The Importance of Early Age Spay and Neuter of Ragdoll Kittens

Last Updated on July 8, 2021 by Jenny

The Importance of Early Age Spay and Neuter of Ragdoll Kittens

Originally published Jan 13, 2012 – running it again because this continues to be an ongoing problem for me through email.

Sometimes it can be hard to have a site that supports purebred cats.  I receive nasty emails from people that do not support breeding – and there are strong reasons why they don’t support breeding.  Sometimes, I struggle with supporting breeding because of the emails I receive about irresponsible breeders.

Charlie as a Ragdoll Kitten
Charlie as a Ragdoll Kitten

Even breeders who think they are being responsible, end up causing irresponsible breeding.  How does this happen? They release a kitten that has not been altered to a pet owner who signs a contract that they will spay or neuter the kitten, however, something comes up – financial strain or the pet owner changes his or her mind and wants to breed the cat.  Even if they sign a contract, it doesn’t stop them.  Some people don’t care about contracts and in fact, the original breeder doesn’t have much control once the kitten is released.  Sure, they can sue, etc. But once the damage has been done, it’s been done.  No court of law can take away the fact that the cat has produced a new litter of kittens, irresponsibly.

However, I do support responsible breeders who do not release their kittens without early age spay and neuter. is nearly 4 years old and in the process of receiving e-mails and comments from readers and visitors over the years, I have come to the conclusion that it is CRUCIAL for breeders to responsibly spay and neuter kittens BEFORE they go to their forever homes.  I get emails every week from people that decided to breed their pet quality kitten “because she’s so cute” with their neighbor’s Siamese cat – and the kittens are so cute and can I list them on my site.  Or people that couldn’t afford to neuter them, so they now need to get rid of the cat because he’s spraying all over the place.  It is heart-breaking for me, thinking about everyone involved and to think that it could ALL be avoided if breeders just early spayed and neutered their cats.

Yes, many breeders have kitten adopters sign contracts where they say they will spay and neuter the kitten they are adopting, but it doesn’t always happen.  And if it doesn’t happen 100%, then it’s not good enough.  There are too many dangers involved in NOT spaying and neutering early on.

When my parents got Rags and Cosby in 1989, they signed a contract that they would neuter the two kittens and they did when they were 6 months old.  It’s just that not everyone does this.

Caymus and Murphy came neutered from their breeder, Bluegrass Rags.

Charlie and Trigg came neutered from their breeder, Soulmate Ragdolls.

There are special vets that know how to to do this procedure and responsible breeders will find them.

Do you know a responsible breeder that does early spay and neuter?  Please feel free to list them in the comments section below.

Here are additional resources where you can learn more about it.

There are always two sides to every argument, here is a resource that is opposed to early age spay and neuter – but I bet if they ran this site they would change their minds!

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37 thoughts on “The Importance of Early Age Spay and Neuter of Ragdoll Kittens

  1. pam-e says:

    PS: That photo of Charlie as a kitten is so gorgeous. I just want to kiss that smooshy little head of his…

    • Jenny says:

      =) i know! i can see “charlie” so much in that photo – but remember the first time i saw that photo, while i knew he was mine, i did not know him!

  2. pam-e says:

    I was very surprised when FLUFFY was sold to me entire. His breeder gave me written instructions to get him desexed around 5-6 months old. I asked my vet about early desexing when I took FLUFFY for his 4 month old vaccinations, but when they examined him his testicles hadn’t descended yet. At first I thought that was funny until I read about cryptorchidism (retained testicles).

    The vet said they would do it as soon as his testicles descended. So it was an anxious wait for me worrying about cryptorchidism. FLUFFY’s testicles were descended (and removed) by the time he was 5 months old. That’s the journey FLUFFY and I walked together. I’m a responsible pet owner and I always intended to get him desexed ASAP. I received my papers from his breeder after FLUFFY was desexed.

    However, as soon as my neighbour saw FLUFFY she advised me not to get him desexed and let him make kittens. Naturally I ignored her “advice”. Unfortunately people like that see just see dollar signs where we see our gorgeous fur babies. So I do support early desexing and all the shelters here in Australia perform early desexing.

    • Jenny says:

      Yes! My family is also responsible pet owners and get our cats spayed and neutered – so I get it and appreciate those of us who are! Unfortunately, from having this website, I have learned not all cat owners are created equal – and have people contact me about breeding their brother and sister cats that came from the same litter!

      • pam-e says:

        That’s just terrifying the idea of breeding brother with sister from the same litter!!! We definitely need to protect animals against that kind of behaviour and early desexing is the best way.

        The only way to change behaviour is to raise awareness and educate people, and that’s exactly what you’re doing here Jenny! I’m very glad you chose to re-run this topic.

  3. Nancy Dungan says:

    Thank you for rerunning this post. The breeder of our beautiful boys @rags2dazzle is a firm believer in early spay and neutering. We picked up the boys @14 weeks and they were about 10 days out from their neutering. They were wonderfully socialized and are fun loving, bonded to us and each other, and a true joy.

  4. Patti Johnson says:

    SUPER PAWESOME & FABULOUS RE-POST, Jenny! THIS information is SOOOOO VERY IMPORTANT & CRITICAL to have for all kitteh owners! TYSVM for sharing it with us again and reminding us about this Very Crucial topic! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

  5. Jacquie Snee says:

    Hi there! I am new to the site and a new ragdoll mum to 10 month old Ollie (male) Blue Point, he currently weighs 8lbs. We adopted Ollie at 13weeks old unneutered and without papers, we will receive his papers as soon as we show proof of neutering. I have heard that neutering too early can stunt their growth but that they should be neutered before 12months to avoid the problem of spraying, my question is when do you think we should take him for his op? Would 10months 2 weeks be ok?

      • Jenny says:

        In an ideal world, pet owners would be responsible and do it. But unfortunately, I have learned that isn’t the case in the 8 years I have run this website – so that’s the reason I find early spay and neuter at the breeder’s so very important.

  6. Lana Nickerson says:

    This is a very good post, Jenny. I have been breeding Ragdolls since 2001. At first there were no vets around that would do the early spay, but that changed – thank goodness. If you do a search of Ragdoll breeders around the country, you will find that a high number do the early spay/neuter. Yay! And as for people who are anti-breeder, they put the blame in the wrong place. It is irresponsible pet-owners who don’t spay/neuter their cats, that cause the over-population. Most cats in shelters are of mixed breeds and came from parents who were allowed to breed with no care about the result. I owned mixed bred cats for many years and loved them all, but many were not the nicest of cats. When people choose a purebred pet, they have a good idea what they may grow up to be like. I would say that a very large number of my kitten buyers have mixed bred cats as well as their Ragdoll. We can only hope that eventually the spay/neuter campaign will work and only planned litters will be born. As for health concerns with the early spay/neuter, we who have been doing it for years, have seen that the kittens grow to healthy normal adults. Thank you, Jenny, for promoting this wonderful breed.

  7. Becca says:

    Very interesting post. I’m a firm believer in spaying or neutering all pets, but if we didn’t have responsible breeders we would not have our lovely Ragdolls and other loving Pedigree cats. We also believe in adding shelter kitties to our family. Thanks for the article and enjoyed all the different view points.

  8. Patti Johnson says:

    So glad you re-ran this post, Jenny! Our Miss Pink Sugarbelle was spayed before we picked her up from Little Apple Ragdolls in Manhattan, KS. YAY!!!

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  9. Christina says:

    Interesting topic. I’m a firm believer in fixing all pets, but if we didn’t have responsible breeders we would not have our lovely Ragdolls and other loving Pedigree cats. I have also rescue kitties and have helped a family member with fixing and maintaining the lives of true feral cats (these are cats that are not adoptable due to being so wild)

    When I adopted my first Ragdoll 16 years ago the breeder gave me a window of time to get him fixed for the TICA registration papers. If no documents he was fixed, no proof of Pedigree. I had no issue with this, had no interest in breeding him. (Technically, I was told if he bred with anything other than another Pedigree Ragdoll, he would no longer be a Pedigree… No idea if true)
    A few months later, the breeder informed me that breeders will start requiring the kittens to be fixed before adoption. Since that was 15 or so years ago I’m surprised to even see this as a practice. Apparently, at least in California and TICA folks – any breeder that does Not alter their kittens before adoption is Not reputable period.
    So how the heck do these Ragdolls get their papers if sold that way? I hope these folks are writing to the agencies that regulate and provide guidelines for certification and informing them of their practices. Breeders should take great pride in being certified by these agencies.

    Also….there is absolutely no excuse for not getting a Cat altered. There are funds and agencies that cover it if you can’t afford. Poppycock!

    • Jenny says:

      They do it the old school way – that once you “send proof” that the cat has been altered, then the breeder will send you papers. But that doesn’t stop people from being irresponsible and trying – I can’t tell you how many people tell me that they have purebred kittens, but the parents don’t have papers. Sigh.

      • Christina says:

        Yeah..I’m sure people do. Amazing isn’t it? Why? To what fricken end?

        Our breeders are members of TICA,RI (Ragdoll International), CFA, RCFI and RFW. The initial paperwork reveals the lineage.
        I feel blessed to have them come in my path for our next Ragdoll family member.

  10. Jim says:

    My vet wants to wait till Milo is 8-9 months old before he’s neutered She said it’s best to neuter later in order for Milo go grow to his full potential (to be as big as a cat as he can be). Has anyone heard this before? It goes against the grain of those whose kittens are neutered before they leave the cattery. Are these kittens’ growth stunted?

    • Christina says:

      Seems like an odd thing for a vet to say. Never heard of this. Mine was 3-4 months and a fairly large Ragdoll, not fat, all muscle. In fact, I am under the impression that Sire’s (that are not fixed and used ti breed) tend to be thinner because of all the activity.
      I’d ask another veterinarian and see what they say. Again, medically does not make sense.

  11. Lisa says:

    I got Murphy neutured at 8 months old it was perfect,he showed no signs of raging hormones or spraying,but I did get tears leaving him at the neuter place all day.We picked him up at was feeling great,when he came home the procrdure is very simple on males,and he weighed 10lbs at the time so,he was not out of it at all.I dont think he even knew what happend or that he was their all day.I will also neuture Baby Ceasar in January,at 8 months old.Hes still a baby ,and hes smaller than his Uncle was at 6months,he was the smallest Raggy in the litter ,so I will also get him a thorough vet check before the neuture procedure.I take Murphy for vet check every 12 months.Jenny those boys of yours are so ADORABLE,I also talk to my boys in a special tone just for them and I Hardly call them by their real names.My Boo Boos are so cute I know the neighbors hear me and think im a real Kook,I dont care cause my 2 little Buggins are so cute and so special I tell them everyday.Bye Lisa

  12. Sooky says:

    FYI one of the best cattery’s in Florida for early breeding is “sunnyshorescattery” The website is very informative about early spaying/neutering. They have all types of info about the ragdoll breed, including genetic defects and what you need to know. I do hope everyone who loves ragdolls like myself will look into the info provided on this website.

  13. Ling says:

    During my research about Ragdolls and cats in general, I made the decision to only consider breeders who neutered their kittens before releasing them to prospective owners. Some of the information I read in the past stated that neutering at a younger age is better, even though some breeders’ websites say their kittens should be neutered by at least 5 or 6 months. I am no breeder but I prefer it when breeders state they neuter/spay at 12 weeks (3 months) or it may be a little bit younger..cannot remember the exact numbers. I find this important as it affects the kitten’s hormones and sometimes their temperament/personality. Jenny, I was shocked by your article. I cannot believe pet owners decide to just breed their kittens…for THEIR convenience.

    Personally, I understand why some individuals are against breeding but it all depends on our own perspective of how you look at a situation. If breeding did not exist at all then many breeds of animals would be extinct, whether they can be pets or not. Look at zoos or some type of animal facility, there are those who breed to keep that species from going extinct, like pandas. I have come upon a few breeding websites where the breeder states why she (most are female) is doing this, one stated that she wanted to help keep the wonderful Ragdoll breed alive. Sure, words are words and actions are actions, but never know, right? 🙂 Unfortunately, no matter what others say..someone will disagree and be displeased, which is expected. I have debated back and forth about whether to get two male Ragdoll kittens from the same litter in the future or to get one male kitten and adopt one. I decided that I will make the decision when the time comes because you never know when that or those special kitten(s) will jump out at you! Even if I do get two Ragdolls, I will donate to animal shelters or do something to help animals. Honestly, there is no win win situation but whether the animal is bred or not, the love is there ~

  14. Pamela Curry says:

    Nice Article, I did wait until most of my kittens were 5-6 months and I was glad about it.
    The ones done earlier, that’s a long story but they were very confused and upset.

    • Christina says:

      Hello Pamela
      The Ragdoll I had neutered was at about three or four months old and he had such a terrible time. I even called the vet teary eyed feeling the poor guys pain. Ragdolls just look so dignified, it was horrid to see him make a mess all over himself when he irinated. I actually thought it better if done earlier. If you had a different experience, good for you.

  15. Michelle says:

    I agree that if the cat is used as a breeder for registered cat breeders then don’t but if not, they should be spayed or snipped. The breeders here in Australia all spay or snip their kittens before they go to their forever homes, it’s the law and it’s better for the cat and owner as well. There’s to many unwanted cats in shelters and ferals it’s heart breaking.

  16. Lisa says:

    Although I respect everyone’s right to their opinion, I have had my share of shelter kittens and have been attacked physically. I was abused by my previous cat so much so that I was afraid to be in the same room as a cat. So I have paid for a Ragdoll that was early neutered to know what I am getting and the background to the training of my cat. I would love to see every cat have a home in the world this is just not a realistic possibility. So I say be very careful of the breeder you choose and do your homework prior to adopting any animal whether it be in the shelter or cattery. If breeders have no customers they will go out of business. It is your choice to where you adopt from. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. I actually work at a shelter now and see these poor animals that people chose to abuse whether they paid for them or not. SPAY OR NEUTER YOUR PETS!!!

    • Veronica Thompson says:

      Wow Lisa, your comment is exactly in since with what I would’ve said!!!! I have rescued many cats over the years and have loved them all dearly. Truly though, they’ve been severely aggressive or unhealthy. Only after lots of research did I finally decide on a Ragdoll. They’re such gentle cat. Also, as far as I know, they are very healthy due to the way they’re bred. In a perfect world, cats would be spayed or neutered and we wouldn’t have this problem of unwanted, abused and neglected kittens and cats in shelters. I’m not ashamed of my choice to adopt a healthy kitten that is calm enough to stay indoors where it’s safe from the coyotes in my neighborhood.

  17. LT says:

    I am adamantly opposed to breeding cats. I have been involved in rescue for over 15 years and our house is full of the unwanted, abused, abandoned and unloved cats that have so many either health or emotional issues that they would have died in a shelter or on the streets. There are millions of unwanted/stray/feral cats in this country that need homes, there are millions in shelters that die for no other crime than being born. Until there are no more cats in shelters, there should be no more breeding of cats.

    We love our cats but I would not have paid you a dime for a one of them. A cat is a cat is a cat and Buster is not going to pull me out of a well or drag me out of a burning building. I do not see the need to breed cats.

  18. Geo says:

    I can understand your position, Jenny. One of my Ragdolls came home neutered and one did not. Of course, I had him snipped at 6 mo. and it was an ordeal for him and me. I’d much prefer it done early even if I have to pay more for the kitten. Laura of Angelheart Ragdolls in Burlington, WI is an excellent, caring and responsible breeder who does the early neuter. She doesn’t ‘overbreed’ like some others I am aware of who make too many kittens and then don’t early neuter– problems can grow exponentially. I could never be a breeder partly because of all the poor shelter cats without homes. I just wouldn’t feel right about it…On the other hand, I was glad to get my boys from breeders because of all the many heartbreaking health problems I have experienced with my shelter animals in the past. ( btw, in that pic, Charlie looks like one of the cutest, most precious Raggie kittens I’ve sever seen! ; )

    • Jenny says:

      Thanks, Geo. That is the first photo of Charlie that I ever saw – I guess you understand why he’s mine now – irresistible!

  19. Suzanne says:

    I have been involved in rescue my whole life. All my pets are rescues except the cats, because of my allergies. Before I learned about Siberians (totally Hypo-allergenic!), I discovered I was less allergic to Ragdolls (it’s tolerable with medication). I have 2 Ragdolls and lost my Siberian to FIP last March.
    I neutered my male Rag and male SIberian at 6 mo. My female Rag was neutered by the breeder at 9 weeks. She was fat at 5 mo. old. I had never even heard of a fat kitten. She had a fat pad by 6 mo. I thought it was a tumor. I personally believe growth hormones and sex hormones have way more importance in the first 6 mo. than just fertility. They regulate metabolism and proper growth in many other ways. The old school of thought for males anyway, was that they also helped to fully form the urinary system, so no neuters were done prior to 6-9 mo. My Vet said her weight problem is typical of an early neuter kitten, especially females. I understand the need to do it (especially shelters)because so many people won’t due to the cost, they want kittens for their children, or to sell. I would have spayed her at 6-7 mo. Her weight is a struggle.You’re right, a contract means nothing. Personally I would not want an intact cat of either sex in my home, and I don’t really like the idea of breeding. I’m on a slippery slope. I lovecats, but have bad allergies to most of them, I was going to do without, but gave in to my wants. TI also don’t really like the idea that breeders have multiple litters per year, just to weed out one or two for showing and more breeding. Even though many of the kittens find homes, they are really just the by-product of seeking perfection in a very, very few. Then the breeders are spayed eventually and sold off as by-products too. Most breeders make their cats live in “rooms” of divided sexes, and even cages. In my opinion, no life for a cat.I won’t get any more cats because even though I love mine, I’d have to BUY another Siberian (even though the breeder of my Siberian offered me another kitten, I have FIP phobia now) if I wanted another cat. Another Ragdoll would max out my allergic tolerance.
    Ideally, I guess I believe there would be no breeding, and every shelter cat and the hundreds of thousands put to death each year or living on the streets would get homes. I’m a freakin’ hypocrite…

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