Castration of Cats

The castration of cats and tomcats is a routine procedure that not only prevents unwanted offspring but can also make it easier for cats and humans to live together. Find out here about the process, consequences, timing, and costs of neutering cats.

More than 14 million cats live in German households. However, the number of cats that struggle to survive every day on farms, junkyards, on the street, or in the neighborhood is significantly higher. Countless cats are given up in animal shelters every day, others are abandoned. Baby cats are also very often given up or abandoned because no buyers can be found for them.

This is usually the result of uncontrolled or ill-considered propagation. Uncontrolled reproduction leads to animal suffering, which can only be prevented by neutering cats and tomcats – an issue that affects all cat owners. If you have your cat neutered, you are actively protecting animals!

The Course of the Castration of Cats and Tomcats

When both cats and tomcats are castrated, the gonads that produce the sex hormones are surgically removed – the testicles in the tomcat and the ovaries in the female cat. The aim is that mature egg or sperm cells do not develop in the first place: tomcats and cats become infertile.

The procedure is a little easier on cats than on cats, but in both cases, it must be performed under general anesthesia.

In the hangover, the scrotum is slightly opened with small incisions and the testicles are removed. The cut is usually so small that it heals on its own.
In the cat, the abdominal wall is opened to remove the ovaries and part or all of the uterus. The incision is then sewn up and the stitches removed after around 10 to 14 days if necessary.
The difference between neutering and spaying the cat

During sterilization, only the fallopian tubes or vas deferens are severed. In male cats, however, the testicles would still be fully intact. This means that the males could no longer produce offspring, but would still be active, i.e. would continue to mark, defend their territory and look for mates. The same applies to the cats, which would continue to be in heat. Castration, on the other hand, completely removes the testicles and ovaries, thus preventing the influence of sex hormones.

Since sex hormones are no longer produced after castration, gender-specific behaviors usually no longer occur or appear to a lesser extent. The specific consequences vary from cat to cat.

Why You Should Have Tomcats and Cats Neutered

In addition to the animal welfare aspect, castration has many other advantages and is also an important part of health care – and therefore relevant not only for cats outside but also for indoor cats. Here is an overview of the advantages of neutering cats and tomcats:

  • Cats no longer go into heat: In serious cases, cats can go into heat all the time or even appear pregnant. This means enormous stress for animals and owners and can put a heavy strain on the relationship between humans and cats. Neutering the cat puts an end to this.
  • The tomcat’s willingness to fight decreases: After reaching sexual maturity, tomcats are always capable of reproduction and very willing to fight when it comes to conquering the lady of their hearts. With castration, the willingness to fight decreases, and the risk of injury is much smaller.
  • The marking has come to an end: tomcats mark their territory with highly concentrated urine. This is not only annoying and unhygienic but also leads to a strong odor nuisance. Castrating the cat puts an end to that.
  • Territorial behavior changes: cats and tomcats no longer stray as extensively and no longer stray so far from home. They become more domesticated and more devoted to their owner.
  • The life expectancy of cats and tomcats increases: Since both the dominance behavior and territorial behavior decrease after the castration of cats and tomcats, the risk of injuries, car accidents, and dangerous infectious diseases such as FIV or FeLV is significantly lower. Studies have shown that neutered cats live an average of 10 years, while unneutered cats only have an average life expectancy of five to six years.

When is the Best Time to Castrate Cats and Tomcats?

There is no general answer to when you should have your cat neutered at the earliest. However, it is advisable to castrate the cats before they become sexually mature. This varies by gender:

  • Females: sexually mature at 5 to 9 months
  • Males: sexually mature at 8 to 10 months

When it comes to sexual maturity, also note the breed-specific differences between cats:

  • Sacred Birmans, Siamese cats, and Abyssinians belong to the group of precocious cats and are usually sexually mature at 4 to 6 months.
  • Many long-haired breeds, but also the British Shorthair, for example, are late bloomers and take up to a year to reach sexual maturity.

The time of birth also plays a role in sexual maturity: autumn and winter kittens can become sexually mature as early as 3 to 4 months.

You should definitely discuss with your veterinarian when your cat or tomcat should be neutered at the earliest.

Under no circumstances should an unneutered cat or male tomcat be released into the wild! Please consider: A female cat can give birth to several litters with several kittens each year. In just five years, a single cat can produce up to 13,000 offspring – who takes care of these cats?

Castration of Cats and Tomcats: 4 Castration Myths

Cat owners often have fears about neutering, because there are many myths about neutering. What’s wrong with these myths?

1 Statement: Neutered Tomcats Become Fat and Lazy!

It is not uncommon for cats and tomcats to gain weight after they have been neutered. This is not due to the castration itself, but because the cats consume too few calories for the amount of food they eat. Neutered cats and tomcats are no longer as active and suddenly discover eating as a kind of pastime. However, you can prevent this by following the tips below:

  • Feed controlled! The house tiger should receive a precisely measured amount of food every day. This is divided into several small portions, which are then given throughout the day. In this way, the cat gets used to the crowd and does not develop cravings.
  • Only give treats in moderation! From time to time, treats are also allowed, but these are deducted from the daily ratio.
  • Encourage to play! Distraction through movement is the motto. By playing, the house tiger burns a lot of calories, and the best thing about it: The relationship between human and cat also becomes more intense as a result.

Weight gain is often cited as a disadvantage of neutering cats and tomcats. With the right diet and enough activity, however, you can easily prevent obesity. Against this background, the advantages of castration clearly outweigh the disadvantages.

2 Statement: A Cat Must Come Into Heat/ Give Birth to Kittens at Least Once Before it Can Be neutered!

This is still a widespread misconception. Heat or a litter of kittens has no influence on the further development of a cat. On the contrary: being in heat is an enormous hormonal burden for the cat. Apart from that, birth also involves many risks for the mother cat and kitten.

3 Statement: Indoor Cats Do Not Have to Be Neutered!

Anyone who has ever experienced how bad the urine of unneutered cats stinks or how stressful constant heat can be for cats and humans will quickly retract this statement. Neutering offers more advantages than disadvantages for all cats.

4 Statement: You Should Let the Cat Have His Fun / the Cat Should Be Allowed to Experience the Joy of Mothering!

For cats, reproduction has no emotional component whatsoever. For them, it is the pure drive that prevails over any need. Food intake and sleep become secondary. The search for a female ready to mate is associated with all kinds of dangers for tomcats. The act itself is associated with enormous pain for the cat. Romance or sexual pleasure? None! This is a purely human projection.

Hormonal Contraception in Cats and Hangovers

The pill or contraceptive injection for the cat or a hormone implant for the cat: hormonal contraceptive methods are considered an alternative to surgery, but are associated with significant side effects when administered long-term. They are usually only useful for professional breeders who want to plan the propagation of their breeding cats at short notice.

Hormonal Contraception in cats

The cat is either given a progestin-containing preparation in the form of a tablet every week or receives a progestin injection at intervals of three to five months. This can be used to turn off the heat. Progestins inhibit the formation of the hormones FSH and LH in the brain. These hormones are normally instrumental in reproduction. Their deactivation prevents hormonal activity in the ovaries and uterus, and the heat stops.

Such interventions in the cat’s hormone balance are not without side effects: long-term administration can lead to uterine and kidney diseases, mammary tumors, diabetes mellitus, or weight gain.

Hormonal Contraception for Hangovers

A hormone chip implanted in a hangover should ensure short-term infertility. The implant releases the active ingredient Deslorelin evenly over a period of six months to three years. This is similar to the body’s own hormone GnRH, which normally triggers the production of testosterone in the testicles.

The released Deslorelin signals the body that there is enough GnRH, and activity in the testicles decreases. In other words, the body is being tricked. As a result, the tomcat becomes infertile like a castrated fellow cat. As soon as the effect of the hormone chip wears off, fertility and sex drive (with all the consequences) start again.

Be sure to get detailed advice from your veterinarian about neutering your cat or tomcat!

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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