Why should you neuter your cat

Why should you neuter your cat

Neutering your animal is often one of the biggest discussion starters. Therefore, in this blog post, we have chosen to look at the advantages of neutralizing, but also at the disadvantages. We will provide facts throughout the blog and we will try to collect most of the questions that could be asked about neutering your cat. Good reading.

Once a female cat reaches puberty, usually around 6-10 months of age (some even earlier), she will have an oestrus or heat cycle every two to three weeks for most of the year unless she becomes pregnant. She will be 'in heat' or receptive to mating for about a week in each cycle. She can have three litters of kittens a year. During a lifetime, she can get approx. 100 kittens! Unfortunately, there are not enough homes for all the kittens and, among other things, it is recommended to neuter your cats.

In Denmark, there are an estimated 250,000 wild cats, all of which originate from cats that have not been neutered. Two sexually mature cats of just four years can become over 4800 cats! In the US, 6-8 million animals are euthanized in animal shelters annually, with 3-4 million cats and dogs euthanized annually despite being suitable for adoption. This means that in the USA 1 healthy and adoptable cat or dog is euthanized every 11 seconds (Source: The Humane Society of The United States and Kattens værn)

Typical behavior of intact cats

cat neuter marking

You are guaranteed to have experienced the typical behavior problems you see when you have gone for a walk and come to a point where it stinks of cat pee. This smell is due to a marking from an intact (not castrated) male who has to show his territory. The extreme smell the male cat emits is due to sex hormones and is used to scare the other males away. Stranding takes place both inside and outside and is a huge nuisance. Perhaps you yourself have a male cat who doesn't want to stay at home and always goes away? Again, this is due to the pesky sex hormones. You cannot stop an intact male from wanting to come out when the hormones are raging in them. This is a hormonal drive in the male cat which causes extreme stress if the male cat is an indoor cat and cannot get rid of his urge. Male cats with a desire to escape the house can be quite creative in their methods, including high windows, small holes and other dangerous routes.

Female cats do not escape the stress of hormones either. During heat, female cats may exhibit antisocial behavior such as loud and persistent crying and frequent rubbing and rolling on the floor. In addition, she may resort to peeing outside her litter box as a marking behavior.
These are just the obvious reactions that we see, but cats experience so much more.

The benefits of neutralizing

Neutralization affects only those behaviors that are influenced by hormones (these are called sexually dimorphic behaviors). A cat's temperament, training and personality are the result of genetics and upbringing and are generally unaffected by the presence or absence of hormones. Neutering is unlikely to calm an overactive cat or reduce aggression towards people if this is part of its personality and has nothing to do with sexual stress.


  • No risk of pregnancy
  • Both male and female cats become less stressed
  • Reduces the risk of stress when several cats go together
  • Reduces fights and thereby the spread of serious and deadly diseases such as Cat AIDS. Battle wounds can result in serious infections and abscesses. Diseases such as FIV and FeLV, which cause immunosuppression and AIDS-like syndromes, are spread through cat bites. These incurable diseases tend to be more common in unneutered male cats.
  • Reduces the risk of cancer in the mammary glands, ovaries and uterus. In addition, it reduces inflammation in the uterus and cysts on the ovaries. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in intact (unspayed) female cats. If your cat is spayed before her first heat cycle, there is less chance of developing mammary cancer. With each subsequent heat cycle, the risk of developing breast cancer increases. However, it is believed that after about 2½ years of age, ovariohysterectomy provides no protective benefit against the development of breast cancer.
  • Reduces unwanted behavior such as urine marking (streak), impurity. Unneutered male cats can be very territorial and may use urine to mark the house as 'theirs'. The cat will stop purring and it will calm down more. If the neutering is done too late, a cat can still try to fart, as this has been learned, but without the completely bad smell.
  • Reduces the urge to roam that far from home and thereby also reduces the risk of being run down, as the cat stays closer to the house.
  • Cats with diabetes or epilepsy are neutered to prevent hormonal changes that can interfere with medications.
  • Last but not least, animal shelters are flooded with unwanted kittens and cats, and neutering reduces the number of homeless animals and unnecessary deaths.

When should you neuter your cat?

Cats can be neutered as early as 12 weeks old. If you do not want kittens, it is important to sterilize the female cat before she comes into her first heat, i.e. before the cat is five to six months old. Kittens born early in the year often mature faster than kittens from late litters. Alternatively, you can have the cat neutered when it needs to be vaccinated for the second time at 16 weeks of age and at the same time have it earmarked.

The longer a cat is intact, the greater the negative consequences, such as urine marking, infections and the development of phantom pregnancies, and the less likely that neutering will be able to stop this behavior as it eventually becomes a learned behavior.

At Kattens Værn they neuter at 12 weeks and they recommend that the kitten weighs approx. 2 kg when it is neutralized, as it is the gentlest for the kitten compared to the anaesthetic. But it can be done earlier. They do not recommend that you wait until the cat is older, as you risk pregnancy, urine marking, stress etc.

Should I let my cat have a litter?

cat kitten neuter

It is a common misconception that it is healthy, or nice, to let your cat have a litter. There are no recorded health benefits to a cat from having a litter.
Additionally, cats do not form the same lifelong bonds with their offspring that we do. This means that there is no psychological reason to let your cat have a litter either. In fact, a late neutralization could lead to stress for the cat. This is because, as written before, the longer a cat is intact the greater the negative consequences.

If you choose to give your female cat the opportunity to have kittens, be sure that you have good permanent homes on hand in advance for all the kittens, regardless of how many the mother gets. Then you know where the kittens are going when they are 12 weeks old. And remember to have your female cat sterilized after she gives birth, so you don't end up with a new litter two or three months later.

My cat is an indoor cat - why does it have to be neutered?

Even if the cat does not come out and thus is not at risk of becoming pregnant or getting up and fighting, it is important that it is neutered. If the cat is not neutered, female cats can be in heat almost constantly, which is very stressful for both cat and owner. Some cats become dirty when they are in heat, lose weight, shed a lot and are restless. In addition, the risk of developing cysts on the ovaries is high, which causes pain for the cat and affects its behavior negatively. Male cats will feel stressed about not being able to have the touch as their "body says" it should.

How does neutralization take place?

veterinary neuter cat

  • Male cats: Castration takes place by having the animal's testicles surgically removed through an incision in front of the scrotum. In some cases, the scrotum itself is also removed. If the testicles are not in the scrotum, it is a slightly larger operation. Then they must be surgically removed from either the inguinal canal or the abdominal cavity. The animal is sedated during the operation and in the following days. You submit your animal for surgery in the morning, and pick it up again later the same day.
  • Female cats: Sterilization can take place in several ways. Ovaries and uterus are located in the animal's pelvic cavity, and sterilization is therefore a larger and more complicated intervention than castration. When neutering, the vet can choose to remove only the ovaries, which produce the sex hormone. It is typically on younger animals that this procedure is chosen. In older animals or with diseases of the uterus, both ovaries and uterus are removed. Sterilization is performed through an incision in the midline of the abdomen. The animal is sedated during the operation and in the following days. You submit your animal for surgery in the morning, and pick it up again later the same day.

When you have the cat under anesthesia anyway

It is a good idea to have the cat ear tagged, possibly chipped and subsequently registered. Here in DK you register in the Det Danske Katteregister og Dansk Katteregister. Look up on your countrys register and see how you get your cat registret. Then you are sure that your cat can be helped back home if it should stray away.

What should you do at home after the operation?

Although all surgical procedures can be uncomfortable, recovery after neutralization is usually very quick. In the vast majority of cases, cats are on their feet within a few hours of the procedure. You must ensure peace and warmth on the first day after the operation, when the cat may be more or less affected by the anaesthetic. They may wobble and feel nauseous. So the best is a quiet, not too bright room without stairs or other places where the cat can fall. If you have other cats, they will often be able to sense that the newly operated cat needs peace and quiet, and they will therefore leave it alone. In return, you must ensure that small children, dogs, etc. stays away the first day.
The cat must be given food and water when it has come to its senses. However, only give small portions at first to avoid vomiting. Do not fill the water bowl with too much water, as the cat can drown in the water if it has not fully recovered.
You must check the surgical wound daily and watch for signs of infection (warmth, redness, swelling, pain). Some female cats react slightly to the threads that lie under the skin and which only dissolve after approx. 21 days. This can cause a small firm swelling the size of a Haribo egg, but the cat is unaffected by this, it does not grow and disappears by itself after approx. Three weeks. If it doesn't go away and feels soft, it could be a herniated disc and this should be seen by a vet.
The healing of the outermost scar generally takes about ten days. If you keep the area clean and make sure your cat can't lick the area, the natural healing process will happen as quickly as possible. Cats should be kept indoors while the wound heals. 

Does neutering lead to any negative effects on health or behavior?

After neutering, your cat's caloric needs will decrease. There are many misconceptions about the effects of neutering on health and behavior. Neutered cats are not more likely to become fat or lazy if they are given a proper diet and adequate exercise. With less roaming, fighting and mating activity, calorie intake must be reduced and alternative forms of play and activity offered. If your cat eats the same daily calories before and after neutering, it may start to gain weight. Feeding a diet specially formulated for neutered pets will ensure that your cat stays healthy and slim after neutering.

Behaviors that have evolved independently of hormonal influences such as hunting are not affected. In addition, regardless of the age at which the neutering is performed, castration will not have an effect on physical development (general height and weight, size of the urethra). 

Can I give my female cat birth control pills so she doesn't get pregnant

Yes you can. But we ABSOLUTELY do not recommend it. There are an incredible number of serious side effects with such treatment, such as greatly increased risk of uterine inflammation, malformations in the uterus, cancer of the mammary glands, etc. 

Can I apply for a grant to have my cat spayed or neutered?

low on money

If you have a low income, corresponding to, for example, support or a pension, you can try to apply for help with neutralization here:

Animal Day Committee
Toftebækvej 2
2800 Kgs. Lyngby
Tel. 40 26 60 80 (Tuesday between 11:00 and 14:00)
Email: dyrenesdag@gmail.com
Website: www.dyrenesdags-komite.dk

Jytte and Knud Vagn Thoustrup Nielsen Foundation
v. veterinarian Vibeke Korup
Uhresøvej 23
7500 Holstebro
See more here. 

The last from us this time

There are many myths and beliefs about sterilization of cats that are not supported by facts or research. We always recommend that you have your cat spayed or neutered to help reduce unwanted animals. During my work, at both Dansk Dyreværn Århus and Kattensværn, I unfortunately experienced unwanted cats and kittens coming in every day that had been treated like waste and without respect. If you don't want kittens, do your part to eliminate the possibility by having your cat neutered.
Remember that you can always discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your vet before surgery so that you feel more comfortable with your choice.           -MyPetPassion

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

You may also like