Neutering procedures are a safe and common surgery for male cats that can prevent unwanted litters, protect them from certain health issues, and even help control some undesirable behaviors. Today our North Boulder vets explain what you can expect before and after neutering your male cat, including behaviors and recovery.
Neutering Your Male Cat
Most cat owners have to face the decision of whether or not to get their cat neutered, and it is a decision your veterinarian can help you make.
Neutering is the process of removing a male cat's testicles, which produce most of their testosterone. The testosterone in a male cat controls their sexual behavior, which also encompasses behaviors such as roaming in search of females, aggression towards other males, and spraying (territory marking).
By having your male cat neutered you are preventing or minimizing these behaviors as well as preventing the birth of unwanted kittens and a handful of serious health conditions.
Male Cat Behavior After Neutering
As mentioned above neutering your male cat helps stop or limit undesirable behaviors associated with testosterone (sexual behaviors). These changes can occur immediately or several weeks after their procedure. The age, breed, or environment of your kitty doesn't typically make 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 may also reduce your cat's desire to spray to mark his territory. However, the behavior may not be completely eliminated as cats also do this when they are nervous. You will notice that the smell of urine is less intense in neutered cats.
There are also many misconceptions that exist regarding the behavioral effects neutering has on cats. Neutering will not make your cat lazy or fat as long as you provide your furry friend with a healthy diet and enough exercise. However, neutering does slow your male cat's metabolism slightly, so you may need to reduce the number of calories you are feeding them and provide them with extra playtime.
Any behaviors that aren't related to hormonal influences will not be affected, including your cat's ability to hunt.
Male Cats Recovery After Neutering
After being neutered it's normal for male cats to experience side effects as a result of the anesthesia and the procedure itself such as lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and discomfort. This makes it important to follow your vet's post-operative care instructions carefully, so your cat can recover as safely and quickly 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 the 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:
- During the first 24 hours give your cat a small amount of water to sip on, and only a quarter or half portion of their food to limit vomiting
- Keep a clean litter box close to their resting area, so they don't need to walk far to relieve themselves
- Use shredded paper instead of kitty litter for the first week to prevent dust and dirt from getting stuck in 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
If after 48 hours your cat is still vomiting, lethargic, having diarrhea, or their appetite isn't returning call your vet immediately or bring them to the closest emergency veterinarian.
How long does it take a male cat to recover from neutering?
For neuter procedures, it typically takes your cat 5 -7 days to recover. It's important to monitor for any of the signs above and contact your vet if you notice any lingering or worsening symptoms. While they are healing, do not let your cat run, jump, or play with other animals. It is important that they rest.
As your cat reaches the one-week mark post-op, you can slowly start letting them return to their normal activity. If your cat is an outdoor cat, after 7 days they can begin to venture back outside.
What To Watch for Aftering Neutering Your Cat
As we said above it's normal for cats to experience side effects such as lethargy, lack of appetite, nausea, and vomiting after being neutered, and you should call your vet if these symptoms don't go away after 48 hours.
Your cat may also not be able to urinate or defecate normally for the first 24 to 48 hours following their procedure, if 72 hours have passed and they still haven't been able to relieve themselves normally you need to seek veterinary care.
You also need to carefully monitor your cat's incision site for bleeding. It's normal for there to be a little blood around the incision site during the first 24 hours following their procedure, but if you are still noticing blood after this time frame contact your vet.
As expected, neutered cats will feel uncomfortable and be in some pain for about 36 after being neutered, which is why your vet will provide your pet with long-lasting pain medications in the form of an injection, to help manage your kitty's pain. If at home 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 also need to call your vet immediately if you notice your cat exhibiting any of these signs after being neutered:
- The incision site has reopened
- Pus or discharge coming from the incision site
- Your cat hasn't urinated in 24 hours
- Refusing to eat
- Swelling or redness at the incision site
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.