You may be wondering if you should get your male cat neutered and how it will affect them. Our Gilbert vets explain why neutering your cat not only prevents unwanted kittens but can help to curb some unwanted behaviors.
Should You Get Your Cat Neutered?
Approximately 3.2 million cats enter US animal shelters every year according to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
The absolute best way to help reduce the number of unwanted cats in shelters is by spaying or neutering your cat.
Getting your kitten fixed could help to curb many undesirable cat behaviors and help to reduce the risk of your cat developing a number of serious health conditions.
What is Neutering?
Neutering, or castration as it is sometimes called, involves the removal of the male cat's testes.
Having your male cat neutered will prevent him from fathering kittens.
Benefits of Neutering Your Male Cat
One unneutered male cat in your neighborhood can get many female cats pregnant. That's why neutering male cats are as important as spaying females when it comes to population control!
Neutering can help to reduce cat aggression which reduces the number of injuries from fighting. If your cat isn't fighting other cats it is less likely to get serious cat diseases such as the Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) that are often spread between cats during fights. Neutered males also tend to not run off which helps to reduce their risk of being injured by vehicles.
Reducing Undesirable Behaviors
Unneutered male cats typically spray inside the home more than neutered males and can develop aggressive behavior towards their owners. Having your male kitten neutered while still a kitten can help to prevent these behaviors from starting.
Male cats who are not neutered, often roam over large areas in search of females to impregnate. These males will spray to mark their territory and often fight with other male cats which can be noisy, smelly, and cause injuries.
When Should You Get Your Cat Fixed?
Every cat is unique and your vet will be able to advise you on when you should get your cat neutered. Typically kittens can be neutered at about four months old. Adult cats can be also be neutered.
It is very important to prevent your pet from licking or chewing at their incision site. Your vet may recommend an e-collar or recovery suit (surgical onesie) to block your pet from being able to reach the area.
It is important to check your cat's incision site daily. There should be no sign of redness or oozing, and swelling should be minimal. In some cases, males may appear as if they still have testicles. This swelling is normal and should reduce throughout the recovery.
If you see any signs of infection contact your vet for further instructions.
Most cats will have internal sutures that are absorbable, with the outer layer of skin held together with water-soluble surgical glue. Do not apply any ointments or wash the area. Follow the post-op instructions provided by your vet.
If your cat happens to have external sutures or staples they will need to be removed after the recovery period. We recommend booking your cat's follow-up appointment when you pick them after their surgery .
As challenging as it may be it's important to limit your cat's activity for about 14-days following their surgery.
Strenuous activity could cause the wound to open, possibly leading to infection. So, that means no running, jumping, playing or swimming.
Baths are also not allowed during this 14-day recovery period.
Your cat will be given general anesthesia as part of the surgical process. When your cat comes out of surgery the after-effects of general anesthesia can leave them feeling a little nauseous and lethargic.
Expect your cat to gradually recover their normal appetite about 24 hours after surgery. Offering smaller portions of food at first before moving to full-size meals is recommended.
If after 24 hours your cat is still lethargic or has symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, call your vet for further instructions.
Neutering is a common veterinary surgery and considered safe for cats, complications can still occur on occasion. Your cat's incision site will be a little red but should not get worse. If your cat's incision site does not show signs of healing, contact your vet right away.
Symptoms that can indicate a problem are:
- Heavy breathing, panting
- Relentless attempts to lick or chew incision site
- Pet sitting or laying in an unusual position
- Shaking or trembling
- Constant or repeated whining
- Hiding or other unusual behavior
- Trouble urinating
- Lethargy or lack of normal energy more than 24 hours after surgery
- Discharge or bleeding from the incision site
- Open incision site
- Pale gums
Recover Time for Cats Following Surgery
Every pet is a little different and your pet's recovery time will depend upon a number of factors including their age, size, and overall health. Generally, cats are good to resume their normal activities after about two weeks of recovery time. Your vet may recommend a follow-up appointment before allowing your cat to resume strenuous activity.
Be sure to follow the post-op instructions provided by your vet and contact your veterinary clinic if your cat is taking longer than expected to recover from their surgery.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.