At ROYAL CANIN®, we know that finding trustworthy advice and reliable information on the subject of kitten neutering can be difficult and time-consuming. That’s why we’ve combined the most important facts and recommendations regarding kitten neutering in one place.
Let’s take a look at what’s involved when it comes to neutering your kitten, including the benefits of having your feline neutered, when to neuter your cat and the procedure itself. Remember, the more information you have, the better-informed you’ll be to make your decisions.
Benefits of Neutering
The most obvious benefit is that neutering will reduce the numbers of unwanted litters, as cats are surprisingly adept at breeding. Finding good homes for unexpected kittens is not an easy job. Having said this, there are many other benefits to neutering your cat, from both a health and behaviour perspective.
Female felines may develop infections or tumours of the uterus, particularly in later life. Having a female spayed can make these occurrences far less likely because spaying involves the uterus being removed entirely.
For male cats, if testicles are retained in the abdomen they are more likely to develop tumours, which is why castration is always advised in these cases. For both genders, it’s a case of the sooner you seek advice from your vet, the better. This will give you more time to process the facts about neutering and to make the best decision for your cat.
So, neutering your kitten has a number of health benefits, and has also been shown to potentially double the life expectancy of a cat, but what about behaviour benefits? Neutered cats don’t tend to wander and stray away from home as much. This makes them less likely to injure themselves, on the road, or from fighting with other cats, for example.
Additionally, sharing your home with an unneutered cat may not always be easy. Female cats will come into season regularly and can call and attract males in the nearby environment. Entire males may stray and display territorial behaviour, such as spraying urine within the home. Most vets would advise that neutering a cat tends to result in a calmer and easier pet.
When to neuter your cat
The neutering process generally takes place when a kitten is aged between 5 and 6 months.
However, many vets now recommend that kittens are neutered from the age of 4 months – as long as they are at a good bodyweight and fit and healthy. Your veterinary surgery will be able to give you advice best tailored to your kitten’s unique needs. Cats can also be neutered at a later age if they missed the procedure as a kitten.
The neutering procedure
If you make the decision to have your kitten neutered, it’s beneficial to be aware of how the process takes place. First, you should arrange an appointment with your vet for the neutering procedure to occur. Once the day arrives, take your kitten to the veterinary practice for the procedure to begin, having followed any instructions you were given about preventing your cat accessing food and water just prior to its operation.
The operation is performed by your vet while your kitten is under general anaesthetic, monitored by a veterinary nurse. As previously mentioned, neutering is known as spaying in female cats and castration in male cats.
Female kittens are spayed through an incision into the abdomen – either on the side or the tummy. Then, the uterus and both ovaries are removed, and the incision is closed with stitches. In male cats, castration usually involves both testicles being removed through small incisions in the scrotum, which are left to heal on their own.
Neutering is a relatively short procedure and both kittens and cats usually recover from the effects of the anaesthetic within a few hours. In most cases, felines can go home at the end of the day. You will need to take your kitten back to the vet after a few days for a re-examination to ensure that the incisions are healing normally. If your kitten has had stitches which haven’t dissolved naturally you might need to return at a later date to have them removed.
It is likely that your vet or vet nurse will also discuss the dietary changes you should make after your cat has been neutered. Your cat’s energy requirements will normally reduce by around 30% after neutering so it is best make a dietary change otherwise your cat may gain weight2,3. Your vet is likely to recommend feeding a diet formulated specifically for neutered cats.
Ask your vet
Remember, it’s important to always speak to your vet for tailored advice on your cat’s condition, health and dietary requirements before and after the neutering procedure.
- “State of Pet Health 2013 Report”, Banfield Pet Hospital. http://www.banfield.com/Banfield/media/PDF/Downloads/soph/Banfield-State-of-Pet-Health-Report_2013.pdf
- Nguyen PG et al, “Effects of dietary fat and energy on body weight and composition after gonadectomy in cats.” Am J Vet Res. 2014 Dec; 65 (12): 1708-13
- Spofford N et al, “A moderate fat, low-energy dry expanded diet reduces gain in body condition score when fed as part of a post neutering weight-control regimen in growing pet cats.” J Nutr Sci.2014 Sep 30;3:e40.