State veterinary groups endorse ‘Feline Fix By Five Months’
Four state VMAs have joined the major national veterinary organizations in endorsing the spaying and neutering cats before age 5 months.
The state veterinary medical associations in Maine, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi have formally endorsed spaying or neutering cats before 5 months of age as the best practice. These announcements follow in the footsteps of the major national veterinary organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Animal Hospital Association, and American Association of Feline Practitioners.
Launched in 2016, Feline Fix by Five Months is an educational campaign to inform veterinarians, cat owners, and the public about the medical, behavioral, and community benefits of spaying and neutering cats before the age of 5 months, instead of the commonly accepted 6 months. Ths small change, the group says, would have tremendous benefits:
- Kittens can reproduce as early as 4 to 5 months, so spaying/neutering by 5 months will result in fewer unwanted litters.
- The risk for mammary cancer—fatal in over 85% of diagnosed cases—in female cats that are spayed before their first estrous cycle is reduced by 91%.1
- Neutering male cats reduces many undesirable behaviors, such as urine marking, aggressiveness, and roaming, which can result in injury, disease, or even death.
- Cats sterilized before puberty are less likely to exhibit undesirable behaviors secondary to sex hormones, so they are less likely to be surrendered to shelters for behavior oncerns.
“When state veterinary associations embrace and endorse the recommended best practice of spaying and neutering cats by five months of age, it amplifies our message that the benefits of ‘fixing by five months’ are numerous and impactful to the health and welfare of cats, and to the problem of overpopulation in communities across the country and around the world,” says Esther Mechler, Feline Fix by Five’s program director, in a recent press release.
To help spread its message, the campaign’s website offers a suite of educational and marketing materials, including videos, posters, and social media images, that hospitals can use to spread awareness to clients.
“Cat owners who may be unsure of when to spay or neuter their pet, or who wait until [the cat is] six months of age, are often faced with the dilemma of what to do with an unexpected litter of kittens, said Philip Bushby, DVM, MS, DACVS, veterinary medical advisor to the Fix by Five Months campaign. “Ironically, the problem is not always the result of owners refusing to spay or neuter their cat. They simply did not know that performing the surgery before a cat reaches sexual maturity has benefits beyond just preventing ‘surprise’ litters.”
Click here to learn more about Feline Fix by Five Months.
1. Mammary tumors. Cornell Feline Health Center. Acessed Augut 18, 2020. https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/mammary-tumors
Amanda Carrozza is a freelance writer and editor in New Jersey.