Learn about what neutering is, the benefits it can bring to you and your kitten, and how it can affect your kitten's behavior post-operation.
Having your kitten neutered is a common procedure with plenty of benefits for your cat and your home. However, it's not a decision to be made quickly, especially if you're interested in having a litter of kittens in the future.
What is neutering?
Neutering is the term used for the sterilization of male cats. In female cats, this is called spaying, although sometimes neutering is used to refer to sterilizing male or female animals.
How does neutering work?
It works by eliminating sex hormones in your cat. For male cats, their testicles are removed so they will no longer produce sperm, which can fertilize the egg of a female cat, and therefore they're no longer able to reproduce. The operation is performed by a vet or other qualified professional.
When's the best time to have my kitten neutered?
Ideally, you should have your kitten neutered at around puberty; in male cats, this is between six to 12 months old. Male cats tend to reach sexual maturity, and therefore begin looking for a mate, between seven and 12 months old. Neutering can be done successfully from as young as three months. Your vet will be able to advise you on the best time for your kitten.
Why should I get my kitten neutered?
The central benefit to having your kitten neutered is that it increases life expectancy. However, it can also calm their behavior, which can be beneficial if your kitten is an indoor cat. It reduces the likelihood of having unwanted litters, which can be difficult to manage and send on to a good home. It also reduces the likelihood of your cat contracting or spreading an STI, as their desire to mate is reduced. Their desire to fight is similarly reduced, which brings with it the benefit of a quieter and more peaceful home environment.
How will my kitten's diet change?
After neutering, your kitten's nutritional needs change; its energy requirements go down by 30%, but its appetite will increase by 20-25%. As your kitten is still growing and needs energy to develop healthy muscles and body mass, it's important to give it food that covers its nutritional requirements without adding unnecessary fat; food designed for sterilized cats is a good option.
What other complications can there be with neutering?
Male cats are at a high risk of becoming obese after they've been neutered, and this can lead to further, long-term health problems. This can include joint disease and diabetes, along with linked urinary problems which come from obese cats not drinking enough water. If you decide to have your kitten neutered, keep a close eye on their behavior and engage them with playful activities to help manage their weight.
Neutering can be a beneficial procedure for your cat and your home environment. For more information, talk with your vet who will be able to help you decide whether it's the right thing for you and your cat.