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Cat Neutering Procedure: How Does It Work?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Neutering your cat has many benefits, namely, helping pet overpopulation — homeless cats and pet overpopulation are massive problems in the United States and around the world, and neutering your male will help prevent him from breeding with any females in the area and having unwanted litters. There are also several other benefits, though, including a calmer, more docile cat, and he will no longer feel the need to go out in search of females in heat, reducing the risk of getting lost or injured.

In this article, we’ll look at how the neutering process works, what to expect, and what recovery will look like for your feline. Let’s get started!

How Old Should Your Cat Be To Get Neutered?

In general, most vets recommend neutering a male cat around 5 months old — around the same time as females are spayed. This is because both males and females can reach sexual maturity at roughly 6 months old, at which point they are able to reproduce. Breeding at such an early age is potentially dangerous for cats, so prevention from this as early as possible is the best course of action.

Also, a younger cat is able to handle and recover from the surgery much faster than an adult or senior. While neutering is a fairly simple surgery — certainly simpler and less invasive than spaying — the quicker you male can get back to normal, the better.

What Will Neutering Look Like?

neutering cat
image credit: Henk Vrieselaar, Shutterstock

As with spaying, neutering is done under general anesthesia, with your cat fully asleep. Your vet will usually run blood tests to make sure anesthesia is safe for your cat, and then they are given a sedative. The anesthesia is then administered, after which his scrotum will be either plucked or shaved, and the skin cleaned with a sterile solution.

Neutering a cat is also referred to as castration, as both testicles are completely removed. This is done via very small incisions on the scrotum, through which the testicles are removed. The testicles are pulled through the scrotum, and each testicle is removed from the attachments with either a laser or scalpel. After making sure there is no bleeding, the vet then places the attachments back inside the scrotum, and the incisions are usually glued shut with surgical glue. Because the cuts are so small, the cut is often left open to heal on its own — stitches are often not necessary but are sometimes used.

With male cats, the surgery is simple and fast, and can be over within 2–5 minutes! Your cat will be able to come home the same day of the surgery, typically within an hour or two after the procedure once the vet has made sure he’s fine.

How Does Recovery Look?

Most cats feel minimal pain after the procedure and are given pain medication to manage any pain. They are usually back to their normal selves within 5–7 days, however, it’s important to control your cat’s activity carefully in the first few days after surgery. Excessive activity can cause swelling and even open up the incision, leaving it vulnerable to infection. Your vet will give you detailed post-surgical instructions which you must follow carefully.

a cat after neutering with elizabeth collar
Image Credit: Koiee, Shutterstock

Risks and Possible Complications

Neutering is such a quick and simple surgery that complications are very rare. That said, there can be some post-surgical pain, and excessive bleeding is a risk, causing the scrotum to fill up with blood. In this case, it’s important to get your cat back to the vet as soon as possible. Anesthesia is always a risk, although blood tests before the surgery should prevent any complications.

Obesity is fairly common after neutering due to lower activity levels and decreased metabolism. You’ll need to monitor feeding carefully, and make sure your cat gets sufficient exercise.


Neutering is a relatively quick and simple procedure, and most cats are back to normal within a week or so. Contrary to popular belief, neutering will not change your cat’s character in any way, although they may be slightly more docile and less energetic than before. Neutering is a safe procedure with very little risk involved, and the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Featured Image Credit: Sannikova Maria, Shutterstock

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