Spaying queens and castrating tom cats are the most common surgical procedures we routinely undertake. There are advantages and disadvantages to both procedures.

Castrating Males

Castration is the removal of the testicles through a relatively small single incision so small that sutures are rarely used. Medical ‘superglue’ is sometimes applied to the incision. The cat goes home later that day with pain control medication to obliterate any post surgical discomfort. Most cats resume their normal routines the next day but don’t let your cat outdoors until a week later, when the wound has completely repaired.

Reasons for castrating male cats are social rather than medical. The neutered male cat population doesn’t live any longer, on average, than the not neutered population. That’s because life-threatening conditions involving the male reproductive organs – malignant cancers or uncontrollable hormonal or microbial conditions – are uncommon. Specifically, malignant testicular or prostate cancers are rare in cats compared to in men. Cats are castrated primarily because we find the smell of un-neutered tom cat urine repellant and we don’t want our cats to spray it in our homes or gardens.

Advantages Of Castration

Castration reduces or eliminates three behaviours; male to male aggression, urine spraying and wandering. A neutered tom cat stays closer to home and is less likely to cross roads.

Disadvantages Of Castration

In one out of every three or four cats, castration alters energy balance enough to lead to weight gain unless the energy level of the diet is reduced. If your cat is castrated we recommend reducing the quantity of food anywhere from 10 to 20 per cent, or switching to a ‘neutered cat’ variety of food.

It’s Your Choice

Whether or not to castrate male cats is as much a cultural decision as it is a medical one. In North America and Northern Europe it’s the norm. In southern Europe it’s less common. Our advice is that male hormone can be beneficial as well as a nuisance. However, the odour it gives to urine (in most but not all tom cats) is offensive to the human nose. Unneutered tom cats roam and the farther they roam the greater the risk of trauma. We recommend that outdoor tom cats are neutered, for their own well being and to control the surplus cat population. We also recommend neutering indoor toms to ensure they are contented living indoors.