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Cat Neutering

Just like his big cat cousins, your male kitten will have a natural urge to spray and mark his territory. And a female kitten “in season” will probably be noisy and restless, squirming and rolling around on the floor. Neutering will help prevent this behaviour. Even better, it also has long-term health benefits.

What is Neutering/Castration in Kittens?

If you love cats, you should be familiar with the term neutering. In its most accepted sense, neutering refers to the medical process of removing an animal’s reproductive organs, either to their entirety, or a considerable part of them. 

The term neutering is derived from the Latin term ‘neuter’, which implied ‘of neither sex’. This process of surgically removing the reproductive organ is often referred to as ‘fixing’, and is considered among the most common forms of animal sterilization. 

Feline neutering or cat sterilization, however, is one of the most common, and simple surgical procedures that are undertaken by veterinarian doctors. It is preferred by most cat parents as feline neutering requires minimal recovery time. Most neutered kittens are usually discharged simply after a few hours of observation following the procedure. Neutering does not result in any bleeding or swelling, and most kittens are able to return to their usual life within days of the procedure. The process of neutering a cat is different based on the cat’s gender. Usually, getting a male cat castrated is known as neutering, while the cat sterilization of a female kitten is regarded as spaying. 

Most animal shelters, rescue groups and humane societies undertake cat castration operations, and request cat parents to get their furballs neutered or spayed. This is usually done to avoid unwanted pregnancies in cats, leading to unwanted litters and overpopulation of cats that are left behind in animal shelters or rescue homes. 

Currently, several countries have made it mandatory for pet owners to get their fur kids neutered before they are adopted and taken to new homes. Early cat neutering is effective in the prevention of unwanted litter problems. 

Neutering (Male) vs Spaying (Female)

Neutering, or getting a male kitten castrated involves the surgical removal of the kitten’s testicles. Kitten neutering is a common practice for domestic and stray kittens both, and are neutered for birth control and to avoid unwanted litters, as well as for behaviour modification. Most male cats are surgically neutered through the process of vasectomy, where an incision is made on the vas deferens, or the duct that connects the testes with the penis, and are tied. The process of vasectomy is more delicate than castration, and is effective in preventing sperm cells from travelling from the testes, and eliminating the ability of male cats to reproduce. 

The other common way of feline castration involves the surgical process of opening the scrotum with a small incision to bring out the testicles. The veterinarian then uses sutures to tie the cords before the testicle is cut free and removed. Usually, the incision on the skin of the scrotum is made so small that no stitches are required, and completely heals within two weeks from the procedure. The male kitten to be neutered is kept under anaesthesia while the surgery is performed.

Spaying, or castration of female kittens is carried out by removing the ovaries and the uterus. Spaying too requires general anaesthesia before a laparoscopic surgery can be carried out. The veterinarian performs the surgery by making a small incision in the kitten’s abdomen, below the umbilicus. The uterus and the ovaries are then brought out from the incision before they are surgically removed. Though it is completely safe, the surgical incision requires several layers of sutures to be closed. The incision starts to heal within the first week of the procedure, and the sutures can be removed within 7 to 10 days. Spaying, however, is a more complicated procedure than cat neutering, and answers the question of whether to spay vs neuter cat. 

How does castration affect kitten behaviours?

Neutering or cat castration, as a surgical process completely eliminates the male cat’s ability to reproduce. Furthermore, it also removes the cat’s ability to naturally produces testosterone, the male sex hormone. So, castration in male kittens has a major impact on the behaviours in kittens that are driven by male hormones, which are also known as sexually dimorphic behaviours. Usually the cat’s temperament, personality and training remain unaffected by castration as the male sex hormone has little or no influence over these behaviours. Early cat neutering in male cats can intercept the development of secondary sexual characteristics in kittens, such as glands at the dorsal part of the kitten’s tail, penile bards, large jowls and so on. 

On the other hand, spaying a female kitten result in reducing their sexual drive or libido. Without the sexual drive, female cats are less likely to respond to mating calls or look for a mate. Cats that have been spayed are less likely to go in heat and attract male cats, and are generally quieter in nature. Spayed cats are therefore easier to domesticate and deal with, and are usually gentler and more affectionate in nature. 

Benefits of Kitten Castration

If you are wondering “should I neuter my cat?”, mentioned below are several benefits of kitten castration, such as:

  • Population Control:

    Allowing your little munchkin to naturally breed can not just deteriorate their health, but also lead to pet overpopulation. Some cats face severe health complications giving birth or while nursing. However, without the ability to procreate, the cat population can be effectively kept in check, and also cut down on additional costs of maintaining the litter.

  • Health:

    Other than avoiding health complications while giving birth or nursing, spaying your kitten can play a vital role in keeping them healthier. As spaying involves complete removal of the uterus and the ovaries, the fur kids that have been spayed are unlikely to contract diseases like uterine infections, ovarian cysts, as well as cancer of the reproductive tract. It also helps in resolving the issue of urine spraying, which is common for female cats in heat.

  • Aggression:

    Kitten castration is extremely effective against aggression in cats. As the process of cat neutering completely cuts off the production of testosterone in male cats, it significantly affects all sexually dimorphic behaviours, which also include aggression. Neutering reduces the tendency to fight or roam in almost 90% of cats. Furthermore, spaying female cats cause them to become quieter, more loving and affectionate.

  • Physical Changes:

    Cat sterilization does not impact the physical development of cats, including their height, weight and urethral size. However, neutering can have a greater impact on the development of secondary sexual characteristics in cats, including penile bards, large jowls, and glands at the dorsal end of the cat’s tail.

The right age for neutering

While early neutering has its share of benefits, it can also pose serious health risks, such as abnormal bone growth, which can deter the kitten’s physical structure. Though cat castration can be carried out at any point in time, most veterinarians believe it is best to get your kitten neutered once it turns five or six months of age, which is the minimum age to neuter cat. However, all cats are unique, so it is important to consult your veterinarian doctor before booking an appointment for neutering your cat.

Care Tips after kitten castration

Though the recovery period following the neutering or spaying procedure is minimal, here are some tips with which you can ensure your furry little munchkin is able to recover and heal itself at an even faster rate. These tips include:

  • After the procedure, it is important for your cat to rest to promote healing. So it is important to keep them away from environments they can get excited by, such as children and traffic.
  • Your furry munchkin should be restricted to a smaller area with easy access to food, water and their litterbox, at least for 10 days.
  • Make sure your cat is kept in a peaceful environment away from loud noise and sound. Keep your cat from participating in too much physical activity, like jumping on furniture.
  • Cats after neuter can become gentle and calmer. However, following neutering, male cats can show signs of aggression as a remnant of their male sex hormone.
  • You can care for your cat after neuter by making sure it has a comfortable place for cat after neuter sleeping. A soft pillow or a blanket is perfect for the after-neuter care cat.

Kitten Neutering FAQs

 

What is the best age to neuter a male kitten?

Spaying and neutering for cats are best done between the age of 5 to 6 months, the perfect age to neuter cat. However, no two cats are alike, so it is always wiser to consult your veterinarian and seek professional advice on when to get your cat neutered or spayed. Make sure your kitten receives the after-neuter care cat it deserves following the procedure.

Do kittens change after being neutered?

Behaviours, such as their personality, training, and preferences are unlikely to change in cats after neuter. Neutering male fur babies cut them off from the source of testosterone, the male sex hormone, which can result in a change in behaviours that are driven by the sex hormones, such as roaming and aggression. 

What happens if you neuter a kitten too early?

Though early cat neutering can be helpful in population control and avoiding unwanted litters, if carried out at a drastically young age, neutering can delay the closure of bone plates, affecting the kitten’s growth. Feline babies neutered too early also can lead to a narrower urethra, increasing the risks of urinary blockages. 

Does neutering calm a kitten down?

Spaying female kittens can reduce their libido or sex drive. Without adequate sex drive, the female cat is unlikely to respond to mating calls or look for potential mates in heat. So, neutering can calm down female kittens, making them more affectionate and loving.  

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