best age to neuter a maine coon article

I’ve been doing early spays and neuters on my kittens since I started breeding Maine Coons in 2017. It was part of my package. All of my kittens have been altered before they go home. But the more I opened my eyes over the years and am able to think for myself as a breeder, I realized that it may not be the best decision for my kittens.

There’s definitely two opposing sides to this topic. The early spay advocates will say that early surgery has no effect on a kitten whatsoever. The other side will say that there are too many risks involved. It’s up to me as a breeder to do my own research and make the best decision for my kittens.

Unfortunately, our “community” of breeders puts a high amount of pressure to make sure it’s done before the kittens leave for their new homes. There’s only one reason is used to support this, and that’s to guarantee that people don’t breed the cat.

When I first established a relationship with my veterinarian, she advised me not to do early surgeries. She said she doesn’t like to do them before the age of 6 months old. I insisted that we needed to do them before the kittens went home at 12 weeks old. She reluctantly agreed.

The Injury That Changed My Mind Completely

maine coon kitten harlequin superhero baby
Superhero 9 Weeks Old

I was considering not doing early spay/neuter for several months before I had an incident happen that changed my thoughts completely.

I took my litter of kittens in for their sex altering surgeries at the age of 11 weeks old. Everyone was healthy, vibrant and doing great. When the kittens came home, I noticed that one wasn’t able to poop. He was eating fine and acting normal, but was straining in his litter box.

After a vet visit, she suspected that his bowels could be “moving slow” due to the anesthesia and that “it happens sometimes”. I was told to give him some laxative and monitor him.

Two more days went by and his condition worsened. He was crying and being vocal in the litter box, still with no results. He became lethargic so back to the vet he went.

After some X-Rays, she explained that his intestines were “bunched up” and that it looked very grim. I had to make the decision to humanely euthanize him. He was scheduled to go home with a sibling, and having to tell the owner this news was heart wrenching.

Other Issues I’ve Experienced from Early Surgeries

Yes bad things happen, and maybe this wasn’t caused from the neuter surgery. But it was too weird of a coincidence for me to ever think differently. After researching this immensely, I discovered that anesthesia CAN slow down the bowel movement, which CAN cause big problems. As it did in my case.

It was on that day that I really started researching the potential negative effects of early spay and neuter and ultimately came to the decision that I’m making as of the day of this blog post.

The risk of death from this procedure is obviously rare, but I’ve experienced it first hand. In addition, I have some friends that also breed Maine Coons that have had kittens pass away during the surgery, and one to get lung infections from the breathing tube and pass away a few days later. So my case is not isolated.

There are other things that I’ve personally experienced from early spay/neuter surgeries:

  • Hematomas
  • Stitches being opened and getting infected
  • Testicle infections from some of the scrotum being “left behind”
  • Hernias

I’m going to eliminate the babies having to endure these things at such a young age. Sassy Koonz Maine Coon Kittens will no longer be spayed or neutered before they go home. It will be the responsibility of the new owner to do it before the age of 6 months old.

My vet will be happy to hear this news.

Controversy Around The Early Spay/Neuter Trend

Until the late 1990’s, most spays and neuter procedures were performed between the age of 6 to 9 months old. With the rise of pet overpopulation “problems” the trend began to implement altering cats at a younger age.

The goal of early spay and neuter was to:

  • prevent unplanned litters
  • reduce the number of homeless cats

Today, it’s common practice for a shelter to spay and neuter every kitten before it leaves for its new home. The only requirement is that they kitten weigh at least 2 pounds. This practice has certainly reduced the number of unwanted litters, so it did accomplish what it needed to.

Working with Pedigree cats, specifically Maine Coons, is a bit different than shelter cats. When I started researching the risks involved, I discovered that you get different search results based on the question you ask. So there is no definitive answers. We all just have to use our best judgement. I really don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer.

Health Concerns

maine coon kittens for sale georgia barbie
Barbie 5 Weeks old

Most veterinarians believe that there are health risks associated with altering a cat before it reached full maturity, specifically for a large breed cat like the Maine Coon.

Some risks are short -term while others can be life changing. I’m not okay with any of these risks:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Growth Plate Injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Sarcomas
  • Intestinal Issues

Of course, these issues can arise in any cat regardless of the age it was altered. But considerations should be made for Maine Coons which are slower to mature.


Hormones affect the way humans think and behave. They have the same affect on a cat. Altering a Maine Coon early disrupts the natural hormone balance of the cat. This could potentially impact the behavior of the cat into adulthood.

Please note that not all cats will experience issues but here are some issues that could present, all of which can be associated with early spaying and neutering:

  • Anxiety/Fearfulness
  • Aggression
  • Inappropriate Elimination
best age to neuter a maine coon
Granite 11 Weeks Old [RESERVED]

Maine Coon Kittens: Larger Than Life

It’s a fair question to ask if our Maine Coons should be deprived of their chance to develop for the sake of convenience or control. My opinion on this has changed. What I once thought was the only “right” way to do things has now become a list of far more negatives than there are positives.

By allowing the new owners to spay and/or neuter their kitten once it gets a little older, the cat will be at less risk for some of the negative risks of early surgeries.

What is the Best Age to Neuter a Cat?

Despite ongoing research and controversy, there is no “magic” age to neuter your Maine Coon. Since the breed is slow to mature and is a very large breed, I say that the longer you can wait, the better.

Males and females begin to become sexually mature around 6 to 9 months of age. This can vary from cat to cat. We don’t want the males to start marking or “spraying”. We also don’t want the girls to have repeated heat cycles.

Spaying and neutering between the age of 5 to 6 months is the ideal and recommended age by me.

Resources To Do Your Own Research

I encourage everyone to do their own research when it comes to making these types of decisions, just like I did. There’s certainly two sides to this coin. I’ll post some of the articles I used for my own research.

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