Neuter Surgery Start to Finish

Everything you wanted to know about neutering your cat and more.

By Stacy Hackett

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Spay and NeuterYou've made an appointment to have your male kitten neutered, but some doubt remains. Do male cats really need to be neutered? Will the surgery cause him pain? What kind of care will he need at home? When will he be able to play again?

Put your mind at ease. Animal welfare organizations including the Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Veterinary Information Network have answered all your questions, taking you step by step through the surgery and recovery.

What is neuter surgery?

  • The technical term for neuter surgery is orchidectomy
  • The surgery is also called castration
  • Neuter surgery removes the testes

When should I have my cat neutered?

  • Before puberty, when hormonal changes kick in
  • Typically between 4 and 6 months of age
  • Many behavior problems can be prevented if neuters are done early

Do some veterinarians neuter sooner than 6 months of age?

  • Yes this is called early-age neuter or pediatric neuter
  • Done at 6 to 8 weeks of age
  • Done more frequently at animal shelters before adoption
  • Helps prevent pet overpopulation

What happens during neuter surgery?

  • Surgery takes place in a sterile environment, such as an operating room
  • Your cat receives general anesthesia
  • A small incision is made in the cats scrotum
  • The testes are exposed
  • Blood vessels are clamped and tied to prevent bleeding
  • Many vets use a surgical laser to cut the pedicle to remove the testes
  • External sutures are not used, if possible
  • The incision may be left open to heal naturally

Can my cat come home the same day?

  • Hell recover from anesthesia in about an hour
  • Veterinary staff will monitor him for unusual reactions or bleeding
  • In most cases, he can go home that evening

When can my cat resume normal activity?

  • Most cats recover rapidly
  • Some cats will eat the same day as surgery
  • He should be eating the next morning
  • Post-operative pain is rare
  • Most cats are back to normal within three days

What should I look for at home?

  • Abnormal swelling of the incision area; some swelling is normal
  • Bloody or thick discharge from the incision
  • Any foul odors from the incision area
  • Extreme discoloration of the area; some pink is normal dark red or purple are not normal
  • Contact your veterinarian if you see any of these conditions or if your cat does not seem to be recovering
  • Try to prevent your cat from licking the incision area

Are there any risks associated with neuter surgery?

  • Your vet takes many steps to eliminate risks during surgery
  • The vet will most likely perform blood tests before surgery to identify or rule out underlying health problems
  • During anesthesia, your cats heart rate and breathing will be monitored closely
  • The surgery takes place in a sterile environment to eliminate risks of infection

Male cats don't become pregnant. Why should I neuter my male kitten?

  • Removing the testes also decreases the amount of testosterone
  • Testosterone can affect other organs besides sex organs, including the heart and prostate
  • Neutering reduces the chance of a male cat developing prostate cancer
  • Less testosterone in the male cats body decreases aggression and fighting
  • Neutering can eliminate or significantly reduce spraying behaviors

The pros of neutering your cat far outnumber the cons. Ready to schedule your kittens surgery? Talk to your veterinarian today.


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Reader Comments

Trina    Springfield, IL

6/13/2011 8:09:31 AM

We are trying to decide whether to get a kitten before or after our almost two week vacation. One of our cats recently died, and we think our surviving cat is lonely. We don't want to leave him alone for two weeks with just a pet sitter for company, but we are afraid the kitten will not be housebroken by the time we leave. But our primary concern is that the time for neutering would fall during our vacation. Will it impact the kitten if the surgery is done just a few weeks after the recommended time frame? BTW, our kitten will be a boy and kept inside, so it's not like it could get pregnant! :)

dayna    easton, PA

6/5/2010 12:19:47 AM

I feel it is very important to spay and neuter your cats. Very good article.

Tina    Memphis, TN

3/8/2010 8:12:23 AM

Leslie, this is true. If its not too late, wait until he is at lease six months old. Maine coons are not fully grown until they are about 5 years old. They are big, sweet, lovable cats!

Leslie    Memphis, TN

12/23/2009 7:16:35 PM

I recently purchased a Maine Coon Kitten. My breeder suggested I hold off neutering my kitten as long as I can. They stated that he will need the testosterone to assist in his growth. They suggested I wait 8 to 12 months. Feedback appreciated please.

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