If you are considering undergoing the process of Maine Coon neutering, you’re probably wondering about the best age to neuter a Maine Coon. If you are not planning on breeding Maine Coons, then it is usually a good idea to get your Maine Coon neutered, as it can reduce the risk of cancers, as well as alleviate some behavior problems. Of course, it’s natural to be worried about when to get your Maine Coon neutered, as well as how to make sure your cat is as comfortable as possible throughout the process.
With a Maine Coon, neutering is best done when the cat is anywhere between four and six months old. You cannot neuter a cat before it reaches at least four months of age, because it will be too small to undergo anesthesia. However, you should also make sure you neuter your Maine Coon before it begins to go through puberty.
Whether or not you choose to neuter your Maine Coon will have a huge impact on its life and behavior, and it is not a decision to be made lightly. In this article, we will take a look at why you would want to neuter your Maine Coon, as well as some reasons why you might choose not to.
Maine Coon Neutering
Neutering a Maine Coon refers to the act of removing the cat’s reproductive organs. In male Maine Coons, the testicles will be removed to make the cat infertile. Female Maine Coons can also be neutered, but it is usually referred to as “spaying.” When a female Maine Coon is spayed, her ovaries, as well as her uterus, are surgically removed.
Many cat owners have strong opinions on whether or not cats should be neutered, and it can sometimes be considered a controversial topic. We’ll take a closer look at the opposing sides of this argument later on in the article.
Ultimately, neutering your cat is completely up to you, and there are many different factors to consider. One of the first things you will have to think about is cost. Neutering your cat can cost anywhere between $300 and $500 at a private veterinarian, but it is possible to find organizations who charge less for the operation (source).
Why You Should Neuter A Maine Coon Cat
There are many compelling reasons you might want to neuter your Maine Coon. While most cats grow out of their kitten-like tendencies to play and act silly, Maine Coons have the unique tendency to remain kitten-like well into their adulthood. As a result, it’s easy to see why so many Maine Coons neuter their pets to keep them young at heart for as long as possible. Here are some other important reasons why you should neuter your Maine Coon.
When a Maine Coon is not neutered, its urine will contain a larger amount of hormones and pheromones. As a result, an unneutered Maine Coon’s urine will smell much, much worse. If you want to reduce the smell coming from your litter box, you should probably get your Maine Coon neutered.
Cats that have not been neutered also typically engage in a behavior known as spraying. This is when the cat sprays urine over its territory to mark it. Concerning the previous bullet point, this is why an unneutered Maine Coon’s urine will contain larger amounts of pheromones; it becomes a signal to other cats that that territory has already been claimed. This is an incredibly unpleasant behavior, and while some neutered Maine Coons might also spray occasionally, it is easier to train a cat that has been neutered.
A male cat that has not been neutered will be at a much higher risk for prostate cancer. Females, on the other hand, will have a higher chance of contracting ovarian, uterine, or breast cancers. By choosing to neuter your cat, you will greatly reduce the risk of these cancers, leading to a longer and happier life for your cat.
Whilst other common health issues in Maine Coon cats might not be related to the best age to neuter a Maine Coon cat, they are definitely worth knowing. My article on the ‘Top 7 Maine Coon Health Issues‘ is a great place to start when learning about your treasured cats health.
If you choose not to neuter your cat, it will want to roam around outside once it has reached sexual maturity. Even if you are okay with having a cat that spends time outdoors, it will be harder to coax your cat to spend time inside with you. Furthermore, if you plan on having an indoor cat, it will be much harder for your cat to be satisfied with living inside if it has not been neutered.
Unneutered female Maine Coons are amazingly loud. Maine Coons are a vocal breed by nature, but this gentle chattering is quite different from a female in heat.
If your female Maine Coon is not neutered, she will want to broadcast that she is in heat to any male nearby, and she will keen and yowl to let them know. This can be incredibly annoying, especially since cats can go into heat multiple times every year.
Maine Coons that have not been neutered can become territorial and aggressive towards other cats, as well as towards humans.
If your Maine Coon is constantly worried about mating, it might become distant, as well. While Maine Coons are typically friendly and tend to bond well with their owners, you will have a better chance of forming a strong relationship with your Maine Coon if it is neutered.
For more on the subject of how friendly Maine Coon cats are, click here to read my article.
Alternatively, readers interested in the key causes of Maine Coon aggression should read this article I wrote.
As you likely already know, shelters around the world are packed to the brim with homeless cats. If you have an outdoor cat that is not neutered, there are bound to be kittens involved.
Male cats spend a lot of time looking for females, and they can easily impregnate multiple cats every year. Not only can this transmit STDs to your cat and other cats, but you will also have several litters of kittens that are partially your responsibility.
If you have a female outdoor cat, this responsibility will become much more real; you will have to find safe and loving homes for each of the kittens. If you don’t want a whole litter of kittens to worry about, it’s best to neuter your cat.
Best Age To Neuter A Maine Coon
Most Maine Coons are purchased from breeders rather than shelters, (which neuter every cat available for adoption). This means that it is common to wonder “When should I neuter my Maine Coon kitten?”
There are some varying opinions about when to neuter your Maine Coon, although most agree that the right time falls between four and six months of age. This is the sweet spot for neutering your Maine Coon because, by this time, it will have grown large enough to endure doses of anesthesia, but it has not yet begun puberty.
Risks Of Neutering A Maine Coon Too Early – Fact Or Myth?
After purchasing a Maine Coon kitten, you may be tempted to get it neutered as quickly as possible so that you no longer have to worry about it. In the past, some Maine Coon breeders used to neuter cats while they were still quite young so they could also declaw the cat at the same time. Most veterinarians agree that it is best to perform a declawing procedure at the same time as neutering, so the cat doesn’t have to go through the stress of surgery more than once.
However, declawing is often considered cruel and unnecessary today, and breeders are less likely to declaw their kittens. As a result, many breeders avoid neutering their kittens while they are young because there has been speculation about early neutering cat problems.
For a time, it was believed that neutering kittens at a young age could result in obesity, stunted growth, and a poorly developed urinary tract. According to ‘The Cat Fanciers Association’, however, several controlled studies, including one at the University of Florida in 1991 and 1992, showed that there were no significant health differences between cats who were neutered early versus cats who were neutered at a later age (source).
Dangers Of Neutering A Maine Coon Later In Life
While studies have shown that there is little to no danger in neutering your Maine Coon early, there is a high risk of complications if you neuter your Maine Coon too late in life.
The three key risks to neutering an older Maine Coon are as follows:
- Increased risk of cancer
- Anesthesia complications
a) Increased Risk Of Cancer
According to The Humane Society of Charlotte, spaying a female cat before she goes into heat for the first time will greatly reduce the risk of uterine infections, as well as mammary cancer. Male cats who are neutered early are also less likely to contract prostate cancer or infections.
b) Anesthesia Complications
If your cat is especially old, particularly seven years or older, it may have poor liver or kidney function, which can worsen after the administration of anesthesia.
Young cats are much better at recovering well from surgery. A mature cat will be less likely to “bounce back” as quickly from its operation.
The Pros And Cons Of Neutering A Cat
Neutering your cat is not a black and white issue. If you are still on the fence about whether or not you want to neuter your cat, here is a list of pros and cons to neutering.
Your Cat Will Be Healthier.
One of the main advantages of neutering your cat is that it will be far less likely to contract infections and certain cancers associated with the reproductive organs. Uterine and prostate cancers are both very common in older cats, but neutering your cat will eliminate that risk.
2. Levels Of Affection
Your Cat Will Be More Affectionate.
A cat that has been neutered will have a decreased risk of behavior problems such as aggression. If you neuter your Maine Coon, it will not be as infatuated with cats of the opposite sex, and it won’t want to roam away from you as often.
3. Unexpected Kittens
No Danger of Kittens.
You won’t ever have to worry about a surprise litter if your cat has been neutered! This will decrease the number of homeless cats in the world, as well. Even if you can find good homes for all of the kittens, that will still leave cats in shelters without a potential loving family.
1. You Cannot Be A Breeder
No Chance of Kittens.
While this could be considered a positive aspect of neutering your Maine Coon, it can be a downside if you are looking to become a breeder yourself. If you want to breed your Maine Coon, you definitely should not neuter your cat!
2. Head Size
When male cats go through puberty, they develop a larger head and more prominent jowls. A neutered cat will have a sleeker, more feminine looking head, which could be a downside if you want your Maine Coon to have that classic big face.
What To Expect After Neutering a Maine Coon Cat
According to one pet specialist, the behavioral effects of neutering often take place immediately after the operation, although, in some cases, these changes can sometimes take weeks to manifest (source).
After your Maine Coon has been neutered, it will lose its desire to mark its territory and “patrol” for fights or members of the opposite sex outside. You may notice a decrease in activity, as well as an increased desire for affection and attention.
In general, a Maine Coon that has been neutered will become far more affectionate and cuddly. However, you cannot expect all of your Maine Coon’s behavioral issues to resolve with a simple operation. Keep in mind that if your Maine Coon is not well-trained or accustomed to people, surgery won’t change that.
How To Prepare Your Maine Coon For The Neutering Procedure
Any cat that is about to undergo the neutering procedure will first need a few blood tests and a urine exam to ensure they are fit for their surgery. Because your cat will be put on anesthesia, you will not be able to feed your cat for 12 hours before the surgery, although the exact number can vary between veterinarians.
Unfortunately, because we can’t communicate with our cats, there is no way to assure your Maine Coon that everything will be alright. The best thing you can do is speak in a soothing voice and make the trip to the vet as calm as possible. While your cat will be at least a little stressed by the new environment and sensations, you can soothe it with your presence before the surgery begins.
How To Care For Your Maine Coon After Neutering
After the surgery has been performed, your vet will do a quick check-up to see if your cat is fit to return home. In most cases, you will be able to take your Maine Coon back home right away, although you will need to make some changes in your routine to accommodate your cat’s recent surgery.
For the first week or so after surgery, you should keep your cat in a safe and controlled environment. Avoid strenuous activities like chasing, running, and jumping. Immediately after the surgery, you should keep a careful eye on your cat. Put it in a comfortable bed and keep a litter box close by so they don’t have to walk far to use it.
Recovery time can vary from cat to cat, so you should ask your vet about signs to look out for that could indicate complications. It’s best to write down your questions beforehand, as well as write down your vet’s answers. Some possible questions to ask might include when you can give your cat food and water, how to clean the affected area, and when you can expect your cat to be fully healed.
Whilst caring for a Maine Coon cat after surgery is crucial, owners shouldn’t forget to care for their majestic beast everyday! Here’s a great guide on how to care for your Maine Coon, correctly.
Do Indoor Maine Coons Need Neutering?
A common misconception among cat owners is that their cat only needs to be neutered if it goes outside. However, this is not at all true. While indoor cats won’t have a chance of impregnating other cats or being impregnated itself, neutering does more than prevent pregnancy. It also decreases the risk of certain cancers and prevents behavioral problems such as aggression and spraying. Neutering is highly encouraged for cat owners, even if their cat never goes outside.
If you’ve noticed your Maine Coon acting more aggressively, take a look at my guide on ‘Identifying and Handling Maine Coon Aggression‘.
Do Cats Know When They’ve Been Neutered?
Some owners might worry that their cat will suffer an identity crisis after being neutered. However, according to The Humane Society of Charlotte, a neutered cat will not be emotionally impacted by being neutered (source).
Do Cats Get Depressed After Being Neutered?
A neutered cat may seem depressed because they often become less energetic after the operation. However, this is due to a decreased sex drive, and neutering does not lead to depression in cats.
Does Neutering Affect A Cat’s Personality?
While neutering does affect certain behaviors in a cat, it will not change your Maine Coon’s inherent personality. A loving Maine Coon will still be loving after the operation. Likewise, a Maine Coon that is distrustful of humans will not suddenly become trusting after it has been neutered.
Not sure what to expect a Maine Coons personality to be? No problem, take a quick look at my informative article on this very subject: ‘Maine Coon Personality‘.
If you own a Maine Coon, neutering is probably a step you have already been considering. It can be hard to determine the best age to neuter a Maine Coon, but the consensus is that a Maine Coon is best neutered between the ages of four and six months. By neutering your Maine Coon cat, you will decrease undesirable behaviors, as well as the risk of certain infections and cancers. This will allow your cat to live a longer and happier life.
Does Neutering Stunt Growth In Cats?
A common misconception is that neutering a cat will stunt its growth, but this is not true. A cat that has been neutered is not at risk for stunted growth (source).
When Should I Spay A Maine Coon Kitten?
You can spay a Maine Coon kitten any time after it has reached two pounds, but most people prefer to spay their kitten when it is between four and six months of age.
When Do Maine Coons Start Spraying?
Maine Coons usually start spraying when they reach sexual maturity, which is typically between the ages of eight and ten months old. In some cases, however, Maine Coons can start spraying when they are as young as six months old.