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NEUTERING THE MALE CAT
WHY NEUTERING IS A GOOD IDEA
Neutering a male cat is an excellent step to help 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. A neutered male cat has had his testicles removed, not only ending his ability to reproduce but also removing his source of testosterone and his interest in hormone-driven behaviors.
Other benefits of neutering include a drastic reduction in cat urine odor, reduced incidence of feline asthma and of gingivitis (gum inflammation). The reduction in fighting and roaming helps an outdoor male cat reduce his risk of FIV infection, bite wounds and associated abscesses, automobile-related trauma, dog/coyote-related injury, and other outdoor lifestyle situations that result from traveling away from home.
Cosmetic reasons to neuter a male cat has to do with the physical appearance. The mature tomcat is built for battle with a muscular body and facial thickenings (called shields) for protection against the bites of his combat opponents. Tomcats neutered after puberty will eventually lose these characteristics and male cats neutered before puberty never develop them.
(original graphics by marvistavet.com)
WHAT IS "EARLY" NEUTERING?
A common animal shelter practice has been to adopt out a young male kitten with his new owner paying a neuter deposit which is 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. Given that studies have found that approximately 70% of feline litters are unplanned and there is presently an enormous feline overpopulation problem, the importance of neutering cannot be overemphasized.
Early neutering allows for kittens to be neutered prior to adoption thus preventing these kittens from contributing to the unplanned litter problem. There has been some controversy over this practice as it flies in the face of tradition and there have been questions about any negative health consequences from this practice.
Some concerns that have been explored have included:
Behavioral problems with regard to shyness or socialization issues in kittens neutered early.
Kittens neutered early may be stunted or small.
Early neutered kittens will have a narrowed urethra which will predispose them to urinary blockage.
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 each other 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.
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?
Page last updated: 7/25/2018