Castration in cats

Castration of cats has many health benefits, including preventing them from being able to reproduce. This routine surgical procedure also helps reduce the pet overpopulation crisis. The number of kittens born every year is still far greater than the number of good homes that can be found for them. 

Castration is a surgical procedure that removes the testicles from a male cat. This surgery is typically recommended for cats between the ages of 4 and 7 months. It can also be called neutering or surgical sterilisation. Keep your cat calm and stop them from licking the wound after surgery.

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What it’s for

Why is this procedure recommended?

Your vet may recommend this surgery for your male cat for the following reasons:

  • Removing the chance of testicular cancer (tumours) and other testicular diseases.
  • Helping to control the cat population.
  • Can reduce behaviours such as spraying, roaming, cat fights, and aggression.
  • It weakens the smell of the urine.


How it’s done

How is the surgery performed?

The operation is performed in order to remove the testicles.

  • The skin of the scrotum is cleaned and sometimes shaved
  • An incision is made over each testicle
  • The surgical incision is usually made on both scrotums
  • Followed by the removal of the testicles
  • There is no need for stitches in the skin of the scrotum

What happens on the day of the castration surgery?

Before the surgery day:

  • Your cat should have had a pre-neuter check with a vet or a nurse
  • Your cat should be starved from the night before the operation
  • You can still leave water available

In practice:

  • A vet or a nurse will admit your cat
  • Then the vet will do a hands-on examination to check if it is ok for the operation to go ahead
  • When necessary, pre-anaesthetic blood tests will be performed
  • Then a sedative and pain relief will be injected
  • While the pre-anaesthetic is working, your cat will be kept in a calm, warm kennel
  • Once the sedative has taken effect, your cat will be put under a full/general anaesthetic
  • In preparation for surgery, the area is clipped and cleaned while your cat is closely monitored
  • Surgery will begin

Soon after surgery:

  • After your cat wakes up from the anaesthesia, he will be placed in a warm, comfortable kennel to recover
  • Usually, your cat can go home a few hours after their operation. If they take longer to recover from anaesthesia, they may need to be monitored for longer
  • You may find your cat quieter or disoriented when they get home
  • There is usually no need to send the patient home with painkillers



Why do different places charge different prices for castration surgery?

Cost depends:

  • Geographic location of the vet practice
  • Type of anaesthesia monitorization
  • On whether pain medication is included or not



What are the disadvantages?

Potential disadvantages include:

  • Slows their metabolism making them prone to obesity. However, obesity is the result of overfeeding and a lack of physical activity. By regulating your cat’s diet and caloric intake, as well as ensuring daily exercise, you can prevent obesity in castrated or intact males. Speak to a vet nurse for further help.
  • Castration does not cause a change in personality, intelligence, playfulness, or affection.
  • If your cat has behaviour problems driven by testosterone, it can take up to several weeks for the hormone levels to drop and the behaviour to decrease or stop.

Are there any dangers associated with surgery?

Although castration is considered a routine operation, it still requires general anaesthesia and that comes with risks.

Mild complications with the surgical wound or scrotum can occur, such as:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Infection

Severe complications, such as:

  • Anaesthetic risks (higher if your cat has any other medical issues)
  • Bleeding (haemorrhage)

Modern anaesthetics and monitoring equipment significantly reduce the risk of complications.

When is the best time to have your cat castrated?

It is recommended to have a developmental checkup or a pre-neuter check at 4-6 months old. Your vet will discuss the best time to perform the surgery.

Castration can be done at a later age if necessary.


Recovery tips

How to care for your castrated cat

The recovery period for a routine castration is generally 7 days. This period may be longer depending on your pet’s age, other health issues, or surgical complications.

Aftercare includes:

  • Keeping your cat indoors and calm for a period of around a week.
  • In some cases, your vet may dispense a buster collar to prevent licking the wound.
  • Male cats tend to only have one check-up afterwards, or they may not need one at all if they are doing well.


When to worry

When to worry after castration?

Seek vet care if your cat is:

  • Bleeding or other discharge from the incisions
  • Collapsed
  • Laboured breathing
  • Weakness (lethargy) that persists more than 24 hours after coming home
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea, or loss of appetite that persists more than 24 hours after coming home
  • Your pet’s pain does not seem controlled

Joii can help if:

  • There is bruising around the incisions
  • Your cat has a swollen scrotum
  • If you cannot keep your cat calm
  • If your cat can lick or chew at the incision
  • If you have difficulty administering prescribed medication
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