What is castration?
The operation involves surgical removal of both testicles via two small incisions in your cat’s scrotal sacs. It is a straightforward operation performed under general anaesthesia. Your cat will be admitted as a ‘day patient’ and following a pre-operative check by your veterinary surgeon, he will be given a pre-medication and analgesic (pain killing) injection prior to his general anaesthetic. After surgery and following his recovery from the anaesthetic he will be ready to go home later the same day. You will be given full discharge instructions on how best to care for your cat after surgery. We usually don’t need to recheck your cat after castration unless you have any concerns. There aren’t any sutures to worry about and the wounds heal over very quickly as long as there is no interference with the area!
What are the advantages of castration?
Castration has a number of advantages especially if performed between 4-6 months of age.
Unwanted kittens– Most obviously castration prevents unwanted litters. There are thousands of unwanted kittens and cats that need homes due to irresponsible owners who do not neuter their cats.
Behavioural problems– Unneutered male cats or ‘tom cats’ can also develop a number of unwanted characteristics. For example they may become territorial and start spraying urine to mark areas, often in the house. By puberty their urine has often developed a very strong smell and is extremely difficult to remove. If they are allowed to venture outside they will start to stray further from home and come into contact with other cats. This is likely to lead to cat fights which result in wounds which can become infected and abscessed. Unneutered males also tend to be prone to being involved in road traffic accidents especially at night as they are out and about marking their territory and looking for females.
Medical-Normally cats have two testicles present in their scrotal sac by the time they are neutered but it is not uncommon to have retained testicles (cryptorchidism). This is a condition where by one or both of the testicles have failed to move into the scrotum and are still in your cat’s groin or abdomen. When the testicles are retained they are at a higher temperature than in the scrotum. This leads to infertility and an increased likelihood of the testicle becoming cancerous. Removal of the testicle(s) is therefore still recommended but the operation may be a bit more complicated as the abdomen may need to be entered.
Are there any disadvantages?
The operation carries a small risk associated with general anaesthesia. Your cat will be assessed prior to surgery to ensure he is fit and well for the procedure, and full instructions will be given when he goes home to minimise the chances of a problem occurring with the wound.
It is a common fallacy that a neutered cat will become fat and lazy. They may have a decreased activity level following neutering, which in turn causes weight gain IF your cat continues to be fed the same amount of food as before they were neutered. Neutered pets can require up to a 30% reduction in their feeding requirements. This is due to no longer utilising energy in to reproduction.This extra energy may then be stored as excess body fat instead.
After your cat is neutered, we recommend moving him onto a neutered cat food. Royal Canin have developed a competitively priced, veterinary exclusive pet food which is high in protein and low in fat to help combat against any weight gain. Your veterinary nurse will be able to advise you on the best feeding regime for your cat.
Royal Canin also have an S/O Index with their food which is an abbreviation for struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. The S/O Index indicates that the food helps provide a urinary environment unfavourable to the development of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals.
These are crystals which can form in your cat’s urine creating urinary problems. The crystals can eventually cause a ‘plug’ or blockage in your male cat’s urethra. It only takes a few crystals to block as the urethra is very narrow and only has a small opening. This is a potentially fatal condition and will result in death if your cat is not treated due to the urinary toxins building up in the system. This will cause kidney failure in a matter of days or their bladder will eventually burst.
Click on the video below to find out more about why you should neuter your cat.