neuter cats

Why We Neuter Cats – A Veterinarian’s Perspective

Welcome to Part 2 of this spay and neuter blog series – why we neuter cats!

What is a neuter?

Last time, I discussed the importance of spaying female cats, which you can read about here. Today, I will focus on our male cat companions. A neuter is a form of sterilization that, unlike spays, typically does not require open abdominal surgery. The patient is anesthetized and the neuter is performed by making a small incision in the scrotal sac. The testicles are then surgically removed and the surgery is complete. It sounds pretty basic because it is. It is a fast and easy surgery that can have huge health benefits for your cat.

The Major Indications for this Procedure are as follows:

  1. Population control
  2. Hormone level modification (behavior)
  3. Increased life span
  4. Rare cat conditions (orchitis, testicular cancer, etc.)

We will break each one of these indications down further.

1. population control

For the same reason we spay cats, we also neuter them. Approximately 70% of cats in shelters are eventually euthanized. This can be mitigated by neutering cats to prevent them from reproducing. Even indoor cats can reproduce if they escape from your home. This is why practically all cats from shelters are sterilized prior to adopting them out.

2. Hormone level modification

Likely the greatest benefit in neutering male cats is related to behavior. Intact (non-neutered) male cats exhibit behaviors such as spraying, fighting, and roaming that could all lead to negative outcomes. By removing the testicles, we remove a source of male hormones that contribute to these behaviors. This can lead to a decreased incidence of other diseases, such as prostatic disease, perianal (around the anus) adenoma (benign tumor), and perineal hernias.

3. Increased life span

Research has shown that neutered male cats live longer than intact male cats. Intact males tend to roam far away from home, making them more likely to have altercations with wildlife and other cats.

complications of neutering

Like spays, there are complications of neutering. Although these complications are rare, they can occur. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for care after any surgical procedure. A common complication is patient induced surgical site irritation/inflammation. Keep your cat in a quiet, isolated place in your home following surgery and prevent them from licking or chewing at the surgical site.

In summary

Unless you a cat breeder, veterinarians will typically recommend neutering male cats. Neutering not only contributes to population control but also will increase your cat’s life expectancy and reduce the risk of developing life-threatening diseases.

If you are considering adding a kitten to your family, check out my Top 6 Tips for New Kitten Owners here.

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