Why we alter here.
If you are currently looking for a purebred hairless kitten, you will likely have noticed that many responsible breeders are altering their kittens before placing them into pet homes. My pet owners are generally very happy and relieved that this surgery is done before they come home, but a few not. In fact, some individuals have even claimed that breeders are “greedy” or out for ourselves and not the longevity of the breed for spaying and neutering our babies and the future of the breeds we love and are committed to. So here is some food for thought:
1. Altered Cats are overall healthier
When it comes to healthy baby, altering your kitten is a good way to avoid a myriad of health problems involved with the reproductive tract. Unaltered females (queens) are at risk of uterine infection (up to the point of cancer and pyometra which both are life threatening if not handled properly) throughout their lifespan and are at increased risk for mammary cancer ( also can be fatal) . Spaying your female will completely remove most of these risk! Neutering your male also eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and nearly always if done early eliminates a male’s need to mark (spray urine) on their territory. That all sounds healthier for everybody!
2. Fixed Cats are less moody and more stable
Sometimes kitten adopters think an unaltered cat makes a “better pet” or it’s more natural for the animal. Unaltered males will spray—and they will urine spray everything! Yes , even if you don’t have a female cat at home they can smell strays and hear the neighbors female cat in heat.
Unaltered male cats can also be a handful. We may believe our boys sweetest boy is the sweetest of the boys, however he is a testosterone filled animals. If there is another testosterone filled animal around there will be a fight at some point. There are plenty of breeders who can attest that their sweet stud bit them or turned “crazy” one day when a female was around or just went nuts because of another male. Who knows hormones are real and we all have bad days so animals do too. Oh yes, and female cats spread to to signal boys ...didn’t know that?? Yes and they often SPRAY WORSE AND MORE OFTEN than males. What about females “calling” sometimes almost screaming for a male? Do you think you’ll sleep through it? Will your kids? How about your neighbors? What about when they are trying to escape a window or shredding curtains to get out to a male? They can both, male and female, be very unintentionally destructive if not altered.
3. Surgeries Cost Money
How often have you put off a hair cut or an oil change? Delayed going to the vet for annual pet vaccines or even skipped a follow-up doctor’s appointment because money was tight? Maybe something like a dishwasher breaks down? Or A car? It all happens to all of us and just cuts that have to be made. When we adopt a kitten, they have already budgeted for that kitten’s alter ahead of time and booked it. It is in your contract as covered by us. By altering your baby ahead of time—it alleviates your need to budget, allows the vet that has cared for the kitten it’s whole life to do , and also allows for it to recover in its own home, a comfortable environment with its mom and human caregiver. How would you like to have a vasectomy or a hysterectomy and get dropped off at a strangers house to recover and then live? Stressful? Would it increase your chance for surgical infection or a secondary cold or Illness? Well yes of course it would!! This way any issues are covered by me ... my time, my dime and all for the kittens health and future.
4. Surgeries Can Be Scary
Here is another reality—new owners worry. Sometimes those worries blossom and grow to the point that an owner has a difficult time taking their kitten into the vet for their spay/neuter. Maybe they don’t have time off to get them to the vet. This turns into avoidance of the surgery all together. Your breeder has confidence in their vet, has experience with surgeries and knows the aftercare involved. By having their kittens altered before placement, a breeder can alleviate a lot of your worries ahead of time.
5. Breeders Deserve To Protect Their Lines
Your breeder has probably worked long and hard to develop their own lines. Even if they are new to breeding—they have probably invested countless hours doing research, being mentored, growing and learning as a breeder. Yes— they have the right to protect their lines. Once a kitten is placed into a home—the breeder loses precious control over that cat. Even the most responsible owner has had a ‘whoopsie, my kitten slipped outdoors and is now pregnant’ moment. Your breeder wants to avoid intentional and accidental pregnancies. Our vet does the procedures first thing in the morning and then monitors them with staff members for hours approx. 8 - he uses more expensive medications, expensive yes, but much lower risk and more sphynx friendly. He has to anesthesia and techs when he does our kittens as a precaution and because they have such a fast metabolism they recover so quickly. One tech is recovering them and one helping with anesthesia/bedside needs, so no doing double duty. And No ketamine ever. They are recovered with warmth in mind blankets etc. and with scheduled vitals, Including temps:) once home we do 2 hour vitals overnight as I was a Perioperative (SURGERY) RN for years. Hope this helps you all feel more secure about our practices.
And here is what the doctors say:
Dr. Ana Culey-
If we waited until puberty (at about six months of age) to sterilize all puppies and kittens, they correctly reasoned, some pets would doubtless slip through the cracks, thereby compounding the crisis we’ve worked so hard to combat since the near-dawn of US pet keeping.
It’s better to spay a bird in the hand, isn’t it? (You know what I mean.)
Lots of veterinarians seem to agree. In fact, US shelter veterinarians seem united in their advocacy of prepubertal gonadectomy (also referred to as “prepuberal gonadectomy”) as an effective weapon in the war against pet overpopulation. In fact, even the leading veterinary organization, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) agrees it’s a worthy approach:
“The AVMA supports the concept of early (prepubertal, 8 to 16 weeks of age) spay/neuter in dogs and cats in an effort to reduce the number of unwanted animals of these species. Just as for other veterinary medical and surgical procedures, veterinarians should use their best medical judgment in deciding at what age spay/neuter should be performed on individual animals.”
But is it safe?
Mind if we pay your vet bills ? And is it safe?
There’s the rub. While the AVMA pointedly supports the procedure specifically within the context of the goal of preventing pet overpopulation, it deftly skirts the issue of safety altogether, stopping well short of advocating its application in all instances.
And that’s exactly how most practicing small animal veterinarians feel about it: “Go ahead and use it in a shelter setting but I’m not about to start spaying and neutering eight week-old puppies and kittens. Not in my OR.”
Nonetheless, prepubertal gonadectomy in the US has increased dramatically in popularity over the past twenty years. Although the anesthetic and surgical procedures appear to be safe in the short-term, the truth is that we have only limited research to go on.
Here is what we do know:
According to a 2001 paper on the subject, “Early-age neutering does not stunt growth in dogs or cats (a once-held belief), but may alter metabolic rates in cats. The anaesthetic and surgical procedures are apparently safe for young puppies and kittens; morbidity is lower and recovery is faster than in adult animals. To date, adverse side effects are apparently no greater in animals neutered at early ages (7 weeks) than in those neutered at the conventional age (7 months).”
Pretty impressive support. Here are some more papers:
Short-term results and complications of prepubertal gonadectomy in cats and dogs: In this 1997 study of 775 cats and 1,213 dogs, “prepubertal gonadectomy did not increase morbidity or mortality on a short-term basis, compared with gonadectomy performed on animals at the traditional age. These procedures may be performed safely in prepubertal animals, provided that appropriate attention is given to anesthetic and surgical techniques.”
Early Spay-Neuter Clinical Considerations: After listing the many considerations due a prepuberal patient, this 2002 article concludes that, “No significant short-term or long-term effects have been reported. Prepuberal gonadectomy is most useful for humane organizations and conscientious breeders wishing to preclude reproduction of pet dogs and cats while placing animals at a young enough age to optimize socialization and training.”
New Advice on Sterilizing Kittens: Earlier Is Better
June 23, 2017
New recommendations support kitten spay/neuter by 5 months of age. Here’s why.
By Kim Campbell Thornton
Conventional wisdom states that kittens should be spayed or neutered no earlier than 6 months of age, but feline medicine specialists now say that an earlier age for the surgery benefits cats, owners, and veterinarians alike.
The Veterinary Task Force on Feline Sterilization, which comprises 11 experts representing the breeding, shelter, and behavior communities, spent a year reviewing and discussing all available literature to reach the recommendation—released at the 2017 North American Veterinary Community Conference—to sterilize kittens by 5 months of age.1
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has endorsed the recommendation, stating that it parallels its own position statement on early spay and castration.2 “At the moment, most of the data indicate that we have effective anesthetic protocols for younger patients,” says AAFP President Lauren Demos, BVMS, HonsBSc, resident ABVP (Feline). “As we start to piece [together] what we do have, there’s a huge suggestion that we can move this time for spays and neuters forward and do better for the cat population and cat owners.”
Benefits of Early Sterilization
As a species, cats tend to be underrepresented in scientific literature, especially in terms of case controlled studies, and Dr. Demos notes the need for more data. The task force’s review of available study results, however, found that early neutering in cats is not associated with serious health problems and does not appear to adversely affect skeletal, physical, or behavioral development.
Surgery at this earlier age takes less time and permits better visualization of organs because younger kittens have less body fat. Kittens are also typically anesthetized for a shorter time because surgery goes more quickly, so the recovery period is also shorter. Kittens weighing at least 1 kg can be sterilized safely as early as 6 weeks of age.
Julie Levy, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, task force member and professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, notes that kittens bleed less than older cats, the trauma to their tissue is not as great, and they are highly responsive to pain medication, making it easier to keep them comfortable postoperatively. Surgical techniques such as ovarian pedicle increase surgical efficiency.
The main difference between spaying kittens at 6 months of age versus 4 to 5 months of age is the perioperative environment, Dr. Levy says. Young kittens have a higher risk of becoming chilled or hypoglycemic.
“That means we feed them a few hours before surgery so they don’t become hypoglycemic, and we have a big focus on keeping them warm,” she says. “This involves making sure the air temperature in the rooms is warm, they’re not kenneled in a cold place before they’re anesthetized, all the surfaces they’re on are warm, and the whole procedure is efficient so they wake up quickly.”
Spaying or neutering earlier means that owners also can avoid the potential risk for unwanted litters. Many pet owners are surprised to learn that kittens as young as 4 months of age, and potentially even 3 months, are capable of reproducing.
“Cats, as a species, are the epitome of evolution,” Dr. Demos says. “They are made to reproduce. They’re great at surviving an environment and being prolific reproducers. That works in their favor most of the time, but in modern society, it’s less than ideal.”
Sterilization also eliminates the unpleasant behaviors that accompany feline sexual maturity, such as vocalizing, urine marking, and roaming. Multiple studies have even suggested that neutered animals live longer than intact ones, possibly because these animals are less likely to roam and fight.3,4 A medical benefit for spayed or neutered cats is a reduced risk for mammary tumors later in life.5-8
“There’s also a benefit if you look at it from the approach that we tend to do a kitten vaccine series and generally wrap that up by 16 weeks of age,” Dr. Demos says. “If we can tie an early spay or neuter in with that rather than asking a client to come back 2 months later for spay or neuter surgery, we might get better compliance with cats actually becoming sterilized.” This could mean better control of the feline population because of fewer unwanted litters or that fewer cats would end up in shelters because of unwanted behavior problems related to a lack of sterilization, such as urine marking and spraying.9
Some veterinarians still worry that sterilization before 6 months of age is too early. According to the AAFP website, concerns include the safety of anesthesia and surgery in young kittens as well as potentially detrimental long-term effects on development. Opponents cite obesity, a decreased immune
response, delayed closure of the physes of long bones, and predisposition to obstructive lower urinary tract disease as possible harmful effects.
There are certainly always going to be concerns, notes Dr. Demos. “When we discuss making a recommendation that’s broad and sweeping for patients, there will always be people on each side of the fence, and that’s valid,” she says. “One of the reasons that we picked 5 months as an initiative, rather than potentially 2.5 or 3.5 months, is that we want to take this slowly, but if performing sterilization just 1 month earlier can reduce the risk for breeding and reduce the risk for offspring, then we’ve made some impact.”
Dr. Levy hopes that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), will also officially support the initiative. “[The] AVMA has several position statements that address the appropriateness of pediatric spay and neuter,” Dr. Levy says. “I think when the science is displayed on this topic for cats,
there is no reason not to embrace it.”
Kim Campbell Thornton has been writing about dogs and cats for 32 years. She is the award-winning author of more than 2 dozen books and hundreds of articles on pet care, health and behavior.
Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Veterinary Task Force to Advance Spay-Neuter. Special report: The Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ 2016 veterinary medical care guidelines for spay-neuter programs. JAVMA. 2016;249(2):165-188.
American Association of Feline Practitioners. AAFP Position statement: Early spay and castration. AAFP website.http://www.catvets.com/public/PDFs/PositionStatements/EarlySpay&Neuter.pdf. Accessed April 28, 2017.
Root Kustritz MV. Early spay–neuter: clinical considerations. Clin Tech Small Anim Pract. 2002;17:124-128.
Hoffman JM, Creevy KE, Promislow DEL. Reproductive capability is associated with lifespan and cause of death in companion dogs. PLOS One. 2013;8(4):e61082.
Dorn CR, Taylor DO, Schneider R, et al. Survey of animal neoplasms in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, California. II. Cancer morbidity in dogs and cats from Alameda County J Natl Cancer Inst. 1968;40(2):307-318.
Hayes HM Jr, Milne KL, Mandell CP. Epidemiological features of feline mammary carcinoma. Vet Rec. 1981;108(22):476-479.
Misdorp W, Romijn A, Hart AAM. Feline mammary tumors: A case-control study of hormonal factors. Anticancer Res. 1991;11(5)1793-1797.
Overley B, Shofer FS, Goldschmidt MH, et al. Association between ovarihysterectomy and feline mammary carcinoma. J Vet Intern Med. 2005;19(4):560-563.
Glickman LT, Beck AM, McCabe GP, Ecker C. Risk factors for relinquishment of cats to an animal shelter. JAVMA. 1996;209(3):582-588.
Boarding options here for later alters:
The option of boarding to accommodate a later spay/ neuter is also available, which should solve any lingering concerns you’d still have and I believe covers the concern. For us money isn't the issue here nor does it play into our decision of when we do the surgery; if it did we would let them go unaltered and hang the adopters with a $300-400 vet bill for the procedure, recovery, transportation, time off work etc. 😂😁 Other reputable breeders charge up to an average of $600-1000 more per kitten and we don’t. With our pricing structure, we can share them more readily with the public. If you want us to board your future baby and do a later spay /neuter I'd LOVE to keep them for the extra time and honestly with how they eat, supplements, laundry, litter etc. at that age, $20 a day past 12 weeks of age covers our cost. (For bambinos and dwelfs this charge starts at 14 weeks due to size/ food requirements) We will happily keep them here up to age 22 weeks to help with late spay preferences. This still allows them to recover with their mama cat and human care giver and comforts of what they have always known. We know this decreases secondary stress upon them and also infection risk. We do things this way to protect them ( faster recovery and much lower infection rate and lower mortality rate than older cats/ kittens, fewer behavior issues pre-sexual maturation etc.) The current research ( last 2 decades ) supports our well-researched decision to spay/ neuter earlier, however, some are more comfortable with a later procedure and we are happy to honor that as well. Let me know prior to 10 weeks old if you are needing to activate this option so we can make adjustments with the veterinarian and scheduling. Your boarding bill will then be added to adoption cost upfront of known or if you decide this later but before 10weeks of age (but after initial contract) I’ll send a PayPal bill that will need to be paid 14 days prior to pick up. We are flexible and want you to be comfortable with the decisions made with your babies health here at Adora sphynx. ❤️
**all information here is provided as educational information and never provided or meant to supersede Veterinary advice. Please discuss your options with your veterinarian prior to making a decison.