SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Ask a vet
At what age can I get my kitten desexed?

This is a great question because second only to the importance of getting kittens and cats desexed is the age at which this should be done. Believe it or not, cats can reach puberty and get pregnant as early as 16-20 weeks of age, when they are really still just kittens! Therefore, it is incredibly important that cats are desexed BEFORE they reach puberty and can get pregnant. This prevents unwanted litters but also makes the procedure easier and safer than desexing a cat in season or pregnant which is a risk if cats are desexed after puberty.

​Most veterinary practices will be happy to desex owned cats at around 14-16 weeks of age (sometimes earlier) so if you ring some of the veterinarians in your local area you should be able to find someone to help you with this.

The ‘traditional’ age of desexing for cats has long been 6 months of age but this age was not based on any scientific evidence. All the evidence that we have now shows no negative developmental or behavioural consequences to desexing cats earlier than six months and as early as seven weeks) The main reason that veterinarians were previously reluctant to desex cats earlier was due to a perceived increased risk of surgery/anaesthesia in young patients. However, improved techniques and anaesthetic agents now mean that we can safely perform surgery/anaesthesia in young patients. It is routine procedure for animal shelters to desex kittens at approximately eight weeks of age (and over one kilogram in body weight) and many thousands of cats are safely desexed at this age across New Zealand every year There are many benefits from pre-pubertal desexing for the individual cat as well as benefits in terms helping to reduce the number of unwanted kittens. So please have your kitten desexed at or before 16 weeks of age and encourage other people to do the same.

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