Kitten just started spraying--is it too late for neutering to stop?

catcafé@home

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I think my 5.5mo (unneutered) male kitten started spraying yesterday. I thought the smell was from a thing I did to clean the drain wafting around, but today I noticed him digging in a chair and smelled it and it had that same smell. Can neutering still stop this or will he do this forever now?

I'm really stressed because I don't think I'll be able to keep him if we can't stop him from doing this. I've been trying to get ahold of any low-cost neutering services in our area for at least a month now, but so many places in our county won't service our area, and often have taken a really long time to get back to us to say that. I'm currently waiting on hearing from what I'm pretty sure is the only low-cost place that works in our area and I have no idea how long it will take for them to respond to our application. This has been so hard to do because my girlfriend and I both have ADHD, which has made the runaround of "we don't work in your area, try these other places [that also don't]" even harder, and I've been stressing out this whole time that we wouldn't be able to find a place in time before he started spraying. If the spraying doesn't stop after he's neutered, will any shelters even take him? I don't expect it's easy to adopt out a cat who pees everywhere. I just hope he'll still be able to be safe; coyotes are rampant in our area, so it's not safe to be an indoor/outdoor or outdoor cat here.
 

Norachan

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Yes, getting him neutered now will make a big difference.

I took in a lot of feral kittens once, many years ago, and I could only afford to get one cat fixed a month. I got all the girls spayed first so some of the boys were 8 months old before I could get them neutered.

Once a cat has started spraying the habit won't stop overnight but:

Getting them neutered will mean the testosterone decreases over the next 30 days. This means the urge to spray decreases and the pungent smell we associate with tom cats decreases too.

It will mean he doesn't develop other tom cat behaviors, such as turning into an escape artist, yowling, fighting with other cats or disappearing for days on end while he looks for a mate.

It will protect him from fatal infectious diseases such as FeLV or FIV.

One of the cats I had neutered late still occasionally sprays now, ten years later, but it's not the constant territorial spraying intact toms do. He only does it if something stresses him out, like one of the neighbours dogs gets loose or the raccoons come too close to the house.

Use a good enzyme cleaner to get rid of the smell of pee wherever your boy has sprayed. A black light will show up any remaining pee spots. Once the smell has gone he'll start to forget about spraying there again
 

Caspers Human

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We got our youngest cat neutered at 12 months. It took a month or so for his hormone levels to come down but his behavior has been good, ever since.

Ever since I can remember, six months has been the age when people say that you're "supposed to" neuter your cat. Nowadays, they say you can neuter a cat as early as two months. Even if you neuter a cat after a year it's still beneficial.

The age to neuter a cat is open ended. You can do it any time after, say three months. The longer a cat goes without being neutered, the more he goes out looking for girlfriends and the more he marks his territory, the more ingrained the behavior will become and the harder it will be to stop.

Since your guy is just going on six months, I'd say you're right at the "prime" age.

Don't worry so much if he sprays once or twice. It's just the hormones talking. Get him snipped ASAP and you shouldn't have any problems.

As to cost:

Here, in Pennsyltucky, it cost us about $125 to get our cat neutered. That's about average for this area.
However, you should call around because every vet will charge different prices. Also call your local Humane Society or animal shelter to find out if they have any special low-cost neutering programs. Humane Societies and animal shelters often sponsor programs like that because the money spent benefits them in the long run. If they spend a few dollars, now, to help people get their cats fixed, they will spend less money later when they don't have to take care of a bunch of homeless cats.

Are there any private or non-profit cat rescue groups in your area? Call around to find out where they get their cats neutered. They would be what you might consider a "volume customer." If they have arrangements with a local vet for low-cost neutering, you might be able to take your cat there. Again, a non-profit would have a vested interest in recommending you to their vet for the same reason. The more cats they can "sponsor," the fewer they'll have to take care of.

T.N.R. (Trap-Neuter-Release) groups are another place to look. They, too, have a vested interest in keeping the cat population under control.

Another place to look is your local, county or city government. They often give subsidies to low-income pet owners for various reasons.
We got both our cats microchipped for less than $50.00 because our county offers subsidies to promote chipping. I know that our county also has a voucher program for neutering. People can apply for assistance, just like they would for Food Stamps or Unemployment Compensation and, if they qualify, they'll pay part or all of the cost to get a cat neutered.

If it was me, I'd start by calling the local Humane Society. If they don't have their own program, they'll know whether there are any government programs or other agencies that can help.

Good to hear that you're getting your cat neutered! :D
It's the smart thing to do! :salute:
Both you and your cat will be better off! :thumbsup:
 

Mamanyt1953

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The sooner he is neutered now, the better. And he is stiII young enough that it isn't yet a habit, so the chances are good that it wiII taper off and die out. And, if aII eIse faiIs, stud pants wiII take care of the situation! That's what they are made for!
 
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catcafé@home

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Thank you all for the responses! I'm less worried now, but it will be stressful for a while, until we can hear back on scheduling an appointment.

I'll be getting a blacklight soon. The enzymatic cleaner I picked up is really strongly fragranced, so that's been its own problem. Do you guys have any brands to recommend that are either unscented or whose scent disappears once dry? I thought all Nature's Miracle products would do that, but the urine-specific one definitely doesn't.

We have kept him in the bathroom since last night since that will be easier to clean than the carpet/upholstery. He's really bored and lonely, unfortunately, and doesn't seem to eat if he's alone. I swear he has learned how to shout "hello!" over the last twelve hours. I also noticed just now that his butt looks irritated, so I think he's been stress-grooming. I was hoping he would handle it a little better since he spent his first two weeks in the bathroom for quarantine anyway, but he's gotten used to being out and is attached to the more motherly of our other two cats. (They're both long since spayed from when we were doing better financially, fortunately.) We have a leash and harness that I might try clicker training him for so he can have supervised time out of the bathroom without a chase every time he needs to be put back in. He loves being held but has always ran from being picked up.

There are a lot of "county" programs and vouchers that actually only apply to the city or those closer to it. The most local humane society seems to be the only one offering a low-cost option that applies to us. There are a lot of TNR and community cat groups as well but they seem to be pretty overwhelmed by the local population, because they all emphasize that they only sterilize ferals and community cats, and even programs that used to do both have had to switch to no longer accepting owned cats. I'm glad it sounds like the burden isn't that heavy everywhere.

This might be a bit related upon consideration: He's never bunted to my knowledge, despite having both the scent and sight of the action from two cats modelling it for him. I'm a bit concerned he's more likely to retain urine marking, since I don't think he scent marks with his face. I'd also like to have the cue of whether he's interested in pets at a given time, but perhaps this is for a different thread anyway.
 

Norachan

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Is there a big difference in cost between the cost of getting him neutered at your closest Humane Society and a local vet? A lot of vets will do a package where they vaccinate, blood test and neuter. Once he's on their books it will make things easier in the future when he needs to go for his annual shots or needs any other vet care.

If you think about the cost of enzyme cleaners and a black light, as well as the extra stress of keeping him locked up, taking him to the vet might be a better option.

I quite like the smell of Fizzion enzyme cleaner. It's not a strong as Nature's Miracle.

Pet Stain Remover | Pet Cleaner - Best Pet Stain Cleaning Products
 

xlynnbbyx

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Yes getting him neutered will indeed stop his spraying. Scooter was neutered at 6 months although he never sprayed. Casper however decided a couple of weeks before he was to be neutered in February of this year he was going to spray. He was 8 months old then. I went through the shelter that has a spaying/neutering program for low cost. But sadly I had to go by the appointment given me I couldn’t move it up or anything. So for 2 weeks I dealt with him spraying. But soon after he was neutered he stopped spraying. It’s been 7 months and he hasn’t sprayed once. Just remember after he is neutered it takes about a month for all the testosterone level down. But either way he will stop spraying if you get him neutered now.

For anywhere he has sprayed get a good pet stain & odor remover that has enzyme cleaner in it to clean where he has sprayed. My favorite is this one:
Simple Solution Stain and Odor Remover

Also you can get a spray bottle mix a little bit of vinegar with water and spray where he has sprayed after you had clean the area. This will deter him from going in that spot again cats hate the smell of vinegar.
 
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