Should a Maine Coon cat be neutered later than regular cats because of their slow development?

The general consensus is that Maine Coon cats take up to 4 years to become adults. And also, the general consensus by veterinarians is that neutering of male cats is best done when they are 6 or 7 months old. Puberty in regular male cats occurs between 4-7 months of age. Note: this is about male cats because the word 'neutering' applies to that gender. Females are spayed. Although, as you might know, the word "neutering" can also apply to general sterilisation.

6 months old male Maine Coon
6 months old male Maine Coon. Image: u/CZinvester on

At puberty the male cat develops secondary sexual characteristics such as barbs on their penis and jowls (a chunky looking face).

It is suggested that puberty in Maine Coon cats occurs a bit later than for regular cats because of their slow development and it might occur between 7-9 months of age. There is a certain degree of flexibility. You won't find a precise time.

So, let's presume that if a Maine Coon cat is neutered at six months of age it would possibly be early neutering for that individual cat. How might that affect the cat other than being neutered?

  • My reference book states that if a male cat is neutered before the development of secondary sexual characteristics (at puberty) his penis may remain small.
  • And apparently early neutering predisposes a cat to "capital physis fracture or slipping".
  • Early neutering might also produce a slightly taller size due to delayed bone growth plate closure.
  • And finally, early neutering might result in the inability to exude (display) the penis.

Early neutering is becoming quite popular with kittens as young seven weeks being neutered.

My research indicates that veterinarians in general do not see a problem with early neutering. The issues mentioned above are minor unless it concerns you that your male cat cannot extrude his penis! Some may disagree with the list above because this is a somewhat contentious area of feline health.

Early neutering does not, it seems (note that this is not a settled matter) lead to an increase in the incidence of urinary tract problems. The actual urethral diameter seems to be the same. And studies conducted a little while ago found that there were no long-term behavioural aspects from early spay and neuter surgery.

The conclusion, therefore is that it may be a reasonable argument to neuter a male Maine Coon cat later than six or seven months of age but if he is neutered at six or seven months of age which would be early neutering, the consequences would not be detrimental in the eyes of veterinarians.

This is why many veterinarians and animal shelters are now neutering male cats at seven weeks of age. Based on a personal choice, I think the owner of a male Maine Coon cat might reasonably suggest to their veterinarian that they neuter their male cat a bit later than normal say at nine months of age and see what their response is!


The same basic rules apply to those that I've stated about male cats. Early spaying a female cat is quite common and occurs in many veterinary clinics and animal shelters. Once again, early spaying can lead to cats being a bit taller as bone closure rates are delayed but no health problems follow and studies have found that there are no long-term behavioural effects from early spay and neuter surgery. That's according to my reference book: Cat Owner's home veterinary Handbook.


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