Bringing home a new cat to be part of your family is an exciting period. You’ll be busy making sure all the kitty essentials are settled and that the vet has given your cat a clean bill of health.
One thing that many cat owners are on the fence about is whether they should neuter or spay their cats.
Some might feel that it is wrong to ‘fix’ their cat but there’s more to it than just a moral issue.
Neutering your male cats does have more pros than cons. Fixing your cat eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancies which is a big issue for the global feline population. Male cats that are neutered have less of a desire to roam around looking for female cats and get into nasty fights. Overall, sterilizing your cat will improve the cat’s quality of life.
In this article, we will be discussing more in-depth about the pros and cons of neutering your cat.
What Is The Best Age To Neuter Your Cat?
Just to set the record straight, neutering is for male cats and spaying is for female cats.
For males, their testicles are removed and for female cats, it will be the removal of their ovaries and uterus.
The general consensus amongst vets is that cats can be neutered when they reach 5 months old.
The reason for it being this young is that cats become sexually mature at 6 months of age and can start reproducing.
There’s no age limit when it comes to neutering male cats. But it would be better to get the procedure done when they are younger to avoid complications.
Is Neutering Safe For Male Cats?
Yes, it is a safe procedure and nothing for pet owners to worry about.
Anesthetic drugs are always a concern even for humans but they have been shown to be safe for both older and younger cats.
If your cat is older or a senior cat, it would be best to get the vet to do a proper bloodwork test before proceeding with the neutering.
This is to ensure that the male cat has no existing medical conditions that can put him at risk during the procedure.
After the procedure, you can follow our Male Cat Neutering Aftercare Tips guide to give your cat a speedy recovery.
What Are The Benefits Of Having My Male Cat Neutered?
There are also medical and behavioral benefits to neutering your cat.
1. Population Control
According to the ASPCA, 1.4 million cats are euthanized each year due to overpopulation in animal shelters.
This is a really huge and heartbreaking number.
I’m sure that so many of these cats can make great pets but there are just not enough adopters to go around.
Female cats can have up to 200 kittens in their lifetimes.
As pet owners, we need to do our part to help to control the cat population to prevent innocent cats from being euthanized due to an ever-growing feline population.
Even if you do not have a cat, you can help with their population control by helping to neuter feral and stray cats.
The Trap Neuter Release (TNR) program has been specifically created for this purpose.
2. Stop Your Cat From Straying
Unneutered or intact cats have the tendency to stray further away to look for females to mate with.
This can be problematic for pure indoor cats who will try to escape and look for females to mate with.
If you have a cat that is allowed to roam outdoors, it might run away when let outside to find another cat to mate with.
The male cat can get into accidents by crossing roads, getting lost or getting into fights with other stray cats.
Neutering will help stop your cat from being distracted by its sex hormones when a female cat starts calling for a mate.
On top of this, when your cat is spraying your home with urine and brown secretion from its anal glands, it will stink up your home really badly.
It is also very hard to get rid of the odor and stains from your belongings and furniture.
3. Promotes Cat Peace At Home
Intact male cats are usually more aggressive in behavior. Tomcats usually have bigger heads and cheeks that act as armor when they get into fights.
They are more territorial and get very confrontational when another cat encroaches on their space.
If you have a few cats at home, this can result in fighting and injury. It would be best to neuter your cats to ensure that they won’t get into conflicts.
This is important if you have FELV or FIV living amongst your cats. Bite wounds during fights can cause the virus to spread.
Neutering cats will make them calmer and less likely to get into feline fights at home.
A calmer cat equals to calmer cat owner too.
4. Reduce Spraying
Unneutered male cats tend to mark their territory by spraying urine on surfaces. Sometimes, they might even leave some poop (gasp!) as well.
Their marking scent is pungent and can lead to many hours of frustrating cleaning at home.
This is a way to mark and warn other cats that this area belongs to them and to trespass at your own risk.
Neutered male cats are less territorial and won’t have the tendency to mark their territory.
Even if they do, it won’t stink as bad as intact male cats.
5. Increase Longevity
By spaying or neutering your cat, you give them a better chance of a longer life.
A study was done in 2013 based on 460,000 cats and it has been found that sterilized cats live longer than intact cats1.
A neutered cat can live more than twice as long as unneutered male cats, 62% more to be exact.
That is many more years of amazing companionship and memories for you and your cat.
And why would any cat owner say no to that?
6. Keeps Your Cat Healthier
The procedure of neutering involves removing the testicles of your cat.
By doing so, it removes any chance of your cat getting testicular cancer which is a common disease in unneutered males.
Older cats have a higher tendency to develop prostate cancer. By neutering male cats, it can help reduce the chances of getting it.
Disadvantages Of Neutering A Cat
Just like most things in life, there are two sides to the coin.
You will need to be aware of the negative aspects when it comes to neutered cats.
1. No Longer Able to Breed
Once your cat is neutered it won’t be able to breed any longer.
So if you are planning to have your cat reproduce at some point in time, you should hold off on the procedure till then.
2. Possibility Of Weight Gain
Intact male cats can use up a lot of their energy by looking for a female to mate with.
As this involves many hours of wandering around and courtship.
Neutered males tend to gain weight more easily as they no longer have the urge to mate.
However, this can be offset by giving your cat a good diet and enough playtime to keep him fit.
3. Urinary Tract Problems
About 5% of neutered cats can suffer from Urinary tract problems or infections.
This happens when crystals form in the bladder and block up the urethra making urination difficult or painful.
Neutering male cats at a young age can cause a reduction in the size of their urethra which leads to this problem.
One way to prevent this is to make sure your cat drinks enough water. Have a bowl of clean water available at all times.
Make sure to regularly clean out his litter box as cats don’t like to do their business in a dirty litter tray.
Don’t feed your cat dry food or kibbles as it contains no moisture and contains subpar ingredients.
Raw food diet is best for them as raw meat contains lots of moisture. The next best alternative would be canned or wet food.
Reasons Not To Neuter Your Cat
Besides the above-mentioned disadvantages, if your cat has any existing medical condition that can be his life at risk while under sedation, then it would be best to not go ahead with the neutering.
It would still be best to talk to a good vet about it to see what can be done and if it’s worth the risk to proceed.
Spaying and neutering your cats isn’t a death sentence for them. There are so many cats out there that lead better lives because of this.
There are a lot fewer unwanted kitten litters, fewer health problems and unwanted behaviors.