One of the issues that most cat owners have questions about is about the neutering or spaying of their cats. Most new cat owners want to know if de-sexing their cats is necessary. They also wonder if spaying or neutering is a cruel practice.
Neutering is the de-sexing of the tom, or male cat, wherein the testes are removed. While spaying is the de-sexing of the queen, or female cat, where both the ovaries and uterus are removed.
Having your cat undergo a surgical procedure is always going to be a nerve-wracking experience for any fur parent, but de-sexing is an important procedure that has its advantages for your pet’s quality of life.
Will neutering stop aggression in cats?
Generally speaking, yes neutering stops aggression in cats but there are several factors to consider such as the age of the cat when the procedure was done. For the most part it is safe to say that after de-sexing the cat, there is a noticeable decrease in their aggression.
Male cats are susceptible to wandering away from your house to look for a female in heat. He may get into fights with other cats or even dogs.
Once a tom has been neutered, there will be less production of testosterone, hence leading to a diminished sex drive.
The age of the tom during the procedure will also play a part in the effect of the procedure. If the cat is neutered just out of kittenhood, and will not go through puberty, it will be much gentler as an adult compared to those neutered after puberty or as adults.
Nevertheless, neutering adults can still reduce aggression and other behavior problems.
Female cats can get very hostile when in heat. They may scratch and bite and become quite difficult to manage. They will find ways out of the house to find a mate, risking getting pregnant or injured due to other animals or vehicles.
Once a female cat has been spayed she will no longer get pregnant or even go into heat, thus lessening the behaviors stated above.
What are the other benefits of neutering and spaying?
Aside from reducing your cat’s inclination for aggressive behavior, de-sexing your cat has various other benefits in altering your cat’s behavior for the better:
- Cats become more docile and friendly after the procedure.
- Cats are much easier to keep inside the house and do not wander as much.
- Cats become less territorial, they will stop marking their territories, such as spraying their urine.
- Cat’s become less destructive with your furniture and drapes.
When should I get my cat neutered or spayed?
Cats that were acquired through a breeder or a shelter usually come neutered or spayed, but you should still ask to be sure. If you got the cat through other means, like say, you decided to take in a cat that keeps visiting your house who looks to be a stray, then you should probably take the cat to the vet to get a complete physical and make sure that the cat has been de-sexed.
Kittens are ideally neutered or spayed around 12 weeks, but some vets prefer performing the procedure at 14 weeks, just to be safe.
Neutering or spaying should be done as soon as the kitten turns 12 to 14 weeks to get it done before they hit their kitten puberty phase. Performing it on a kitten will not hinder the cat’s development and growth into an adult in any way. In fact, cats who were de-sexed as kittens enjoy a better quality of life than those who were not.
After six months of life, it is crucial that pets get neutered or spayed because like in the case of male cats, this reduces the likelihood of them fighting with other cats, spraying urine around your house, as well as many other problem behaviors.
For females, never wait for the cat’s first heat cycle before getting them spayed. Aside from risking them getting pregnant, the anatomy of a female cat’s sexual organs changes drastically during the first heat cycle. A more complex blood supply system is present, thus making the spaying procedure much more complicated than it could have been had it been done before the first heat cycle.
The more complicated the procedure, the more expensive the fee from your vet. This is true for both male and female cats. Adult cats also come out from under anesthesia slower than kittens. The recovery from the procedure will take a much longer time for adult cats, upping the risk and exposure to infections and further complications.
This is not to say that you should no longer bother getting an adult cat de-sexed. You are still advised to have them fixed, because even if it is later in a cat’s life, the pros still heavily outweigh the, almost non-existent, cons.
Why is my cat still aggressive even after they have been de-sexed?
Plenty of factors can come into play as to why your neutered or spayed cat is still exhibiting aggressive habits or behaviors:
- Your cat may not feel very safe or is stressed due to a specific reason. Make sure that your cat does not have to fight for territory in your house. Make sure that they have their own food and water bowls, as well as their own litter box.
- It is possible that the threat that is causing them stress is outside. Other cats and animals that your cat can see from inside the house can still rile up your kitty. You can try to stop this by covering the windows your cat likes to watch out of, or set up preventions around your property to keep the other animals from wandering into it.
- If your cat is aggressive only to specific people, spend some time around the cat while the person is around and note the things the person does that triggers the cat’s aggression. For example, the person does not understand the cat’s body language and still touches or lifts the cat up even if the cat does not want the physical contact. Tell the person to give the cat space and to wait for the cat to come to him.
- A cat, despite being de-sexed, can still be aggressive towards other animals. Dogs are very eager and can be too in your cat’s face, which may irritate your cat causing him to scratch the dog. Try to separate the cat and dog and only let them interact while you are around and slowly encourage them to build a gentler, more tender bond.
- Cats can rough-house if they have too much energy, so tire out your cat in the evenings before you both go to sleep, by exercising them and playing with them using toys.
- Just because your cat is very chill and not aggressive even without getting de-sexed, that is not a reason to forego the procedure. The benefits that go along with neutering and spaying are considerable even if aggression is not an issue.
Image: istockphoto.com / Ksenia Valyavina