Neutering in Cats

What Makes A Bengal Cat Show Quality?
What Makes a Bengal Cat Show Quality?

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By Krista Williams, BSc, DVM; Ernest Ward, DVM

What is meant by castration or neutering in Cats?

The surgical procedure known scientifically as orchidectomy or orchiectomy removes both testicles in order to sterilize a male cat. Neutering and castration are the common terms used to describe this procedure.

Why should I have my cat neutered?

Once a male cat reaches puberty, he will develop a number of behavioral changes that will make him a less desirable pet. He will become territorial and start to mark areas, even inside the house, by spraying urine. This urine has a particularly offensive odor that is difficult to remove. As the tomcat reaches sexual maturity, he will start to enlarge his territory, straying ever farther from the house, particularly at night.

“The longer a tomcat sprays and fights, the less likely
neutering in Cats will stop these behaviors.”

By increasing the size of his territory, he increases the likelihood that he will encounter other cats and get into fights for territorial dominance. The longer a tomcat is allowed to spray and fight (i.e., is not neutered), the less likely neutering will stop these behaviors.

Fight wounds can result in severe infections and abscesses. Cat bites spread diseases such as FIV and FeLV, which cause immunosuppression and AIDS-like syndromes. These incurable diseases tend to be more common in non-neutered male cats. Last, but not least, neutering cats decreases the number of needless deaths, and it prevents humane societies and animal shelters from being overrun with unwanted kittens and cats.

When should I have my cat neutered?

There are many different factors to weigh when determining the optimal time to neuter a kitten, including health factors, behavioral factors, and your pet’s environment. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best time to neuter your pet.

Your cat will undergo a general anesthetic.

Cat M Reproductive Organs Ventral View 2018 01Scaler 2

What does the operation involve?

“Your veterinarian will advise you how long to withhold food and water before surgery.”

You will need to withhold food prior to the procedure; your pet should have free access to water during the fasting period. Your veterinarian will advise you how long to withhold food before surgery.

The veterinarian removes both testicles in male cats by making small incisions in the scrotum. They rarely suture the incisions since stitches may irritate the sensitive skin of the scrotum.

What surgical complications could arise?

In general, complications are rare during a castration surgery, however, as with all surgical procedures, there is always a small risk. Potential complications may include:

Anesthetic complications. Any cat can have an unexpected adverse reaction following the administration of any drug or anesthetic. Such cases are impossible to predict, but fortunately are extremely rare.

Improper fasting of the cat before anesthesia can cause another potential danger. Anesthetized patients lose the normal reflex ability to swallow; during swallowing, the epiglottis, a cartilage flap at the entrance to the windpipe, closes and prevents food or water from entering the lungs. If there is food in the stomach, the cat could vomit while under anesthesia or in the early post-anesthetic period, allowing the food to enter the lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia, a potentially life-threatening condition.

“Pre-operative blood work is a useful screening test that may detect pre-existing problems that could interfere with the pet’s ability to handle anesthetic drugs.”

Illness will increase the risks associated with anesthesia. Pre-operative blood work is a useful screening test that may detect pre-existing problems that could interfere with the pet’s ability to handle anesthetic drugs. Postpone the procedure if your cat is showing any signs of illness including sneezing, eye discharge, vomiting, or diarrhea, until it has recovered.

You must strictly follow all pre-operative instructions and report any signs of illness to your veterinarian before the operation to minimize the risks to your cat.

Post-operative infection. This may rarely occur internally or around the incision wound. In most cases, antibiotics can control the infection.

What adverse effects might castration have on my cat?

Neutering does not cause adverse effects in the vast majority of cats. In certain cats, notably the Siamese breed, the hair that grows back over an operation site may be noticeably darker, believed to be due to a difference in the skin temperature. The hair naturally replaces and usually grows out with the following molt, causing this darker patch.

Does castration cause my cat to get fat?

Neutering does decrease the metabolism of your cat and may lead to a more sedentary lifestyle. This will cause your cat to put on weight; however, if you monitor their body condition and make appropriate adjustments to their nutrition and lifestyle – including regular exercise time – you can prevent this weight gain.

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