of this females that are in heat will be very prone to attempting to escape the house to get out to male cats that want to mate. By yowling they’ll also draw male cats in the area which can result in all sorts of behavior your don’t want like cats spraying all over outside your home.

Spayed female cats won’t go into heat. Ever.

StethoscopeHealth Related Reasons

Your female cat will live a longer, happier & healthier life. Spaying helps prevent all sorts of infections, but one of the most common is UTIs. These are in fact one of the most common infections in cats in general.

Other things that appear less frequently in spayed females are breast tumors which are malignant or cancerous in nearly 90 percent of cats. Spaying your cat before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.

Monetary Reasons:

The cost of spaying your female cat is far less than the cost of having and caring for a litter of kittens.

Community Reasons:

Stray animals are a massive issue, especially in major cities.  This has driven multiple rescues to aim for no kill cities, but the simple fact is this isn’t possible due to scale the overpopulation.  Every year, millions of cats of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers come from unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying your female cat.

Cats are also quite damaging to local wildlife, research has shown they kill billions of birds per year. Minimizing overpopulation of cats will minimize the impact they have on local wildlife.

When is the Best Time to Spay a Cat?

calendarMost cat owners decide to get their cat spayed when they are about 6 months old. That being said, I would personally recommend getting your cat spayed as early as two months. Kittens are pretty impressive little creatures, so much so that they can get pregnant as early as 4 months old!

Given this early spaying is highly recommended. Many animal shelters, including the one I volunteer at, spay female cats at about the 2 month mark.  There are of course other things we take into account, for example the weight of the cat, but if possible we spay at about the 2 month mark. We do this before they are ever even put up for adoption to ensure they won’t contribute to overpopulation.

Early spaying has shown no impact to growth rates and there haven’t been any documented differences to physical or behavioral development between those animals spayed at a later age. Given this, if you plan to get your cat spayed it is logical to pursue this earlier than later.

How To Get Your Cat Spayed

Any veterinarian that performs services for cats will be able to help you get your cat spayed.  Your veterinarian can also help you decide if spaying your individual pet at an earlier age is appropriate. The vet will take into account all necessary considerations like the weight of your cat to ensure the procedure is safe.

If going to a traditional veterinarian is not an option for you due to costs then you can work with one of many local rescues in your area. Most rescues work with local veterinarians to provide heavily discounted or even free services for getting your female cat spayed. The ASPCA even provides a tool to help animal owners locate a low cost spay option, you can check it out here.

Wrapping It Up on What is the Best Time to Spay a Cat

There are a ton of good reasons to get your cat spayed and on the overall it is a quite affordable procedure.  If you’re wondering what is the best time to spay a cat, the short answer is as soon as possible, assuming of course your cat is large enough and old enough.

If you have any other thoughts on spaying your cat then please do leave a comment below or shoot me an email at Craig@StuffCatsWant.com so I can update this post.

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11 thoughts on “What is the Best Time to Spay a Cat?

  • October 1, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    I am all too aware of the howling of in-heat kitties! AND how quickly they get their cute little selves preggers. People don’t believe it when you throw out the 2 month number, but it’s so true! I wasn’t aware though that spaying helps to reduce the number of UTI’s your cat may experience during it’s lifetime. Very informative article, as always!

  • October 1, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Thank you. I really enjoyed reading your article. Very interesting. I was very surprised to learn that cats can live longer, if spayed.

    I was just wondering, if I was to spay a cat that’s a year old, would that have any issues on the cat’s health?

    Keep up the great work. I will definitely be visiting your site more often

    • October 1, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      It shouldn’t have any impact at all to your 1 year old cat. This is quite typical in feral colonies. A lot of feral colony managers spend time doing what we call ‘trap neuter release’ for both male and female cats. The idea is we capture an adult cat, neuter/spay it, then return it to its colony. This is done to cats of all ages and won’t have any adverse impact on health for a feral or a 100% domestic cat.

  • October 1, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    I find this article very informative and helpful to cat owners like us (me and my family). We have 2 female cats at present, mother and daughter, but there would have been more because both of them got pregnant at least twice and delivered 3-5 kittens each time. However, we had to give away the kittens that survived (half of them died) because we don’t want too many cats running in and out of the house.

    Honestly, I did not know anything about spaying female cats. Had I known, we would have spayed both of them. Yes, it really bothered us every time our cats are in heat because they create this annoying sound in the middle of the night and then after some time, we hear the sound of male cats. And many times also our cats go missing and will not be back until after a couple of days which makes us think that maybe they’re gone for good.

    If spaying our cats will make them healthier, live longer and avoid infections then by all means we will do that. But can we still spay our cats even though they’re already past the best time to spay them and have given birth multiple times? Up until what age can we spay female cats?

    • October 1, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      There isn’t any specific age limit on when you can stop spaying cats. There is no feline equivalent of menopause and that is because female cats don’t menstruate. While she may be less likely to get pregnant over time, she will always be fertile. On top of this those familiar symptoms of heat, such as loud meowing, anxious behavior, even marking with her urine, will continue.

  • October 1, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    I have been looking into adopting a pet or picking one up recently. I am stuck between choosing a cat or dog. If I do go with a cat, I will definitely look into spaying a cat if I get one. Thank you for the hlpe.


    • October 1, 2017 at 11:51 pm

      Thanks for reading Pat. If you’re someone that is gone for long periods of time during the day or evening I would suggest a cat. They don’t need anyone to come let them out in the middle of the day like a dog. There are about 100 other things to take into account as well, but that’s one of the biggest. Here’s my top ten list of things to consider when adopting a cat:

  • October 2, 2017 at 4:59 am

    Hello this is very informative post. I am surprised to learn the health issues a cat could face for not spaying. Poor little creature, just because of our mistake they also go stray. By the way that video of that cat was so cute. Thank you for sharing.

    Best regards

    • October 3, 2017 at 2:53 am

      Haha, I’m surprised you found the video cute! Most people find it really irritating, but I guess the video is short enough that it isn’t very impactful. I imagine after several hours of this though it would drive you bonkers!

  • October 2, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Hi Craig,

    I haven’t got a cat at the moment but in the near future I will be getting, or two rather as they will have company for each other. I’m not sure what sex I would get, maybe a boy and a girl.

    I have been around cats all of my childhood. My family had at one time 18 kittens. It wa a job to get them all homes but we got their in the end. So it can really save you money, obviously.

    I didn’t realize that you could get them spayed at 2 months so it’ll be good to get that done as early as possible. I know very well that these things get delayed and delayed and forgotten about.

    • October 3, 2017 at 2:55 am

      Great idea on getting two cats. I highly recommend that, especially if you decide to go for kittens as opposed to adults.

      If both are spayed/neutered you shouldn’t have any problem with a male/male, male/female or female/female combination, any will work!

      You’re certainly right, it is easy to let these things get forgotten, that’s another reason I recommend doing it as soon as possible!


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