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Male Cat Before & After Neutering: Behavior & Recovery

Neutering procedures are a safe and common surgery for male cats that can prevent unwanted litters, protect them from certain health issues, and even help control some undesirable behaviors. Today, our Clackamas vets explain what you can expect before and after neutering your male cat, including behaviors and recovery.

Neutering Your Male Cat

Most cat owners must decide whether or not to neuter their pet, and your veterinarian can assist you in making this decision.

Neutering is the removal of a male cat's testicles, which produce the majority of its testosterone. A male cat's testosterone controls their sexual behavior, which includes roaming in search of females, aggression toward other males, and spraying (territory marking).

By neutering your male cat, you can prevent or reduce these behaviors, as well as the birth of unwanted kittens and a number of serious health issues.

Male Cat Behavior After Neutering 

As previously stated, neutering your male cat helps to prevent or limit undesirable testosterone-related behaviors. These changes may occur immediately or several weeks after the procedure. Your kitty's age, breed, or environment usually have little impact on these changes.

By reducing or eliminating your cat's desire to roam, you reduce the likelihood of them getting into a wandering-related accident. Because their aggression toward male cats is reduced, they are less likely to be scratched or bitten by other cats, putting your cat at risk of disease transmission.

Neutering your cat may also reduce his desire to spray and mark his territory. However, the behavior may not be entirely eliminated because cats do this when they are nervous. Neutered cats have a weaker urine odor.

There are also many misconceptions about how neutering affects cats' behavior. Neutering your cat will not make him lazy or overweight if you feed him a healthy diet and exercise him regularly. However, neutering slows your male cat's metabolism slightly, so you may need to reduce the number of calories you feed them and give them more playtime.

Any non-hormonal behaviors, such as your cat's hunting ability, will be unaffected.

Male Cats Recovery After Neutering

After being neutered, it's normal for male cats to experience side effects as a result of the anesthesia and the procedure itself such as lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and discomfort. This makes it important to follow your vet's post-operative care instructions carefully, so your cat can recover as safely and quickly as possible. 

When you first bring your cat home, keep them in a dark, quiet room because their eyes may be sensitive due to the protective ointment your vet applied. Cats may become aggressive as a result of their discomfort, so keep other people and pets away from your feline companion during this time.

Other precautions you should take to help your cat recover smoothly include:

  • During the first 24 hours give your cat a small amount of water to sip on, and only a quarter or half portion of their food to limit vomiting
  • Keep a clean litter box close to their resting area, so they don't need to walk far to relieve themselves
  • Use shredded paper instead of kitty litter for the first week to prevent dust and dirt from getting stuck in 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

If after 48 hours your cat is still vomiting, lethargic, having diarrhea, or their appetite isn't returning call your vet immediately or bring them to the closest emergency veterinarian.

How long does it take a male cat to recover from neutering? 

Your cat will usually recover from neuter procedures within 5-7 days. Check for any of the symptoms listed above and contact your veterinarian if they persist or worsen. Do not let your cat run, jump, or play with other animals while it is healing. It is critical that they rest. When your cat is one week post-op, you can gradually allow them to resume normal activities. If your cat is accustomed to being outside, they can resume going outside after 7 days.

What To Watch for After Neutering Your Cat

As previously stated, it is normal for cats to experience side effects such as lethargy, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting after being neutered, and you should contact your veterinarian if these symptoms do not resolve within 48 hours.

Your cat may also be unable to urinate or defecate normally for the first 24 to 48 hours after their procedure; if 72 hours have passed and they still cannot relieve themselves normally, you should seek veterinary care.

You should also keep a close eye on your cat's incision site for any bleeding. It is normal for there to be some blood around the incision site for the first 24 hours after the procedure, but if you continue to see blood after this time, contact your veterinarian.

As expected, neutered cats will feel uncomfortable and in pain for about 36 hours after the procedure, so your veterinarian will administer long-term pain medications in the form of an injection to help manage your cat's pain. If you believe your cat requires additional pain medication while at home, please contact your veterinarian. Do not give your cat pain medications intended for humans or any other medications without first consulting your veterinarian, as many medications can be toxic to cats, resulting in serious health complications and, in severe cases, death.

You should also contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice your cat exhibiting any of the following symptoms after being neutered:

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

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.

Contact our Clackamas vets today to schedule your cat's neuter procedure or if your cat is exhibiting any complications after being neutered.

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