Cat Neutering (males)



Cat Neutering (males)
Male cats are usually neutered between 5 1/2 and 9 months of age, before habits such as spraying urine are started. Neutering involves the removal of the source of sex hormones and sperm cells, which is the testicles. The two incisions are usually so small that stitches or sutures are not even needed. And, normally, the cat is sent home the very same day.

With the number of homeless and unwanted cats on the rise, spaying or neutering cats is the responsible course of action, unless you're planning to breed them.

Neutering your cat has many benefits for both you and your feline. These cats usually have a gentle disposition and make excellent companions for the elderly and children.

Neutering your cat makes for a better pet, removing the hormonal factors and associated behavior of a sexually active pet. Owners who have experienced a queen in heat, a frustrated tomcat, or unwanted litters of kittens will not argue against the wisdom of neutering pets. Once neutered, pets are usually very affectionate and more predictable.

Castration: Neutering a male cat is a minor procedure. During this operation, the testicles are removed through a small incision in the scrotum. The spermatic cords and their associated blood vessels are tied off to prevent hemorrhage. External stitches are not used.

Neuteried Males compared with their unaltered counterparts, castrated male cats are typically:

  • less prone to wandering

  • more affectionate

  • less aggressive

  • less territorial

  • more social with other felines

  • healthier.
Tomcats are notorious fighters and wanderers. In addition to contributing to the overpopulation of cats, tomcats are at a very high risk for infectious disease and injury due to their behavior. Neutering your male cat considerably reduces these risks.

Neutering males also decreases their desire to spray and mark everything within their territory. Keeping a non-castrated male cat in the house is almost impossible.

There is another procedure available for preventing fertility in males, and that is a "vasectomy". While a vasectomy renders a male cat sterile, it does not affect testosterone levels as long as the spermatic artery is kept intact. A vasectomized cat, in other words, can mate, but cannot father kittens. This procedure is rarely used for domestic male cats, because a vasectomized male cat would still have territorial issues, still perhaps be prone to fighting other cats to protect that territory, still wander and try to get outside in search of a mate, and still spray urine that has a very strong odor. Vasectomy is still a valid alternative for population control in feral cat colonies, however.

The best time to alter your pet is before the animal reaches puberty. Many experts feel that six months of age is an ideal time to spay or neuter. However, there have been numerous studies done that show that healthy kittens spayed or neutered as young as six weeks of age do quite well. The recovery of such young kittens is very quick, and to date, no negative significant concerns have been found.

Some people still feel that a kitten should be larger and stronger before undergoing the general anesthesia required to perform the surgery, and to allow more time for the urinary tract system to develop. Consult with your veterinarian and other veterinary health professionals that you trust to help you determine the right age for your kitten or cat. And, speaking of cats, unless your cat has a health problem, spaying/neutering is considered safe at ANY age! Most of the time, the owners of mature cats - as well as the cats themselves - enjoy all the benefits of the spay/neuter surgeries also!

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> 90% will reduce this behavior with neutering
Approx. 60% reduce this behavior right away
FIGHTING> 90% will reduce this behavior with neutering
Approx. 60% reduce this behavior right away
URINE MARKING> 90% will reduce this behavior with neutering
Approx. 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.

WHAT IS DONE EXACTLY

The feline neuter is one of the simplest surgical procedures performed in all of veterinary medicine. The cat is fasted over night 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 NETUERED 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.