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 their operation? What is the best age to neuter a Maine Coon?
The best age to neuter a Maine Coon is NOT between the ages of four to six months as was once believed. New guidance recommends that Maine Coon kittens are neutered between the ages of 8 and 12 weeks as long as they weigh at least 2 lbs. We explain why this is.
Why neuter Maine Coons before 12 weeks of age?
There are three good reasons to neuter Maine Coon kittens before they are 12 weeks:
- Less surgical complications occur when Maine Coons are neuteredat this younger age
- Younger kittens recover more quickly from the operation
- Buyers who aren’t breeders can’t backyard breed Maine Coons because they are neutered before they are adopted
Why neuter Maine Coon kittens before they are sold?
The simple answer is to prevent backyard breeding and the issues this causes, 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.
Other reasons for early neutering of Maine Coon kittens
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 stop other 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. Stop diseases spreading
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. 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. Lower 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. Less risk
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.
The myth that cats should 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 being beneficial.
Some people think it’s cruel to deprive a cat of having at least one litter in her lifetime. There is no evidence of neutered female cats having any emotional reaction to being neutered.
It is far better to neuter a female Maine Coon or any other cat 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 bt the noise!
The myth that neutering affects a 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 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.
Personality after neutering
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.
Best age to neuter a Maine Coon: conclusion
Without a doubt, a Maine Coon should be neutered by 12 weeks of age. This is by far the best way to ensure a straight forward operation and a fast recovery. It also helps to stamp out backdoor breeding and genetic disease.
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 with you.
See more information about early neutering of cats at alleycat.org