What’s not to love about tomcats? They’re so handsome with their giant jowls and burly bodies. They’re such stalwart defenders of their boundaries, always ready to chase off any intruders. The shrieks of tomcats that split the spring and summer nights are just evidence that nature is doing its thing, right?
It still mystifies me that so many people seem to understand the importance of spaying to prevent unwanted kittens, but they don’t seem to grasp the idea that neutering is just as important. It’s a matter of health on top of population control. Here’s why you should get your male cat his "big boy surgery" as soon as your vet recommends it.
The feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is transmitted through deep bite wounds, which are often incurred during cat fights. Experience leads me to believe that most cats infected with FIV happen to be males who were not neutered as kittens.
The acrid odor of cat spray sticks to everything it touches. Fabrics, books, carpets, bedding, and even walls and wood trim that have been doused by a tomcat are often ruined. If you want to avoid spending countless hours cleaning up after your cat or living in a cesspool of stench, get him neutered and the spraying will stop.
Tomcats are consummate escape artists: If they sense even a whiff of a female cat in heat, they will do anything and everything to get out of the house and mate with her.
Cats who are neutered tend to roam less and therefore are much less likely to get hit by cars or abused by humans who get some kind of psychopathic glee from doing abusing cats.
Sure, you may think your tomcat’s notched ear makes him look cool and rakish, but the odds are very good that at some point he’s going to come home a lot worse off than that. There’s no thrill quite like cleaning out a ruptured abscess on an aggravated and painful tomcat’s neck: Trust me, I know this from experience.
In addition to reducing the risk of injury, fighting and disease, neutering also eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and lowers the possibility that a cat will develop hormone-related chronic conditions such as prostate problems or "stud tail."
While we’re on this subject, allow me a moment to bust one big myth: Neutering doesn’t make your cat fat. Feeding him too much does. As long as you feed your cat an appropriate amount of food, provide environmental enrichment and give him regular exercise, you shouldn’t see any weight gain after neutering.
And finally, here’s a message to the men who refuse to have their cats neutered because "I just can’t do that to the little guy." They’re not your balls. Get over it.
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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.