Cat castration – when (and if) to do it?

Regulating the conception of domestic cats is a very big challenge facing our entire community. In the case of males, especially those who do not leave, the owners often assume that the castration procedure is unnecessary. Nothing could be more wrong! Living with an uncastrated male cat is very difficult. Additionally, the lack of castration can have a negative impact on his health. Therefore, it is worth choosing the procedure, especially since it is simple, routine and completely safe.

Cat castration – what is it?

Whether to castrate a cat – dilemmas

Many people are still wondering if a cat needs to be castrated. In the case of cats, the arguments for preventing animal homelessness are usually raised. We also know that frequent births are devastating for the female’s body. But what if we have a single male cat at home that does not go outside on its own? Is it necessary to undergo surgery?

Of course, there is no statutory obligation to castrate any animal. However, it is worth realizing that a cat that is constantly exposed to hormones can become really unbearable. Meanwhile, the cat’s castration procedure is safe, very fast and almost non-invasive. However, it can completely change the quality of coexistence with a cat under one roof.

Many caregivers face a moral dilemma that results from the possible deprivation of masculinity in a cat. Meanwhile, it is worth remembering that our perception of gender roles results primarily from culture, not nature. Cats follow their instincts and will in no way miss their sex drive. Animals don’t think in human terms, and most dilemmas of this type involve projecting our perceptions onto the animal.

Castration and sterilization – differences

There is a widespread belief that cats are neutered and cats are sterilized. Meanwhile, these are two very different treatments. Each of them can be performed on an animal, regardless of gender.

Both castration and sterilization are intended to limit fertility, however, castration is the surgical removal of the genital organs. A male cat can be sterilized by ligating the vas deferens. This prevents reproduction, but does not stop the secretion of sex hormones. Ultimately, it does not in any way change the behavior of the cat in the home space. This method is practically no longer used.

How to prepare a cat for castration?

Cat castration is a procedure performed under general anesthesia, i.e. under full anesthesia. For this reason, before arranging castration, tests should be carried out to make sure that the cat qualifies for the procedure at all.

What tests will be carried out before castration depends largely on the age of the cat. Very small kittens should have a blood test with complete chemistry. In older cats, it is worth carrying out an echocardiographic examination, i.e. a popular heart echo. This is advisable to ensure your pet is anesthetized.

Castration should be performed on an empty stomach. How many hours a cat should not eat depends on metabolism and age. For very young cats, four hours before surgery is sufficient, but doctors usually recommend a six-hour fast before anesthesia.

How is a cat castrated?

The castration procedure is performed under full anesthesia. The doctor puts a cannula on the shaved paw through which anesthetics are administered intravenously. An interesting fact is that during the procedure, the cat’s eyes are open, so a special gel is applied directly to the eyeball to protect it from drying out. This is why you may feel as if your cat is shedding tears right after the procedure. However, it is not a pain effect, but a remnant of a medical agent.

When the kitten falls asleep, the doctor removes fur from around the scrotum and disinfects it. Next, a small and very delicate incision is made to access the testicles. In some cases, there are two incisions – on both of them. Very often, however, only one incision is made exactly at the seam of the scrotum. The doctor then ligates the vas deferens and the nuclear artery with surgical threads and amputates the testicles.

Interestingly, the male cat does not require any stitches. With this breed, the so-called primary healing occurs, which is when the edges of the wound come closer together and gradually grow together. Only in some cases (very rarely) it is necessary to suture the wound. Typically, the cat does not wear a collar after castration. The exception is when the animal is too interested in the wound and licks it very much.

The cat’s castration procedure is definitely less invasive than the cat’s castration. It does not require opening the abdominal integuments. Ultimately, it lasts – depending on the doctor’s experience and the specific case – from a few to several minutes.

Be prepared for the fact that the cat will have to stay in the clinic for a while. It’s about fully awakening from anesthesia. Remember never to pick up a cat that is not fully awake as this is life-threatening. In the event of possible complications (which are very rare, but cannot be excluded), the veterinarian has all the means to react appropriately.

The recovery time from anesthesia depends on the cat’s individual characteristics, including its metabolism. Anesthesia lowers the body temperature, so after the procedure you need to give your cat an intravenous drip with warm fluid. They improve circulation and balance blood pressure. Painkillers and antibiotics are also administered. If they are sustained-release drugs, they do not need to be re-administered.

When to castrate a cat?

We already know that cat castration is a highly recommended procedure that is safe and quick. However, many people still have a lot of doubts as to when it is worth performing the procedure.

As in the case of kittens, a male cat should be castrated as early as possible. Unlike dogs, cats do not need to be sexually mature before undergoing surgery. It is best to do this before the male shows the first signs of puberty. The optimal time is between the third and fifth months of life.

Early cat castration – what does it mean?

Many veterinarians consider castration before the age of six months as early. Meanwhile, the term “early castration” is interpreted differently depending on latitude. In the United States, eight-week-old kittens have been castrated for many years. This is the norm in shelters and adoptive organizations and breeding farms.

So there is no risk of neutering a kitten at three to five months of age. It is not worth waiting, especially when the kitten begins to mature early and show behavior dictated by hormones.

Cat after castration – does his behavior change?

Cat castration – behavioral benefits

The age of four to eight months is the time when a playful little kitten begins to slowly turn into an adult tomcat. With males, it is somewhat more difficult to see when they are sexually growing up because they do not pass through heat.

The most significant is the importance of the site. The cat begins to urinate more frequently in smaller amounts. He peed outside the litter box, marking the vertical surfaces with very intensely scented urine. The cat starts to be restless, thrashes from place to place and vocalizes very strongly. His only goal is to get outside and find a kitten ready to mate. Uncastrated indoor cats can turn their owners’ lives into a real hell.

It is even worse with outgoing cats. These disappear for long days and nights, wandering around the area looking for partners to breed. They put their lives in danger. They can be hit by a car, harmed by a human or a dog. Additionally, they get into fights with other cats, infecting each other with viruses – including feline leukemia and the FIP-causing coronavirus. Copulation also affects the transmission of pathogens, not to mention increasing cat homelessness.

Simple, fast and safe castration procedure completely ends all the above-mentioned behaviors. It is worth noting that a castrated cat does not change its character. Only the behaviors dictated by the sex drive disappear. Outgoing cats stay closer to home, and non-outgoing cats stop making their owners’ lives uncomfortable.

Cat castration – health benefits

Castration has many health benefits for cats. The risk of developing testicular cancer disappears. It is also important to limit the transmission of viruses such as FIV, FELV or FcoV.

Cat castration – reducing homelessness

Castration of a cat, especially a cat that goes out, reduces homelessness. Residents of smaller towns or suburbs can usually observe that most of the free-living cats in the area are similar to each other. Usually it is the fault of one non-neutered male that systematically fertilizes other females. If you have an uncastrated cat going on excursions, you can be sure that there are plenty of your ‘grandchildren’ in the area, whose fate is often tragic.

A cat that does not leave the house in desperation may try to run away from home, which are often successful.

Cat after castration – how to care for him?

Castration is a very minimally invasive procedure, so the cat recovers quickly afterwards. The first day after surgery can be difficult. The cat is lethargic, it may sway slightly on its paws. Occasionally vomiting occurs. Usually, on the second day after castration, the pet fully recovers.

Cat castration – complications

Obesity is the most frequently mentioned complication after castration in cats. Meanwhile, any increase in weight has nothing to do with the procedure itself. Cats actually lose their sexual energy that has pushed them on long trips. A domestic indoor cat, especially a young cat, does not lose interest in playing, however, it only becomes less anxious.

You should be very careful with commercial pet foods marked “for neuters”. Most often they are crisps rather devoid of meat, but stuffed with grain and various flavors. They are the overwhelmingly responsible for obesity in neutered cats. A healthy, full-meat diet (canned or BARF) will not make you gain weight.

How much does it cost to castrate a cat?

Pricing issues are very important to many caregivers. So how much does cat castration cost? Much depends on the place and the reputation of the clinic, but in the case of cats, the procedure is usually cheaper than for cats. Castration costs from 100 to 250 zlotys. In the spring, many health centers take part in the “Sterilization Action”. Then treatments are available at competitive prices.

Cat castration is a necessary procedure that is minimally invasive and very safe. As long as the cat is health qualified, it can be performed at any age. It is best to castrate when your kitten is still young. The importance of the terrain may become a habit for him and will not cease even after the procedure. By choosing to castrate your cat, you reduce homelessness, take care of its health and do yourself a favor. Screams, attempts to run away, bad smell and constant undermining of the animal are forgotten once and for all.