Having a Dilemma on Neutering

Coconata

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Hi cat lovers,

Where do I start? I am currently helping to look after a cat in conjunction with a few other folks further down the road from my house. This cat I have been feeding on and off since he was a kitten and I am quite attached to him. But unfortunately, I don't live in my own place and others call the shots here and don't want any cat pets.

So this cat is/was a stray but not really. He has been exposed to me and other humans since he was a kitten and is now about 1.5 years old. Let's call him Jimi.

About some time back, I noticed Jimi started getting sickly, and was sneezing and having a bit of a run down condition, and then....he developed a condition called pillow foot and was bleeding from his paw. At that time, I was not aware that a certain house was feeding him, so I thought he was a stray of sorts who was depending on food handouts from houses around here.

So, I brought Jimi to the vet because his pillow foot was getting serious, and he was limping. They performed surgery on him and he had to stay at the vet for a long time, well over a month.

By the time I brought him back, he didn't recognize his old roaming place and everything was new to him. He was on the defensive and kinda growling when faced with another cat. It so happened on that day, the people from the house who fed him regularly chanced upon him and only then I got to know them. They had already given him up for dead and were joyous to see him alive again. These folks feed other stray cats in that area too, maybe about 5-6 others including a few males.

But since Jimi didn't seem to recognize any other cats and was hostile to everyone, we decided to cage him until he could settle down. I even bought a fairly large cage for him. He started to remember all the humans who took care of him before.....

But a few days ago, Jimi was inadvertently let out, and he promptly ran away and didn't come back for a few days. I went looking for him and found him and brought him home. All along the way he was spraying urine to mark his territory and sniffing the air by opening his mouth.....

Anyway, Jimi is back in the cage now, but I am not sure for how long he needs to be in it. In my area, cars are a major cause of cat deaths, and MANY cats have been killed by cars here, and then there are sometimes some dogs that kill cats, maybe for fun.....(these dogs have killed a kitten before my eyes once and regrettably I was too late to save it).

I am wondering if I should neuter Jimi? Will it make him more homely and less inclined to run or wander away to find a mate or mark new territory?

The thing is, I have reason to believe neutering/spaying cats may make them depressed, especially if done to an adult and/or a stray cat whom no human is going to give attention and love to. Neutering/spaying is probably fine with kittens who have not had a chance to mate yet and won't know any difference. But for adult cats in the prime of life, is it advisable?

I have had a bad experience spaying a female semi-feral cat who was very streetwise and was always getting pregnant in my porch and having endless litters. She loved being a mother and after I spayed her and released her....she still interacted with her daughter (who was grown up by then) from a previous litter.....and I guess she was depressed.

She wasn't the same again after spaying, and then died after getting knocked down by a car, shortly after getting spayed (within 2 months). I suspected she was depressed.

Of course, from a scientific standpoint, there is no way any human would know how she was feeling, and no one can ask her if she was ok being spayed....

But that's just my own experience, and I felt bad for spaying her. It may not happen with other cats though, since cats are such individualistic creatures.

Anyway, what do you all say regarding neutering adult cats who have already mated before? What are your experiences?

I need advice......

Thanks!
 
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Coconata

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To add, I don't think keeping a male cat permanently in a cage is advisable, and likely to be kinda cruel, since he does not seem to like being in the cage, although he has sort of gotten used to being inside one after staying at the vet for so long.......

But if we were to let him out, he would probably run away and get into trouble sooner or later.....

I am considering neutering him to "calm him down", but that is the dilemma I am facing.....
 

Willowy

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I've only seen good results from neutering mature toms. . .after their hormones go out (it can take a few weeks) the other toms don't see them as a threat so they can walk around freely without getting into fights with other toms all the time.

It doesn't fix the car situation though. Do you think there's any way to find a farm home for him? Some areas have a farm cat program. He'd still need to be neutered though.

Can you built him a large enclosure? He may be contented with that, and it would be better for him, considering that pillow foot can recur and he may need further medical attention.
 

Elphaba09

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Spaying and neutering are always the best options. Not only does it calm the desire to roam in males (and females) but it helps them live longer lives without adding more kittens.

I agree with W Willowy that cats are not capable of understanding that they are no longer able to reproduce. Our Evangeline took two years to catch after my son noticed her at his previous place of work. She had been there for at least three years before that. Not being spayed meant that she had several litters of kittens. Most were hit by cars, others were likely eaten by coyotes. Only three were saved over the years. She was spayed two days after we finally caught her. She enjoys being the princess of our house rather than being pregnant and on the street.

Now, they likely will experience fear or anxiety after surgery--as you saw with Jim--because going to the vet and having surgery has a psychological impact on animals. They do not know what is going on and they are in pain afterward. That might manifest in various ways, but it is typically short-lived unless there is an underlying issue.
 
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Coconata

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Thanks for all the replies.

By the way, I am a guy :p and those people living over at the house looking after Jimi are several women housemates who like cats, but are busy working almost all the time. My role is just helping them to take care of Jimi cos as I said, I'm kinda attached to that little guy. I've spent all his vet fees and his cage, etc. Unfortunately, I cannot adopt him unless I get a place of my own, which is probably not likely in these few years.

He is an orange tomcat by the way and he isn't really aggressive towards other cats...... at least, not before going to the vet and being forced to stay there for over a month....

But now that he is back, he feels threatened by all the "new" cats in the neighborhood and I believe he is uncomfortable with the presence of the 5-6 cats that hang around that house. He would rather go far away from them it seems.....

So right now, I've confined him to a cage. The first time, he was let out, last week, he was attacked by some cat and had a deep wound on his leg, Now the latest incident of being let out, he ran away for days and showed no inclination to return. He seemed to like his new found freedom, and was spraying/marking new territory all the way while being led home by me.....luckily I found him.

I did buy a large cage for him, but as I said, keeping him in there permanently is not a good idea. The moment he is let out, he will want to roam far away again.....He wasn't like this before, according to those women, and they told me, he enjoyed spending time in the house indoors and going upstairs to their bedrooms.

I'm not sure what to do to make him feel homely again and accept the other cats and regard his old home as his home.

Neutering him is an option, but that's something I can never undo.
 

IndyJones

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The only reason not to neuter is if you are breeding show quality animals.

Kabby was neutered when he was 2 years old and he is 13 now. He just had a senior panel done and the vet said he is in perfect condition. He has always been a very active boy.

Neutering does not cause depression or behavior problems and it is just two quick incisions. They then cement or stitch them up and they can be released the same day even.

Intact males can develop testicular cancers and prostate cancers. They also contribute to the pet overpopulation so any cats he sires will also reproduce and the cycle continues. Since there is not enough homes these animals often end up dieing on the street, being hit by cars, mistreated by mean people, or killed by predators. It is a vicious cycle.
 

fionasmom

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I have spayed or neutered every cat I could ever get my hands on regardless of age. Of course, tiny kittens have to be old enough, but speaking about adults I have never thought twice about it. I have never noticed any negative difference in behavior with males or females. The males ultimately stop roaming around looking for females and fighting and the females are freed from multiple litters and encounters with toms.
 
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Coconata

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About neutering, some folks have told me their male cats get bullied by the other toms after getting neutered, as they lacked the aggression to fight...

Is this true or common?
 

KittyJ

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About neutering, some folks have told me their male cats get bullied by the other toms after getting neutered, as they lacked the aggression to fight...

Is this true or common?
I don't think so. He shouldn't have any contact with any intact males after being neutered. If this were to ever happen, it would probably be in a home with one or more intact males and a neutered male.
Neutering him is an option, but that's something I can never undo.
I completely understand.
 

niki-nicole

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Where I live, strays are always showing up. One male, super friendly-feral kept trying to chase our cats away. Seemed like he wanted us all to himself. We got him neutered and now he is one of the bunch. They all snuggle together and are happy. Another female had 2 litters before we could catch her. She loved her first batch of babies but let us get close to the second batch when they were really young. Of the 8 babies she had, only 3 are alive now. She disappeared for a few months (chased off by the male mentioned before but after we got her fixed) but she is back now and is not depressed. I'm not sure she recognizes her now-grown babies or that they recognize her. They do seem nicer to her than the new stray, but who knows.

Long story short, Neuter him and any other cat you can catch in that area. It will cut down on problems like this in the future. If you and the other people involved with the strays, maybe you can pool your money or try to work with a local group.
 

Elphaba09

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About neutering, some folks have told me their male cats get bullied by the other toms after getting neutered, as they lacked the aggression to fight...

Is this true or common?
All of our cats are neutered/spayed, and we have neutered/spayed more strays and ferals than I can count at the moment. Neutering takes hormones out of their urine and they spray less often--if at all--which makes them less of a threat to other male cats. In fact, males will fight a great deal more if they are not neutered. We certainly see fewer cat-fight-related injuries in our colony when most of the males are neutered. If people would stop dumping cats, they would all already be neutered and spayed.
 

IndyJones

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About neutering, some folks have told me their male cats get bullied by the other toms after getting neutered, as they lacked the aggression to fight...

Is this true or common?
I've never heard this. If anything neutered cats fight less because they aren't motivated by hormones to start fights in the first place.
 

Willowy

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About neutering, some folks have told me their male cats get bullied by the other toms after getting neutered, as they lacked the aggression to fight...

Is this true or common?
Not that I've noticed. . .I once had the dominant tom in the neighborhood neutered, and after a few months the other toms didn't even look at him anymore, because he wasn't after their ladies :tongue: . I also had a young timid tom done, the older toms were picking on him so he only could sneak in for food when they weren't paying attention, and after a few months he could just strut right down the street to the food dish and they wouldn't bother him at all. Not a threat, why bother, I guess.

Of course cats have their individual personalities and interpersonal relationships, so no guarantees, but things usually get better for a male when he's neutered.
 
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Coconata

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I don't think so. He shouldn't have any contact with any intact males after being neutered. If this were to ever happen, it would probably be in a home with one or more intact males and a neutered male.

I completely understand.
Well currently, in his home, there are 2 or 3 males that show up for food everyday, and a young pregnant cat (not even 1 year old), that might be making Jimi uneasy with their presence.

I did think of spaying that young pregnant cat as well, but her pregnancy looks quite advanced, and it might be dangerous for her, so will probably just help the women in that house to put them up for adoption when the time comes.

But back to Jimi, will neutering lessen his feelings of repugnance at the other cats? And make him stay? That is no guarantee, right?
 

Mr. Meow

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But back to Jimi, will neutering lessen his feelings of repugnance at the other cats? And make him stay? That is no guarantee, right?
Any time you take a cat away from an area or other cats and bring them back, everything and everyone smells different. For cats it's not how they look, but how they smell. Jimi went to the vet, as you mentioned, came back smelling different and the other cats though he is someone new.
Getting him fixed may help in calming everyone down, but that's no guarantee. As far as staying around, cats will stay where there's food, water, shelter and safety...the basics of survival.
 

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To me, the number one issue to solve is the danger for Jimi to be hit by cars.
Neutered or integer does not matter much from this perspective. The risk is still there.
Whether the other cats would accept him or not, that is another story, all resources shall be counted: shelter, food, mating.

Finding a home for Jimi looks like the best solution. In some places are societies that can do that for you, for a small fee (I have read this in another post here on TCS, but I cannot remember where).
 

solomonar

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There is also chemical neutering, which could last for 6-12 months only. Not approved for cats yet, but successfully used by some veterinarians.

It only works once or sometimes twice.

Controversial procedure.
 
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Coconata

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Someone told me that if there is a risk of cats getting some virus called parvo virus if they are not vaccinated before surgery.

And also another virus called feline corona virus....

Which made me pretty scared to hear. Although he said the risk is very low.

So if I am going to neuter Jimi, should I also vaccinate him?

I never thought of these things at all before this.
 
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