While there are good reasons for having your cat neutered (sterilised), many owners worry that it will cause their cats to become overweight. In fact it is true that the procedure does result in certain physiological changes that increase the risk of excess weight gain. But weight gain is avoidable – through understanding these changes we can take action to address them before a problem develops.
It will come as no surprise that neutering causes hormonal changes, but what you may not know is that it also affects energy requirements. A neutered cat is less able to regulate its appetite, so tend to eat more food if they can, and this change could happen within just two days of the procedure. At the same time, their maintenance energy needs may decrease. So if a cat’s diet is not adapted after neutering they are likely to gain weight very quickly. And of course, becoming overweight will impact on your cat’s general health and wellbeing, increasing the risk of disease such as diabetes or urinary conditions.
So you will need to regularly weigh and body condition score your cat, choose a diet appropriate to their energy needs as soon as they are neutered, control rations carefully and encourage daily activity. In this way you can help control your cat’s bodyweight, helping to keep them slim, fit and in the best possible health.