I feel bad at neutering my cat

Kosta

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Hello everyone!

Me and my girlfriend have just adopted a beautiful little cat (male) 3 weeks ago. He is around 4 months now, and so there is still plenty of time before the neutering. The vet told us to wait when the pee starts to have a different odour and call immediately to perform the surgery. The cat is allegedly a Bengal and when he saw him the vet told us to wait this pee sign as Bengals need to grow as much as possible, and neutering could interfere with his growth.

This should happen in probably 3/4 months from today.

Still I feel really really bad at doing this, Shiva (the name of our little guy) is a very cute cat and he is really often looking for attention from us, wants to play with us often, he does like cuddle time (but not too much lol), if we already played together and we want a break, he still follows us and start resting near us (for example if I start playing on PC he will start sleeping/resting nearby). He is very vocal and participant in the family life, likes to come out with us with the harness (still he would prefer no harness I believe lol). Sometimes he also likes to be left alone and for example will climb on top of the wardrobe to rest on his own, he has proved himself really intelligent, I was able to teach him his name in just a few attempts, he is the cutest cat and will bring you his toys to play together and so on.
He is really elusive and suspicious with anyone except me and my gf (maybe because he is still a little puppy), it seems he really trusts us, he wants us to pet him on the belly and so on. So I feel like I would take advantage of his trust in order to neuter him.

I feel really, really bad at neutering him as I feel like I would do something terrible to him. I read that many cats will never come back to "normal" after the neutering and this freaks me out. I would hate myself if he would turn from this playful loyal cat to a cat with no will to live. Is this possible?
Is it really this the only way to prevent him from spraying all over the house when he will be adult? Unfortunately he cannot live outside as I'm sure someone will just steal him and also there are other 3 aggressive cats (not against humans but between them lol) living in the building backyard (a small condominium with a backyard where we go walking with him)

Please give me your feedback and your experiences
 

flybear

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all my babies get neutered at 10 weeks ... yes - when they are still babies because ... once they get their first hormones and start marking their territory inside your home and spray pee on walls and chairs ... they might never stop even after neutering. The " growth " theory your vet is bringing up is a very old fashioned view ... they did many studies as far as bone growth goes and such and it is all very inconclusive. Mot un-altered tom cats do not make good pets ... they want to wander /escape to find females , they will get more aggressive and loose the cute kitten attitude ... my boys- all three ... neutered early ... came home after their surgery and started to play the very same day ... acting like nothing happened ( babies have smaller parts , with less blood supply and heal faster). They have not changed their personality either ... if anything ... they became ore cuddly and laid back after their surgery and are wonderful companions. They still love to play and hunt and are not lazy or prone to put on weight. They grew a completely normal amount ( they are large breed cats who will keep on growing) ... my three boys are now 12-14 months old ... and the sweetest love bugs ...According to my local rescue a LOT of male cats get surrendered because of hormonal behavior because they did not get neutered or neutered late!! I would look into neutering sooner rather than later ... some vets do not like to do pediatric surgeries because they simply lack the experience ... contact your local shelter or rescue and ask for references for spay and neuter clinics who do primarily these surgeries ... their surgeons will have a LOT more experience ...
 

KelseyKatz

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Did you neuter him? By your wording it sounds like he's already been neutered?

Let me explain the value of neutering male cats.

When male cats sexually mature, their desire to be a cuddly house cat is not on their priority list. Those sexual urges to roam and find a female to mate with are powerful. Unaltered male cats will be sexually frustrated and try to escape to the outside. Think of when you were a teenager and those hormones were raging. Now think about never fulfilling that desire the rest of your life. Unaltered cats are more aggressive because again, sexual frustration and they will spray.

Once you neuter your cat it'll take a month or so for those hormones to come down and he'll be free to be himself without the hormones telling him to get a girlfriend and make babies. You'll still have the same personality minus all those negatives mentioned.

As regards when to neuter, it is safe to neuter between 4-6 months of age but because of the pandemic I highly recommend booking the appointment in advance because most vets are not available for a month+ out.
 

Kieka

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You actually don't need to wait to neuter and waiting until you notice a change in his pee smell could mean that change is permanent along with any other negative behaviors that develop by then related to him not being neutered. While large dog breeds do need to wait due to growth, cats don't. There have been some studies into is and there is no negative impact to cats health to early neutering. Unless you got your cat from a breeder with papers, it is unlikely he is a Bengal. But even if he was, you can neuter Bengals at 4 to 6 months so if he is 4 months now there isn't a reason to delay. (Edit to add, just saw other post and he does look like Bengal, but still he's old enough that I wouldn't wait more then a month or two, with the waits at most vets right now I would secure an appointment now). Bottom line, neutering won't impact growth. It also doesn't impact urethra width. All it does is reduce cancer risks, reduce chances of hormones driven behaviors that are undesirable, and slightly impact caloric needs (meaning you feed a few calories less once he's an adult). The growth and urethra arguments are outdated arguments.

As an example, my boy was neutered at 8 weeks old and is a healthy 16 pound adult (not overweight, just really long, tall and muscled). If anything, studies have shown early neutering makes long bones grow slightly more for cats since the growth plate closes a little later but at 4 months that change would be negligible. Plus the younger you neuter the quicker your cat will recover from the surgery.

I'm not sure what you mean with they don't come back to normal after neutering. I've never had a cats personality negatively impacted by neutering or spaying. Sometimes people cross behaviors related with simply growing up with those caused by a medical procedure. Kittens are more needy and clingly just by nature. As they grow up and become adults, they do need mom and dad less. They will still come to you for comfort but they are their own creatures. I could see some people saying their cat changed when really their cat just grew up. An un-neutered male cat will want more space (usually) and be more prone to trying to escape to find females then a neutered male.

Going back to my boy. As a baby he was always on me, passing out sound asleep on my arms, legs or lap. He was the most cuddly kitten possible and always active. As an adult he is still active but he grew up. He doesn't want my attention all the time and rarely goes on a lap. But he still wants to be near me and will accept pats. When he's scared though? He runs right to "mom" and wants cuddles. It's not that he doesn't love me or he changed, he grew up. We still have a great bond and he is my baby boy, but he has his own boundaries I respect because he is his own self. There is trust and respect and that bond I value more then just him laying on my lap.

As to the betraying concept. That's a human concept. Your boy doesn't have a concept of manliness, gender driven behaviors or even value on his reproductive capabilities. It doesn't impact his sense of self to be neutered. What impacts him is if you provide a home, food and care. When you get him neutered it will simply be you took him to the vet, he went to sleep, he woke up and was a little sore, and life moves on.
 
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goingpostal

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Your kitty will be the same as ever after a neuter and you can get him fixed at any time now, I personally wouldn't wait because if they start spraying, often they don't stop, it's much easier to prevent a bad behavior from happening than deal with the fallout of it. He'll be groggy and sore for a day or two and back to his lovey needy self.
 

Tik cat's mum

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I have two boy's both of them neutered. The oldest was done at 4 months. The younger one was 6 months only because he was dealing with other problems and I didn't want him anaethtized until he was fit. It didn't change a thing they are both still themselves. And they wanted to play as soon as they were brought home. That for me was the hardest trying to get them not to bounce off the walls. It has had no negative effect on either of them.
 

di and bob

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No, I don't feel bad about neutering at all. In fact, it gives them a much BETTER life. I have both outside unneutered toms and inside neutered boys. The difference in their lives is startling. The unneutered are always restless, always on the hunt for an available female, and are constantly getting into fights to claim one. If you saw the horrific wounds that I have you would not hesitate at all. Ears were torn off, missing eyes, skin flapping because of terrible fights, bleeding for weeks. And then the abscesses! They are too miserable and restless to keep indoors at all. They aLWAYS start spraying and the smell of their urine is horrible. They also often become aggressive. The neutered boys are happy, calm, and loving. I have NEVER, in having over 50 cats neutered/spayed had them permanently change into something different than they are. If they are playful, loving, etc. before the neuter, they are after. They may be a little spooked from going to the vet, but quickly settle down, no more than a normal vet visit. In fact, the males come back acting perfectly normal after they get over the initial sedation, with no signs of pain or ANYTHING. The females may have a little harder time, theirs is a bigger surgery and they may experience a little pain and stiffness. The males eat right way, the females may refuse food for a few days. I would not hesitate at all with neutering because I have seen for myself how much better it makes their lives......
 

bear

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First, let me help with this feeling.
"Still I feel really really bad at doing this,"
Through the years I have helped one way or another many pets become neutered to become better pets for their family.
I can assure you, your stuff is not going to shrivel up and fall off for helping this young boy kitty.

I fostered an early (2000) Bengal who was altered later in life when he was about two years old. He was three at the time I fostered him, and his spraying behavior was a problem with him. That and other behavioral problems was why he had been turned over to a rescue. I would not consider a Bengal unless they were altered before they left their original breeder.

I normally neutered or spayed my rescued kittens at 7 to 10 weeks of age. I never lost one. There is the smallest of chance that you could lose them in the process. Usually this would be from an underlying health problem being accentuated by the procedure. Of the 1,000 plus the Rescue I volunteered with had prepubescent altering, I think we lost three and those had significant other problems, include separated from mom and being on their own 3 days of their first week of life. For my personal rescues, and by California law, all California Shelter and Non Profit Rescues the kittens must be altered before being placed with a family. I wanted to assure myself that the kittens recovered well after the surgery. I wanted to assure the new home that this health step was completed and that most minor risk of loss was removed as they started a long life with the kittens.

I have had two purebred cats. They were altered before coming to live with me.

You mentioned that you paid 60% of a purebred price for your very cute kitten. The breeders that I know would have included altering for pet quality (non registered) kittens. I'm not sure your savings are really there.

I am communicating with a respected breeder about obtaining a 7 year old former queen. The breeder schedules the altering before she begins looking to find a home for this purebred.

Would your purchase contact related to health be better if the kitten's original family had him neutered?
 
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bear

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Kosta said: "Vet told us to wait this pee sign as Bengals need to grow as much as possible, and neutering could interfere with his growth."

As a mix, Bengals are primarily domestic cats.

In domestic cats early spay and neutering can make the cat a little bit taller and longer. This has to do with hormones in unaltered cats shutting down their bone growth plates earlier.

There is another difference that I will add a couple images to show. The jowls of an intact tomcat can become large to help protect them in a fight. The cat below was pulled as the stud from a feral colony at about three years of age. He was altered a couple days before the first image and you can really see the fat jowls. You can see that they shrink after neutering.
3 years of age two days after being altered. 2nd image 6 years of age (3 years post neuter) and then 13 years of age (8 years post alter)
 

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Willowy

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Trust me, you won't feel bad about neutering him if you wait until he's a full tom ;). I have a boy that I put off neutering until he was 15 months old (last year, COVID and all, idk, just didn't get around to it), and I was about ready to yeet him through the nearest window, lol (this is a joke/figure of speech; do not be mean to cats). He was bitey and starting to spray and picking on the (spayed) girl cats, just being an all-around over-testosteroned jerk. He improved greatly after being neutered, BUT if you wait until the behaviors start there's a chance they'll become a habit and he won't improve. So it's better to neuter him before the tomcat behaviors start, 6-8 months old at the latest. 4-5 months old would be ideal.

It's for his sake too. You don't want him to be sexually frustrated all the time.
 
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Kflowers

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Our boys were capable at 9 months and proved it by becoming fathers. Please note, Tom cat spray can knock you flat. It gets stronger every day, well, every week, and the smell is hard to get rid of no matter what they spray. They are happy to spray anything, but particularly anything another male of any species, that includes you, has touched. This means your bed is fair game to them, also your sofa.
 

daftcat75

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Getting him neutered will not remove his will to live. You like this cat because he's sweet and cuddly and a participating member of the family. He will become more cuddly and sweet when he is not distracted by hormones. If you wait until the pee changes smell, that smelly pee may be on your bed. And once they start spraying, there's no guarantee that neutering them will stop the behavior. You're going to like this cat a whole lot less when he's spraying, yowling, and trying to get out all the time.

I have never heard of a cat losing his will to live after a neutering. Male cats tend to become more friendly and cuddly. Female cats become more relaxed as they aren't going into heat. Sterilization is the best thing you can do to keep this cat friendly and happy and your home sane and free of smelly pee spray.

I would not wait. Make the appointment as soon as you can. Vets are already backed up. It's only going to get worse as the delta variant of covid is sure to cause a new round of restrictions and lockdowns. 🤦‍♂️
 

StefanZ

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Hello everyone!

Me and my girlfriend have just adopted a beautiful little cat (male) 3 weeks ago. He is around 4 months now, and so there is still plenty of time before the neutering. The vet told us to wait when the pee starts to have a different odour and call immediately to perform the surgery. The cat is allegedly a Bengal and when he saw him the vet told us to wait this pee sign as Bengals need to grow as much as possible, and neutering could interfere with his growth.

This should happen in probably 3/4 months from today.

Still I feel really really bad at doing this, Shiva (the name of our little guy) is a very cute cat and he is really often looking for attention from us, wants to play with us often, he does like cuddle time (but not too much lol), if we already played together and we want a break, he still follows us and start resting near us (for example if I start playing on PC he will start sleeping/resting nearby). He is very vocal and participant in the family life, likes to come out with us with the harness (still he would prefer no harness I believe lol). Sometimes he also likes to be left alone and for example will climb on top of the wardrobe to rest on his own, he has proved himself really intelligent, I was able to teach him his name in just a few attempts, he is the cutest cat and will bring you his toys to play together and so on.
He is really elusive and suspicious with anyone except me and my gf (maybe because he is still a little puppy), it seems he really trusts us, he wants us to pet him on the belly and so on. So I feel like I would take advantage of his trust in order to neuter him.

I feel really, really bad at neutering him as I feel like I would do something terrible to him. I read that many cats will never come back to "normal" after the neutering and this freaks me out. I would hate myself if he would turn from this playful loyal cat to a cat with no will to live. Is this possible?
Is it really this the only way to prevent him from spraying all over the house when he will be adult? Unfortunately he cannot live outside as I'm sure someone will just steal him and also there are other 3 aggressive cats (not against humans but between them lol) living in the building backyard (a small condominium with a backyard where we go walking with him)

Please give me your feedback and your experiences
I suppose your vet is old fashioned, and wants them to mature physically. So is often is Sweden too.
In USA and many other countries the neutering is done as standard much earlier than this, often on young kittens. None known negative consequences there!

Bengals are renown for being sprayers... Read: early sprayers.

The question to neuter or not yet, could be real, if you wanted to use your boy as a stud. In Sweden we often use young healthy males of good standard for stud service for a couple of litters, before they are neutered. We do often use "free swords", even breeders whom do have access to own stud.
But you arent, so its mostly a psychological question.

I can relate to this, and I have the answers from own experience.
We were owners of several males, whom were supposed to be working studs (and were). Our residents were and are Russian Blue.

And yeah, especielly with the first one, I had this strong feeling, he was a good boy, wellbehaving, begging to not become neutered... I know other owners of male cats in my residents breed (russian blue) had a similiar feeling.

Now, as he WAS a stud to come, this was no real dilemma. He did his work. Even if he wailed after a wife, and went worried and somewhat depressed after the wife left him.... (yeah, he usually become good friend with his wives)

He didnt spray for a very long time.... But when he was fully grown, 18 months, he began to spray; or rather, to pee in wrong places.... Not so fun as he was our family cat, living in the family flat...
After a while, when he visibly didnt felt good, we did neutered him, although we had proposals for new matings...

In a week, he ceased to pee, his feelings got better, he ceased to be aggressive to his son, the new stud...
He become a harmonious castrate. NOW he began to walk around with the tail happily raised up.... And began to happily play again.
Peculiarly enough, he continued to be the dominant male, to be the revire holder and protector of the house....

His son, the new stud, was much more OK with his manliness. Perhaps because his father took care of the protector and guarding bit...
But he too was visibly relieved when he did become neutered after his term of service was done....


After them, we have now their grandchildrenx5.
One of them a working stud, the other mostly a companion.
The history essentially repeated itself...

They were more or less OK with their manliness, but both were visibly relieved and become much more at ease after the neutering...

So, as the others said: This with awkward feeling its our human problem. The cats dont feel this. They become just relieved they dont have
any more these tensions, these urges, this need to spray and fight...

Usually they become even more friendlier and happy. Plays happily again, as if they were kittens anew.


Ps. And re neutering ferale toms and TNR. Once upon a time it was thought toms needed to be intact, to manage and hold their own against other toms. Practice shows, its OK to neuter toms. The neuters manage just fine. 1. They arent attacked in the same way by dominant toms. 2. Now, being neuters, they are accepted into the colonies of females and their kittens... 3. Its easier for spontan adopters.... :) 4. And, being less of a nuisance, they become less of a target for hostile humans.
 
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Neko-chan's mama

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Every pet I've had became a better companion after being spayed or neutered. Neko-chan was spayed at 4.5 months and remained playful and adventurous, but also became way more affectionate, seeking out a warm lap and cuddling. We've never had issued with door dashing or the litter box, even when we moved. She continued to grow after the spay and is a long, lean girl of 2.
 

Kflowers

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Just a word of caution, if your cat is a Bengal and if he escapes to look for a mate, there is a good chance he will fight with the neighbor cats (10 mile radius) and he will injure them badly. If the neighbors track him back to you, they may well complain and you would be forced to keep him inside, no questions and be in legal trouble whenever he got out later.

In some the love to fight, once triggered, does not go away. I've known of some large males who have not only killed other cats, but small dogs. It does not make you friends in the neighborhood.
 
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Kosta

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Thanks to everyone that has replied to this post, I've read every single sentence here and for sure you made me feel better. I've understood that actually neutering is a plus for the cat health. I've deepened your points on some medical sites and sexual frustration may indeed bring a ton of different health issues related to this stress condition. Not talking about the possibility of the cat freaking out, going out and fight with all the related dangers.

Here in Italy the standard is to neuter kittens before puberty, so in any case if you buy a cat, purebreed or not, at his 3 months age, he/she will not be neutered. Actually you sign a binding contract with the breeder with the obligation of neutering in order to not take advantage of his bloodline. And you will neuter at your own expenses. In any case is something pretty inexpensive, around 100 EUR (120 USD) for the male, I believe a little more for females.

Tomorrow we will be at the vet in order to have the monthly anti-ticks threatment, I will be able to speak with him and learn even more. This is the first time we go to this vet, he is a "one-man company", but it seems he is a real expert with really good feedbacks. I hope to have a genuine and complete explanation from him on the best time to neuter for the cat health. (we went to a multi-vets clynic before for diarrhea/vomit of my little boy, but not to this vet which has been suggested to us).

You sure gave me a ton of points to think about, and more questions for the vet.

Thanks again, this forum is gold!
 

Norachan

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K Kosta I'm so glad that we could put your mind at ease.

I would suggest getting your cat neutered within the next month. Once the smell of their pee starts to change it means they have reached sexual maturity and this brings a whole host of problems. One male cat I have changed from a sweet kitten to a yowling, spaying pee machine virtually over night. He sprayed the entire house! I had a neuter appointment for him, but in the two weeks between him starting to spray and the surgery he made the house stink and scruffed his brother so aggressively that the other cat needed stitches in the back of his neck.

It took me ages to get the smell of tom cat pee out of everything. I ended up throwing away a few blankets and futons because there was no saving them. He also continued to spray for 3 to 4 weeks after his neuter surgery, which made cleaning up after him even more difficult..

He's a sweet, adorable boy now, I don't regret getting him fixed at all.
 
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