Neutering the Male Cat

WHY NEUTERING IS A GOOD IDEA

Neutering a male cat is an excellent step in helping your young man grow into a loving well adapted household citizen. The main reason to neuter a male cat is to reduce the incidence of objectionable behaviors that are normal in the feline world but unacceptable in the human world.

ROAMING

More than 90% will reduce this behavior with neutering.
Approximately 60% reduce this behavior right away.
 

FIGHTING

More than 90% will reduce this behavior with neutering.
Approximately. 60% reduce this behavior right away.
 

URINE MARKING

More than 90% will reduce this behavior with neutering.
Approximately 80% reduce this behavior right away.

Another reason to neuter a male cat has to do with the physical appearance. A cat neutered prior to puberty (most cats are neutered at approximately age 6 months) do not develop secondary sex characteristics. These include a more muscular body, thickenings around the face called “shields,” and spines on the penis.

feline neuter 1

feline neuter 2

Male cat neutered prior to puberty

Male cat neutered after reaching puberty

(original graphics by marvistavet.com)

WHAT IS DONE EXACTLY

The feline neuter is one of the simplest surgical procedures performed in all of veterinary medicine. The cat is fasted overnight so that anesthesia is performed on an empty stomach. The scrotum is opened with a small incision and the testicles are brought out. The cords are either pulled free and tied to eachother or a small suture is used to tie the cords and the testicle is cut free. The skin incision on the scrotum is small enough so as not to require stitches of any kind.

EARLY NEUTER?

A common animal shelter practice has been to adopt a young kitten with the new owner paying a neuter deposit to be refunded when the kitten is neutered at the traditional age of six months. The problem has been that new owners do not return and young cats go unneutered. Early neutering allows for kittens to be neutered prior to adoption. There has been some controversy over this practice as it flies in the face of tradition but all research to date has shown no negative consequences to early neutering.

   Some myths have been:

  • EARLY NEUTERING IS MORE LIKELY TO PREVENT OBJECTIONABLE
    BEHAVIORS THAN IS NEUTERING AT A LATER AGE.

    This has not borne out. Neutering at any age is associated with the same statistics as listed above.

     
  • KITTENS NEUTERED EARLY WILL BE STUNTED OR SMALL.

    This is not true though early neutered kittens will not develop the more masculine appearance described above.

     
  • EARLY NEUTERED KITTENS WILL HAVE A NARROWED URETHRA
    WHICH WILL PREDISPOSE THEM TO BLOCKAGE WITH
    FELINE LOWER URINARY TRACT DISEASE.

    Early neutering does not seem to be a significant factor in this syndrome.

Our hospital supports early neutering but prefers that kittens presented for neutering weigh at least 3 lbs so that the tissues are not too difficult to manipulate.

RECOVERY

There is minimal recovery with this procedure. Most hospitals, like ours, discharge kittens the same day as surgery. There should be no bleeding or swelling. It is a good idea not to bathe the kitten until the incisions have healed 10-14 days from the time of surgery.

STILL CURIOUS ABOUT THE FELINE NEUTER?

Shadow Fernandez neuter 01

(original graphic by marvistavet.com)

We have put together a slide show to walk you through an actual feline neuter. These are actual surgical photographs. We invite you into the surgery suite to see how it's done. Click here to view the Feline Neuter Slide Show.


Page last updated: 5/19/2011