It is very rare to be able to buy a registered Maine Coon that is intact unless you are a breeder. The best breeders always neuter their kittens, male or female, before selling them as pets.
When do they actually take them to have the operation? What is the best age to neuter a Maine Coon?
Though Maine Coon neutering is commonly performed when kittens are aged four to six months, this is no longer the best age. Recent studies conclude that neutering Maine Coons between eight and 12 weeks of age is safe and has added benefits. There is one proviso: the kittens must weigh at least 2lbs.
Why it’s better to neuter Maine Coons before four months
There are three good reasons to neuter Maine Coon kittens between 8 and 12 weeks of age: less surgical complications, faster recovery, and prevention of backyard breeding.
- Kittens neutered before they reach 12 weeks are less likely to suffer surgical complications than those over 12 weeks.
- Young kittens bounce back to normal much faster after the neutering procedure and show less stress than kittens over 4 months of age
- Buyers who aren’t breeders can’t become backyard breeders of Maine Coons if kittens are already neutered
Why Maine Coon kittens should be before they are sold
Neutering kittens before they are sold prevents backyard breeding and its associated issues, including the spread of painful and life-threatening genetic diseases.
Not too many years ago, backyard breeding was more prevalent and many Maine Coons suffered from genetic diseases, resulting in painful conditions and early deaths.
Many of these conditions are now rare because of good breeding standards.
All breeding cats are screened and have to be clear of genetically transmitted conditions in order for their kittens to be registered with official bodies.
Good breeders neuter their Maine Coon kittens to prevent new owners from being tempted to breed from them without proper screening and breeding standards.
The only exception should be when selling to another registered breeder.
This is part of the reason why reputable breeders charge as much as they do for kittens. You should receive a healthy, twice vaccinated, neutered kitten who’s parents are free of genetic conditions.
Six reasons to neuter Maine Coon at 8 to 12 weeks of age
1. To prevent unwanted pregnancies
Cats mature at different rates. Maine Coons are generally large cats and therefore reach sexual maturity at a younger age than smaller breeds, sometimes at 4 months.
Early neutering prevents any accidental pregnancies, especially those that occur if a cat strays from home.
2. To prevent certain illnesses
Neutered cats tend to suffer from less urinary tract disease. Neutering also stops some forms of cancers such as of the uterus and prostate.
3. To halt the transmission of diseases
Intact male cats can transmit diseases. If they are neutered they have less contact with other cats and reduce the chances of contracting and spreading illnesses.
4. To prevent spraying
Intact male Maine Coons spray to mark their territory far more than neutered cats.
Even females can spray! Neutering before spraying begins is ideal as the habit is never learned.
5. To reduce the tendency to roam and fight
Unneutered males sometimes never settle, especially as indoor cats. They are forever trying to escape, particularly if they hear or sense a female cat in season.
I an intact male gets out he may roam and get lost as he searches for a mate. If a neutered male escapes, he is less likely to roam too far.
Intact cats can be quite feisty and may fight. Intact males and females can pick on their neutered housemates.
This is why breeders sell their breeding cats once they have been retired and neutered.
6. There’s less risk of complications
The younger a cat is when it’s neutered. the quicker it recovers.
That said, it is always better to neuter a cat than to not at an older age as long as your vet pronounces your cat healthy enough to undergo the operation.
Female cats do not need to have at least one litter
There is a belief that spaying a cat before she has her first litter because of health benefits. This simply isn’t the case. There are no proven benefits of a cat having at least one litter.
Some people believe it’s cruel to deprive a cat of having at least one litter in her lifetime. There is no evidence of neutered female cats displaying any emotional reaction to being neutered.
It is far better to neuter a female Maine Coon, or any other breed before she has her first season.
This means you don’t have to deal with a caterwauling cat and attempt to keep her away from male cats. You’ll be surprised at how many will be attracted by the noise!
Early neutering and Maine Coons growth
People often believe neutering a male cat at a young age will stunt his growth. Maine Coon owners who want big cats think they should defer their neutering for this reason.
Neutering does not stop a Maine Coon from growing in any way. It absolutely will not change the shape of any part of its body, head and face included.
Don’t believe those rumors that state a neutered Maine Coon male will have a smaller head! It’s absolutely not true.
Bear in mind, cats who have been neutered, especially females, can develop a tendency to gain too much weight.
How neutering affects the Maine Coon personality
Our first three Maine Coons arrived with us unneutered. This was before it was understood that early neutering was best. All three were neutered at 4 months and afterward, still had the same personalities.
Neutering is not known to affect a Maine Coon’s personality adversely. Many owners suggest it makes males more loving. We currently have two neutered girls and both are gentle and loving.
Our two boy kittens are also neutered. We’ve only had them for a couple of days but they are sweet and gentle.
A cat’s personality has much more to do with how it is socialized than if it is neutered or not, so don’t worry about the operation changing your cat for the worse.
The safest age to neuter a Maine Coon
A Maine Coon can be neutered at a younger age than traditionally thought. The operation is more straightforward when kittens are 8 to 12 weeks old and recovery is quicker.
If kittens are neutered before they are adopted, backyard breeding is prevented and so are the genetic diseases this practice can lead to.
If you’re offered an unneutered Maine Coon, alarm bells should ring and you should walk away if at all in doubt. After all, you want a healthy Maine Coon kitten with the best chance of living a long, happy life.
See more information about early neutering of cats at alleycat.org