Most people have heard that they should spay and neuter their pets. Neutering is recommended for all male cats that will not be used for breeding (note: intentional breeding should only be done for improvement of a particular breed), but why is it so important?

Neutering has many benefits for both you and your cat. Firstly, neutered males that go outside have a much smaller territory than unneutered males. This means that they are less likely to wander far and potentially cross streets or other hazardous areas. They are also less likely to violently defend their territory from other cats, which means they are less likely to receive injuries (such as abscesses) that would necessitate a trip to the veterinarian. By fighting less—or not at all, this also greatly reduces the chance of contracting a potentially fatal disease, such as FIV.

Secondly, neutering can greatly reduce testosterone-related behavior issues, such as aggression and spraying. Unneutered cats are much more likely to spray inside the house or redirect aggression toward humans in the house, due to rival cats outside. They are also more likely to have stress-related urinary tract issues if kept indoors.

Finally, neutering your cat greatly reduces the number of unwanted cats and kittens. While Missoula is lucky to have several wonderful no-kill shelters, many places are not so fortunate. Millions of unwanted cats and kittens are euthanized every year in shelters around the country. Unneutered males that go outside will be breeding, even if you don’t see any other cats in the immediate area. When permitted to roam, unneutered males can have territories that cover several miles. This also means that–as mentioned earlier—they will be more likely to get into fights with rival males and wander farther in search of females.

Periodically, we do see “cryptorchid” cats (meaning male cats with undescended testicles). These cats should still be neutered for two reasons: 1.) These cats may not be able to breed but could still show the undesirable traits of unneutered male cats, such as spraying. This is because the testicles will still be producing lots of testosterone. 2.) Undescended testicles are more likely to become cancerous, which can become life-threatening before it is detected.

We hope that this guide fully explained the benefits of neutering male cats. If you have any questions about the procedure or would like to make an appointment, give us a call! We love to help all kitties and their families live happy, healthy lives together!

Until next time, we wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving! =^_^=