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Male Cat Before & After Neutering: Behavior & Recovery

Reproductive surgeries are a vital part of preventive care for our feline companions. They can help to prevent serious diseases and unwanted litters of kittens. In this blog, our Toledo vets talk about male cat behavior before and after neutering and what to expect with side effects and recovery.

What to Expect From Your Male Cat Before & After Neutering

While you may be unsure if you should put your cat through a surgical procedure, the benefits of neutering your male cat will far outweigh any potential risks. 

Neutering is the process of removing the testicles of a male cat, that produce most of their testosterone. A male cat's testosterone controls their sexual behavior, this includes behaviors such as aggression towards other males, roaming in search of females, and spraying (territory marking). By neutering your male cat you are minimizing or preventing these behaviors, reducing your cat's risk of developing some serious health conditions, as well as keeping your kitty from fathering unwanted kittens.

What will your male cat's behavior be like after neutering?

As stated above having your male cat neutered helps limit or stop undesirable behaviors that are linked to testosterone (sexual behaviors). There is no exact time frame for these changes, they could take days or months. The environment, age, or breed of your kitty generally doesn't have 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 doesn't completely stop your cat from spraying, because cats can also do this when they are nervous, not just to mark territory, although the smell of this urine is less intense in neutered cats.

There are also a handful of misconceptions being spread about the behavioral effects neutering has on cats. Neutering won't make your cat fat or lazy as long as you give them enough exercise and a healthy diet. But, you might have to reduce the number of calories you give them and provide them with extra playtime since they won't be burning calories through activities such as roaming, mating, or fighting as often.

You can also rest assured that hunting, and any other behaviors that aren't driven by hormones, will be displayed as usual.

How long will it take for a male cat to recover after neutering?

It's normal for cats to experience side effects as a result of the anesthesia and the procedure itself after being neutered such as discomfort, nausea, lethargy, and vomiting. This is why it's essential to carefully follow your vet's post-operative care instructions, so your kitty's recovery can be as smooth and quick 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 a result of the discomfort they are feeling, so we also recommend keeping other people and pets away from your furry friend during this time.

Other ways that you can help your male cat to heal well after neutering surgery include:

  • For the first 24 hours give your cat a small bit of water to sip on, and just a half or quarter portion of their food to limit vomiting
  • Place a clean litter box close to their resting area, so they won't have to walk far to relieve themselves
  • Instead of kitty litter use shredded paper for the first week to keep dust and dirt from sticking to 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

It takes approximately 24 to 48 hours for your cat's nausea to go away and for their appetite to fully return, but it will take roughly 7 days for your male cat to recover completely after being neutered.

If after 48 hours your cat is still vomiting, lethargic, having diarrhea or their appetite isn't returning call your vet immediately.

What to look for in your male cat after neutering when it comes to side effects?

While it is normal for recently neutered cats to experience side effects such as lack of appetite, nausea, lethargy, and vomiting you should call your vet if these symptoms don't go away after 48 hours following their procedure.

Your kitty might also not be able to defecate or urinate normally for the first 24 to 48 hours after their procedure, if your cat isn't able to relieve themselves normally after 72 hours have passed it's time to call your vet.

You also have to monitor your cat's incision site carefully for bleeding. It's normal for there to be a bit of blood at the incision site within the first 24 hours after the procedure, but if you still see blood after this window of time call your vet.

It's normal for cats to feel uncomfortable and experience some pain for approximately 36 after being neutered, for this reason, your vet will provide your furry friend with long-lasting pain medications through an injection, to help your kitty manage their 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 should contact your vet or the nearest emergency veterinary clinic if your cat displays any of the following signs:

  • Swelling or redness at the incision site
  • The incision site has reopened
  • Pus or discharge coming from the incision site
  • Refusing to eat
  • Your cat hasn't urinated in 24 hours

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.

Would you like to schedule your male cat for a neutering procedure? Contact our Toledo vets today to book your kitty's appointment.

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Shoreland Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our veterinary team is passionate about the health of Toledo pets and is looking forward to meeting you and your furry friend. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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