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6 Reasons to Have Your Male Cat Neutered

We know spaying female cats prevents unwanted kittens, but that's only half the equation.

 |  Jun 24th 2014  |   9 Contributions


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?

Um, no.

Samuel L. Catson was intact until just a couple of weeks before this photo was taken. Unfortunately, his years as a rough-and-tumble street tomcat left him ill with the feline immunodeficiency virus. You can read Samuel's story here. Photo courtesy of the Your Daily Cute Facebook page.

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.

1. It reduces the risk of contagious disease

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.

Cat spray is some of the nastiest and most permanent stuff you'll ever experience. Photo CC-BY Roy Montgomery

2. It eliminates urine spraying

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.

3. It reduces or eliminates roaming

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.

Roaming puts cats at risk of injury and disease. Photo CC-BY-ND Barbara Müller-Walter

4. It reduces the risk of injury by cars and people

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.

5. It reduces the risk of injury from fighting

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.

Some battle wounds can be appealing in a strange way, but others ... not so much. Photo CC-BY 'Amy'

6. Neutered cats live happier, longer lives

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.

This cat got his snaggle-toothed expression thanks to a broken jaw caused by a collision with a car. Photo CC-BY-SA Eddy Van 3000

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.

Read more on neutering your cat: 

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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.

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