The Art of Neutering Your Male Cat

I am constantly surprised that some men (and even women) have such a big problem with neutering their male cats. Some vehemently so! Neutering is a simple surgery, relatively inexpensive, and the kitties go home the same day in some veterinary hospitals. And I feel better knowing there is a little less testosterone in the world. *smile*

At any rate, neutering is not only healthy for your male cat…it is better for YOU and your SANITY!

1) Neutered males are less likely to spray.

This may seem like a pretty insignificant reason to some, but when you’ve seen as many cats dumped, traded away, or euthanized as I because a tomcat sprayed urine indoors to mark its territory, it becomes very important.

Of course, getting your cat neutered at the right age is the key here. If you don’t have it done by 6 months of age, the chances of them spraying increase dramatically. Cats, both male and female, come into their sexual maturity at 5 to 6 months of age. Also, in males, their urge to mark their territory by spraying urine starts about this age. Smelling another un-neutered male or a female in heat can trigger spraying as well.

And just because your cat is indoor all the time don’t think they can’t smell a female in heat from several miles away! I wish I had a nickel for every client who was surprised their cat could smell the tomcat urine or the female in heat from inside the house.

2) Neutering decreases urine odor.

Although there are several factors involved in urine odor, neutering can help decrease the strong ammonia smell in some male cat’s urine. If you’ve never smelled tomcat urine you have been blessed. We won’t even allow un-neutered tomcats over the age of 7 months to board at our clinic for more than a few hours. Not only does it smell horrendous, it makes the other cats upset and hard to handle.

Food also plays a big part in urine oder. Eating cheap, grocery store brand cat food is hard on their bladder and kidneys because those organs have to work twice as hard to break down all the fillers and preservatives they contain. Iams and Hill’s Science Diet are HIGHLY recommended and though they seem more expensive at the time, they could save you hundreds of dollars in veterinary care by helping to prevent stones from forming in the bladder.

These stones can be deadly to a male cat as they can become stuck in the urethra causing blockage. The urine then builds up in the system causing toxins to slowly poison the cat. You either have a very big vet bill (try about $200 to $400) or a dead cat. Sometimes you get both.

3) Neutered cats live longer.

Besides a healthier urinary tract system, neutered cats are less likely to roam and fight (if they go outside). This means they are less likely to catch and spread disease, suffer potentially deadly abscesses, get hit by a car or hauled off to the pound by un-sympathetic neighbors.

4) Neutering prevents unwanted kittens.

The average female can have two or three litters of kittens a year. Why blame it all on the females? Without intact male cats, this prolific breeding wouldn’t be possible.

Most tomcat’s testicles have dropped permanently by about 4 or 5 months of age. Before that, they can go in and out of the abdomen. In some cases, one or both testicles may not drop at all. This condition is called Cryptorchidism. Cryptorchids require a more complicated surgery because the abdomen must be opened (almost like spaying a female), the errant testicle must be located, and then removed. In this case, the animal would most likely have to stay longer and may need more recuperative time.

Normally, neutering consists of a light anesthesia, making a small slit in each scrotum with a scalpel blade, popping the testicles out and either tying, suturing or cauterizing the tubes and it’s done!

In my honest opinion there is NO SUITABLE EXCUSE for not having your pet fixed barring a medical reason. Neutering your male cat is the responsible thing to do. In the long run it’s not only healthier and cheaper but it can make your household a lot happier. If money is an issue, either save up or contact your local Humane Association or other pet organization to see if they can help you. Most animal organizations have spay/neuter programs that can significantly reduce the cost of the surgery.

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