Neutering a male cat, or tom cat, is the process of eliminating their ability to reproduce by extracting the organs responsible for sperm production. Neutering prevents your cat from being able to breed, and can stop unwanted pregnancies in females that haven’t been spayed. It also helps to reduce the number of unwanted cats in shelters, and aids in controlling the population of stray and feral cats. The procedure also removes the risk of your cat developing testicular cancer, and helps to stop a lot of undesirable behaviours such as territorial spraying and fighting between other unneutered cats. The risk of your cat developing diseases that are spread during fighting, such as FIV, is also significantly reduced.
What to consider
Even if you have an indoor cat that doesn’t share your home with any other pets, neutering is still something worth thinking about. They could breed upon escaping from your home, therefore contributing to the amount of unwanted animals.Since neutering is an irreversible procedure, you need to consider whether you intend to breed your cat in the future.
Ensure you speak to your vet about what the best age is for your cat to be neutered. Four months is usually considered appropriate, after your cat has received all of their vaccinations and before they have reached sexual maturity, but this opinion can vary. They can still be neutered before or after this, although bear in mind that cats are able to reproduce from an early age, even with females from the same litter they were born into.
The cat will usually receive a sedative before anaesthetic. General anaesthetic is often administered via an injection and an anaesthetic inhalation gas. The groin and scrotum are then shaved and scrubbed with antiseptic before surgery begins.
A tube is inserted down the cat’s throat during surgery to enable them to breathe more effectively, and to prevent them from inhaling any vomit or saliva. Anaesthetic gases are also passed through here.
An incision is made through the scrotal skin and tunica vaginalis that covers the first testicle. Since it is lubricated by fluid from the cat’s abdominal cavity, the testicle is then pulled out relatively easily.
The testicular blood vessels and spermatic cords create two strings. These are tightly knotted around each other upon the separation of the vas deferens and epididymal structure from the testicle and its blood supply. The vas deferens carries sperm, and the epididymis is a long tube at the back of each testicle. This is done to prevent the blood vessels attached to the testicles from bleeding once they are cut off, and means no sutures need to be placed. The surgeon then removes the testicle by cutting it off above the knots, and the procedure is repeated for the second one.
There is usually no need for the wounds to be stitched closed, as the incisions are so small they tend to heal of their own accord.
If your cat appears groggy or disorientated after the operation, it is due to the anaesthetic and will eventually wear off. Aftercare is important, as your pet will need adequate rest and time to recuperate. Have a look at our Spaying and Neutering Aftercare Guide to find out more about what you should do after your cat has been neutered.
This is not intended as a medical document, so ensure you consult your vet.