Why is it important to neuter my cat?

A male cat’s reproductive system has an impact on your own household, as well as society as a whole. There are over 6-8 million homeless animals that enter animal shelters yearly, with over half of these animals being euthanized due to over population, limited space, health concerns, and behavior issues. 

Neutering your cat requires a surgical procedure that excises (removes) the testicles. This surgery is recommended prior to your cat reaching puberty (typically by 6 months of age). There is minimal recovery associated with this procedure, and often the cat leaves the hospital the same day as the surgery. There is usually no bleeding or swelling associated with the operation and pain medicine and antibiotics are rarely indicated once the patient has been discharged from the hospital.

The main reason to neuter your cat is to reduce or eliminate the incidence of objectionable behaviors (roaming, fighting, and urine marking) that are normal in the feline world, but unacceptable in the human world. More than 90% of cats neutered will display a reduced tendency to roam around the neighborhood and fight, with a 60% in reduction of these behaviors immediately after the surgery. Over 90% of neutered cats will also have a reduced tendency of urine marking (spraying urine in inappropriate places), with an approximately 80% reduction in this behavior immediately following surgery. Cats neutered prior to puberty do not develop secondary sex characteristics, including a more muscular body, thickening around the face (shields), and spines on the penis.

Neutering your pet is also highly cost-effective. The cost of surgery for your cat to be neutered is far less than the costs associated with caring for and raising a litter of kittens. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom cat escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray! Furthermore, neutering eliminates the risk of developing testicular cancer later in life.

Myth – early neutering is more likely to prevent objectionable behaviors as opposed to those cats neutered at a later age. Regardless of age, the same reduction in behaviors is seen after surgery.

Myth – neutering your cat will make him fat. Lack of exercise and overfeeding will pack on the extra pounds, not neutering. Your cat will remain fit and trim as long as you monitor his caloric intake and provide him with adequate exercise.

Myth – kittens neutered early will be stunted or small. This is not true; however, your kitten will not develop a more masculine appearance.

Myth – early neutered kittens will have a narrowed urethra that will predispose them to a urinary obstruction. There is no proven association with early neutering and feline lower urinary tract disease.

Please be a responsible pet owner. Neutering your cat is the only 100% effective method of birth control.

[doctor name = “Theresa Hess”]