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Do all unneutered males spray?

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Tao

Flopsalot- Extrordinaire
 
 
Purred: Wed Sep 21, '11 6:23am PST 
Tao is two and a half years old now, and unneutered. Only cat. By his own choice he rarely if ever goes outside, if he does he only sits on the porch, he's always been scared to go any further. We live rurally with dogs that chase off any strays that may wander onto our property so him breeding isn't at all a concern.

He is mellow as all get out, very tolerant, and he's never had an accident outside the litterbox, so I guess I never really saw a reason to get him altered.


I've been getting a lot of guff about that lately. Friends, family and vet say it's all just a matter of time before he starts peeing all over the house so I should have him done asap. They tell me ALL males mark eventually and it's stupid to ever let him start.

Is this true?


The only other cat I've ever had was a female, and she would very occasionally get ornery about her box not being clean enough (as in scooping at least a couple of times a day), but he isn't like that at all. When I say never had an accident, I mean never.

Thoughts? Is it something I should just take care of in anticipation that eventually it's going to be a problem or can some indoor unaltered males just never have an issue with that?
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Louis- Armstrong - ILM

I'm walkin' to- New Orleans.....
 
 
Purred: Wed Sep 21, '11 6:55am PST 
You are VERY lucky that he has never tried to get out of the house and try to find a female in heat. I have always heard that unneutered males do spray, to mark their territory.

May I ask why he is not neutered? It makes for healthier cat, I know other posters can list the medical problems a unneutered male can have. If I remember correctly, most of them center around urinary tract infections. The surgery is VERY easy for a male cat to recover from, only takes about 5-7 minutes and it is over. They do not even stay overnight at the vet's office.

And if you ever decide to add to your furry family, it would make it much easier if Tao was "snipped".


The New Orleans Kittieswave
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Tao

Flopsalot- Extrordinaire
 
 
Purred: Wed Sep 21, '11 7:14am PST 
Well, we are most definitely NOT getting another cat lol. I only had one before. Will only ever have one at a time period. We are mainly dog people, have four, and he adores them with no problem so I'm not as worried about that at all. He took adding our last pup with ease, it's just his nature, he doesn't really care. He doesn't really care about much. The only thing I've ever seem him get riled about was when I tried to foster a kitten. Just a little thing, but he HATED it. Didn't matter that it was female and terrified of him trying to steer clear at all cost, if given the chance I'm quite sure he'd have killed it.

I'm not sure he even knows he's a cat to be honest. He doesn't act like one at all. And contrary to his feelings about the kitten he adores all dogs.

All of my dogs are males. Three are altered, so I'm well aware of the process. All dogs before the currents were too, as well as my previous cat. But current studies have me second guessing the "just do it" mentality. Regardless of if it's quick it's still surgery. There are risks associated with it. And if he's not having trouble I don't understand the point of putting him through the stress I guess shrug



Does anyone have a link to cat specific studies, either in support of altering or not? All the ones on dogs lately are starting to lean the other way and that's been an intriguing revelation for me. I'd be curious if the same discoveries are being made about felines.

Edited by author Wed Sep 21, '11 7:20am PST

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Ralphie & Randy

1201140
 
 
Purred: Wed Sep 21, '11 10:17am PST 
I completely understand your reservations about having an unneccessary surgery performed on your cat. HOWEVER, I don't believe that neutering falls into that category. Not only is the cat more likely to become territorial and spray, but he is also more likely to go out in search of of a mate. He may have hated the female kitten that you fostered, but that doesn't mean he will feel that way about all females.

I believe that neutering is especially important since your cat is let outside on his own. He may not stray from your porch on a typical day, but all it would take is a call from a female in heat to send him running in search of her. If he finds her, there you've let him create a new litter of stray kittens. Whether he finds her or not, now he's in danger roaming the neighborhood. And since he spends some time outdoors alone, he may very well be spraying outside and you just don't know about it. I don't know if it's automatically "a matter of time" before he starts spraying indoors, maybe he won't ever start and maybe he won't do it outdoors either. But I think that the risk of creating unwanted kittens, and the risk of encountering outdoor dangers if he starts to roam, are larger risks than those of this minor surgery.
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Tao

Flopsalot- Extrordinaire
 
 
Purred: Wed Sep 21, '11 11:04am PST 
I should clarify, he's never out on the porch alone (I don't think I ever said he was, but in case I gave that impression I apologize). The only time he'll come out is if we're sitting outside and he's lured to sit in on a lap. It lasts maybe 5 minutes, and then he's mewing to be let back in. It's not a typical occurrence at all. Maybe a few times a month? He'd never let us leave him out there alone, and again, the dogs would never allow a stray cat anywhere near the house. They go the same way as anything else that tries to come up into the yard... There aren't many anyway due to the large predator and bird population here (another reason why he'd never be left outside alone).

The kitten is not the only cat he's met. While visiting family he's also tried to fight others, male and other females. I initially just chalked that up to them not knowing each other but the kitten I actually tried to acclimate him to because my intent was to house it for some time. When I say he very obviously hates other cats I do mean *all* and *hates.* It may be due to where he came from - a hoarders trailer house filled to the brim. Who knows.


Is it really that odd an occurrence that one - a cat doesn't want to get outside and run away at every opportunity, two - a cat doesn't like other cats for any reason or intent, and three - that an unneutered cat won't mark?


I worked in a shelter for a long long time and met plenty that were not only content being solitary but so much as demanded to not even SEE another cat in a cage across from theirs. All that left either were neutered or had to be within a certain amount of time but the ones left intact weren't always spraying up the place, even though there were tons of other cats in the same room with them, including ones occasionally that would come into heat.

I guess I never knew any of that to be odd and was primarily interested in if spraying is a definite inevitability in an intact male shrug

Edited by author Wed Sep 21, '11 11:08am PST

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Hunter- *Dreamboat- #82*

Master of- Disaster!
 
 
Purred: Wed Sep 21, '11 1:58pm PST 
I can't say for sure, but I think about 90% of unneutered males spray. Obviously that isn't a fact, just what I think. Could be less or more. You say your cat doesn't bolt out the door. Your cat is not neutered. My Hunter is neutered and he would bolt out the door any chance he gets. Every cat is different. You seem to be pretty sure on your side of the arguement that you won't want/see a reason for your cat to be neutered, and that is your choice. However, if your cat has some major emotional upset, stressed out, rehomed, or even sick, your cat could and might spray. Actually your kitty could be spraying now and you wouldn't even know. Buy a black light and shine it around your house, cat urine glows.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
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Vincent

Please- spay/neuter your- feline companion
 
 
Purred: Wed Sep 21, '11 3:05pm PST 
I have never met a single unneutered male cat, domestic, stray, or feral that didn't spray. And I've known a lot of people with cats, and we have a ton of loose pet cats, ferals, and stray cats around here; unfortunately most of them not fixed except the ferals we've been able to catch-neuter-release.
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Blade- (2000-2010)

BE RESPONSIBLE,- SPAY AND NEUTER!
 
 
Purred: Fri Sep 23, '11 2:20pm PST 
I think 99.99% of unneuterd males will start to spray at some point. I don't think you can judge by the cats who were contained in the shelter because they would not be behaving in the same way as a cat in what it considered to be it's own territory - it's a very different and unnatural environment.
Not that you asked, hee hee, but in my own opinion, spraying would be the least of my worries regarding owning un-neutered cat. If a cat sprays, you might not like the smell but the cat is still going to be fine. I would mainly worry about consequences that could put the cat's health and safety at risk and that at some point in time, an unneutered cat will get a whiff of a female in heat somewhere (and the scent can carry for miles) and the cat would just take off and you might never see him again - it's a natural instinct that they cannot fight. A male neuter only takes a vet about 4 minutes to perform and it's the cheapest thing you can do for your pet's health and welfare.
As a side note, my cat Blade didn't start spraying until he was 5 and he'd been neutered aged 18 months shortly after we got him. He only sprayed outside though, not in the house.
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Tao

Flopsalot- Extrordinaire
 
 
Purred: Sat Sep 24, '11 1:26pm PST 
"Actually your kitty could be spraying now and you wouldn't even know. Buy a black light and shine it around your house, cat urine glows."

LOL - how would someone NOT know there was cat urine all over their house??!

I'm a licensed foster care provider, in addition to that I run a licensed daycare out of my home. My house is kept impeccably clean. Aside from that, between all the daycare parents, licensing workers, state inspectors, friends and family that come here rarely do they even remember that we have a cat (or the dogs unless they wuf at the doorbell) until they see him. It's not just people being nice. Animal urine or feces anywhere but where it's supposed to be is obviously not tolerated in a licensed home.


Add to that, I'm not sure what other upsets he could possibly face in his life...rescued from hoarder and rehomed at about 6 months of age, me getting engaged and moving from the home I brought him home from rescue into, into SO's out in the country, adding new pets, going from one set of daycare kids he grew to adore to a completely new set, having new foster babies come and go periodically. It's not like he's been living life in a fragile bubble that's just waiting to burst him into an emotional wreck. Life has definitely been full the entire time I've had him, and it's certainly been ever changing lol.



Going back to the OP, does anyone have any actual research they can point me to? Maybe it doesn't even exist and all anyone can go by is personal experiences at this point? I'm looking for the same sort of stuff currently available about not spay/neutering dogs across the board for medical reasons. We have decided not to neuter our current pup (well, not really a pup anymore, his first birthday is today!). Until I researched it further I believed all unneutered male dogs were insanely naughty, prone to aggression, roaming and humping everything in sight. We thought we'd keep pup intact at least the first couple of years because of the new research highlighting the concern of the loss of hormones on a larger breeds growth plates. Come to find out, as an added perk, he's actually been much better behaved and balanced than any of our three other dogs ever have been. Cool as a cucumber. Much like Tao has been.

It's hard not to wonder if that's merely coincidence or something more.


It's not that my mind is made up, I'm just hoping to find some scientific information over opinion since merely fear based opinion in the past led me to neuter my three previous dogs. I don't want to make such a decision based on what might happen if someday a stray cat happens to sneak past the four dogs in our household and our cat suddenly does a completely 180 with his personality, leaving the house on his own when he never has before to pursue and animal he's never been interested in doing anything with other than killing when he's 9 years old...or older.

No offense, but using that logic I could just as easily not take him for fear on the way to the vet we could get in a car accident and he'll be lost or killed that way, you know?
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Sterling

Go Gently Into- the Night

moderator
 
 
Purred: Sat Sep 24, '11 9:00pm PST 
Or Old Faithful would back up causing all of Yellowstone to blow up the U.S. making the question moot. shrug

The Catsters gave their personal opinions so maybe you could try searching the Web or Googling some of the veterinary universities for their scientific research.

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