Are you unsure if neutering your cat is the best option for the both of you? Maybe you are wondering what is the difference between neutered male cat behavior and intact toms’.
Neutering a tomcat can alter some of a cat’s unwanted behavior. However, you should not view the procedure as a magic pill that will cure all of the cat’s behavior issues.
Neutered male cat behavior changes
Before deciding whether to neuter your cat, be aware that the procedure can only affect behaviors that are influenced by male hormones. Aside from these hormones, there are also other factors that influence and shape a cat’s behaviors. These include genetics, training, breed, and individual personality.
Having your cat neutered will not eliminate all of your pet’s bad behaviors because these have been shaped even before your cat has been born.
You should also be aware that castration can also alter the development of your cat’s secondary male characteristics. These include the development of tail glands, penile barbs, and the characteristically large jowls of toms.
Here is a brief overview of some behavioral changes you can expect from a tomcat that has been fixed.
Although it is still possible for a neutered tom to get into fights with other males, the likelihood of aggression due to sexual competition is considerably lower.
In fact, most tomcats that figure in altercations are intact. Neutering a cat will decrease his desire to roam and increase and defend his territory. And as a result, he becomes less likely to quarrel with other cats in the neighborhood.
Less aggression translates to fewer fights. And fewer fights means that your cat is less likely to be injured.
Another unwanted behavior that is associated with intact male cats is territorial marking or spraying. An intact male will spray both indoors and outdoors to establish his claim to a territory.
When a cat is neutered, this behavior can be reduced by as much as 85 percent. There are also reports that some neutered toms have stopped spraying altogether.
Neutering also alters the odor of cat urine. According to owners of neutered tomcats, the scent of their cats’ urine has become less offensive.
Neutered males are less likely to go out to roam to increase their territories and find queens to mate with. Experts estimate that castration can reduce the desire to roam by as much as 90 percent. And if your tomcat is content staying indoors, that means that you do not have to worry about him venturing out, figuring in fights with the neighborhood cats, or getting into accidents.
Other benefits of neutering a cat
Aside from minimizing or eliminating some unwanted bad behaviors, neutering also offers a few advantages. For starters, neutering prevents unwanted pregnancies in your home and your community. Although it is the queens who carry babies, a single tom can impregnate multiple female cats at the same time.
If you are unprepared or if your pet impregnates feral females, ultimately, it is their kittens that suffer. Shelters are filled with unwanted kittens that could have been prevented from being born with a simple procedure like neutering and spaying.
Neutering males also offers a few health benefits. For starters, the risk of your pet contracting diseases like feline AIDS is drastically reduced. Castrating your cat also eliminates the risk of succumbing to testicular cancer and reduces his chance of getting a prostate disease.
Finally, owners of neutered tomcats report that their pets have become cleaner, paying more attention to self-grooming.
Dispelling myths about neutering male cats
There are many myths about castration that prevent owners from getting their pets fixed. One of the most prevalent of these myths is that neutered cats tend to become fat and lazy. This is simply not true.
What is indeed true is that your tomcat is more likely to stay home than explore the outside world. And once your cat decides that he just wants to stay home instead of going out, his activity level decreases.
With a decrease in activity level, you should adjust your pet’s diet accordingly. Those who report that their cats become fatter after getting fixed fed the same amount of food to their pets. In cats as with humans, the more food you eat than you burn makes you susceptible to weight gain.
It also helps if you set aside time to play with your cat regularly to help him burn off calories and prevent unwanted weight gain after getting fixed.
How castration is done for cats
Before a cat undergoes castration, he will need to fast overnight. This is necessary for the administration of the anesthesia.
The actual procedure begins with a small incision on the scrotal sac. Once the incision has been made, the tomcat’s testicles are pulled out. The attached cords may either be tied to each other or sutured. Afterward, the testicles are cut.
The incision does not need stitches to be closed.
Recovery for neutering is relatively quick. Your pet will be discharged on the day of the procedure. You should not expect any bleeding or swelling. It can take anywhere between 10 and 14 days for your cat to heal fully. During this period, you should avoid giving your cat a bath.
Usually, cats of both sexes are sterilized at around six months of age or after reaching sexual maturity. But today, many vets are recommending neutering and spaying cats as early as four months of age.
Consider getting your male cat neutered
Neutering male cats is a fairly common and safe practice that offers plenty of benefits. If you have no intention of breeding cats, you should strongly consider getting your tomcat castrated and your female cats spayed.
Apart from the benefits mentioned above, neutering and spaying cats can help reduce the number of unwanted kittens. The grim reality is that countless unwanted kittens are killed because shelters are ill-equipped to handle the number of abandoned young cats brought to them.
This problem can be easily prevented if each cat owner does his share by getting his pet sterilized. Do your share and you and your pet will reap several benefits along with preventing unwanted cat pregnancies in your home and your community.
Image: istockphoto.com / mikeinlondon