Neutering is a crucial part of cat ownership. It prevents accidental pregnancies, reduces aggression, and generally makes for a more rewarding bond between human and feline.
What is the difference between spaying and neutering?
Both spaying and neutering refer to the surgical sterilization of an animal. Spaying, also known as an ovariohysterectomy, removes a female's reproductive organs. Neutering, also called orchiectomy, removes a male animal's testicles.
Spaying is a much more complicated process than neutering. For both sexes, the sterilization process requires general anesthesia. You can take your cat to your regular vet to get spayed or neutered, or to a spay/neuter clinic that specializes in these services.
What to expect after neutering a cat
Most cats come home the day of their operation. Since neutering a male cat is a much simpler process than spaying a female cat, your male cat won't need too much recovery time. However, he will be drowsy and will need to sleep for much of the rest of the day. He may also seem a little out of it the next day, but should bounce back fairly soon after that.
In some cases, your cat may also need to wear a cone, which prevents him from biting at his stitches.
Avoid playing with your cat for a couple days after he's been neutered. This can prove difficult, as your newly neutered cat is likely still a kitten, and probably loves to play. However, it's best for him not to exert himself while he's recovering, and you don't want to risk his stitches coming out.
Does a neutered cat still have sexual urges?
Most cats will lost most of their sexual urges after neutering, but it varies from cat to cat. It also depends how early in his life your cat was neutered. If your cat experienced any sexual activity before neutering, he may continue to display sexual behavior occasionally. However, if your cat was neutered early and before any sexual activity could occur, it's most likely that his sexual urges will subside after neutering.
How do cats' personalities change after being neutered?
Neutered cats are significantly less aggressive than intact or unneutered cats. They're less likely to fight with other cats and generally more mellow. A male cat's urge to roam or protect their territory also subsides, as does their urge to spray their urine (thankfully).
The vast majority of cat owners report that their cats become calmer after neutering. Don't worry, neutering won't affect your cat's affection toward you or make them resent you. If anything, it will make it easier to have a close relationship with him.
Why does my neutered cat still have balls?
It may look like he still does, but don't worry, he doesn't. Neutering removes the testicles, but the scrotal skin (or "ball sack" to use a coarser term), which held the testicles, remains in place.
Strange cat behaviors after neutering.
Generally speaking, you shouldn't notice any strange behaviors after your cat is neutered. It's perfectly normal for him to be extra sleepy for a couple of days, and to act more subdued and less aggressive in the coming weeks (and for the rest of his life, in all likelihood).
However, if you notice some peculiar behaviors in your cat, it could be a sign of postoperative pain. Contact your vet if your cat displays any of the following signs after his operation:
- unusual aggression
- hunched posture with head hung low
- resentment to being handled
- stopping of his usual behaviors, like grooming (although this is normal for a couple days, when he might just need to sleep)
Keep an eye out for these possible signs of excessive pain, and call your vet if you have any questions or concerns.
Does neutering cause depression in cats?
No, neutering does not cause depression. In all likelihood, it will lead to decreased sexual urges and decreased aggression. While a cat may be sleep in the days after his operation, neutering often leads to a calmer cat. Currently there's no evidence that neutering leads to depression in cats.
Is there a way to tell if a cat has been neutered?
If you feel safe doing so, you can check if a male cat has been neutered by holding him up, parting his fur, and feeling the area below the tail and anus and above the penis. Testicles will feel large and hard, meaning the cat is intact. If the area feels fleshy and soft, the cat is most likely neutered.
However, that's not always a guarantee, as cats can have undescended testicles. Also, if you're doing this on an unfamiliar cat, it's a great way to get scratched or bitten. Take the cat to a vet to be absolutely sure.
Do cats know when they've been neutered? We don't know for sure. People on the internet spend a lot of time wondering about this, but there's no definitive answer. Pets' subjective experiences are impossible to know completely, but we don't think there's any way a cat would know they've lost the ability to reproduce. Cats will certainly feel groggy after their operation, but after a few days, they're not going to mourn the loss of their reproductive abilities. In the majority of cases, neutered cats, now unburdened by the aggressiveness caused by sex hormones, appear to feel better.