Neutering is a common procedure for male cats that is safe and effective. It prevents a range of health issues, undesirable behaviors, and the birth of unwanted kittens. Here, our Franklin vets discuss what you can expect before and after having your male cat neutered.
Having Your Male Cat Neutered
The majority of cat owners have to decide if they are going to neuter their male cat or not, thankfully your veterinarian can help you make this tough decision.
Neutering is the process of removing the testicles of a male cat, which produce most of their testosterone. A male cat's testosterone control's their sexual behavior, this includes behaviors such as aggression towards other males, roaming in search of females, and spraying (territory marking). By neutering your male cat you are minimizing or preventing these behaviors, reducing your cat's risk of developing some serious health conditions, as well as keeping your kitty from fathering unwanted kittens.
The Behavior of Male Cats
As stated above having your male cat neutered helps limit or stop undesirable behaviors that are linked to testosterone (sexual behaviors). These changes could happen right after or several weeks following their procedure. The environment, age, or breed of your kitty generally doesn't have any big effects on these changes.
By reducing or eliminating your cat's desire to roam the risk of them being in wandering-related accidents decreases. Their chances of being scratched or bitten by other cats (which can put your cat at risk of contracting illnesses) are also reduced because their aggression towards male cats is lowered.
Neutering doesn't completely stop your cat from spraying, because cats can also do this when they are nervous, not just to mark territory, although the smell of this urine is less intense in neutered cats.
There are also a handful of misconceptions being spread about the behavioral effects neutering has on cats. Neutering won't make your cat fat or lazy as long as you give them enough exercise and a healthy diet. But, you might have to reduce the number of calories you give them and provide them with extra playtime since they won't be burning calories through activities such as roaming, mating, or fighting as often.
Any behaviors that aren't related to hormonal influences will not be affected, including your cat's ability to hunt.
A Cat's Recovery After Neutering
It's normal for cats to experience side effects as a result of the anesthesia and the procedure itself after being neutered such as discomfort, nausea, lethargy, and vomiting. This is why it's essential to carefully follow your vet's post-operative care instructions, so your kitty's recovery can be as smooth and quick as possible.
When you first bring your kitty home you should keep them in a dark, quiet, room because your cat's eyes may be sensitive as a result of the protective ointment your vet may place on your cat's eyes (so they don't dry out). Cats can also sometimes be aggressive as a result of the discomfort they are feeling, so we also recommend keeping other people and pet's away from your furry friend during this time.
Other precautions you will need to implement to help your cat recover smoothly include:
- For the first 24 hours give your cat a small bit of water to sip on, and just a half or quarter portion of their food to limit vomiting
- Place a clean litter box close to their resting area, so they won't have to walk far to relieve themselves
- Instead of kitty litter use shredded paper for the first week to keep dust and dirt from sticking to the incision site
- Don't let your cat run, jump, climb stairs, or go outside for the first seven days after their procedure because it could slow their healing, we recommend keeping them in a crate or secure room during this time
It takes approximately 24 to 48 hours for your cat's nausea to go away and for their appetite to fully return, but it will take roughly 7 days for your male cat to recover completely after being neutered.
If after 48 hours your cat is still vomiting, lethargic, having diarrhea or their appetite isn't returning call your vet immediately.
Signs to Watch for After Having Your Cat Neutered
While it is normal for recently neutered cats to experience side effects such as lack of appetite, nausea, lethargy, and vomiting, you should call your vet if these symptoms don't go away after 48 hours following their procedure.
Your kitty might also not be able to defecate or urinate normally for the first 24 to 48 hours after their procedure, if your cat isn't able to relieve themselves normally after 72 hours have passed, it's time to call your vet.
You also have to monitor your cat's incision site carefully for bleeding. It's normal for there to be a bit of blood at the incision site within the first 24 hours after the procedure, but if you still see blood after this window of time call your vet.
It's normal for cats to feel uncomfortable and experience some pain for approximately 36 after being neutered, for this reason, your vet will provide your furry friend with long-lasting pain medications through an injection, to help your kitty manage their pain.
If you believe your cat requires more pain medication, call your vet. Do not give your cat pain medications designed for humans or any medications without consulting your vet first, because many medications can be toxic to cats, cause serious health complications, and in serious situations even death.
You should also call your vet immediately if you see your cat exhibiting any of the signs below after being neutered:
- Swelling or redness at the incision site
- The incision site has reopened
- Pus or discharge coming from the incision site
- Refusing to eat
- Your cat hasn't urinated in 24 hours
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.