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Male Cat Before & After Neutering: Behavior & Recovery

If you've recently adopted a cat, it's crucial to schedule preventive care appointments and consider neutering, if necessary. Our veterinarians in San Diego offer tips on pre-and post-operative care, as well as monitoring your cat's recovery

Neutering Your Male Cat

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), it is estimated that a million cats enter animal shelters in the US every year. Neutering your cat is the most effective way to reduce the number of unwanted cats in the San Diego area shelters. Apart from controlling the population, neutering your kitten can also help prevent undesirable cat behaviors and reduce the risk of your cat developing various serious health conditions.

Why We Recommend Neutering Male Cats

Some cat owners might hesitate to get their cats spayed or neutered, particularly when it comes to indoor cats. However, there are several compelling reasons why it's important to have your cat sterilized, regardless of whether they spend most of their time indoors or outdoors:

  • May Protect Against Disease - Neutering male cats eliminates the chances of testicular cancer and lowers the risk of prostate problems. Generally, sterilized cats live healthier, longer, and happier lives.
  • Often Curbs Undesirable Behaviors - Sterilized cats will be less likely to roam, yowl, wail, bite, display aggressive behavior, or spray or mark their territory. Intact males often escape to find females, putting them at risk of injury or fights with other males. Roaming can also expose your cat to dangerous diseases, including feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.
  • Fight Overpopulation - There are an estimated 60 to 100 million homeless cats living in the U.S. Neutering your male cat can help control the cat overpopulation crisis.
  • Can Be More Cost-Effective - Treating cancers of the reproductive system, caring for newborn kittens, and veterinary care for injuries sustained through cat fights can be costly. Neutering can help reduce these costs.
  • A More Contented Cat -Fixed cats live longer because they are less likely to wander away from home, become involved in road accidents, or fight with other male cats. 

What To Expect With Your Cat's Neutering Surgery

It is normal to feel anxious before and after your cat's surgery. However, being aware of how to take care of your cat properly can help your cat recover faster.  Your veterinarian will provide you with detailed instructions on how to take care of your cat after surgery and what to do during the recovery period. It is essential to follow these instructions carefully. If you are unsure about any of the steps, it is best to follow up with your vet for clarification. Don't hesitate to call your vet if you forget any aspect of your cat's aftercare after you return home.

Getting Over the Effects of General Anesthetic

We use general anesthetics during our surgical procedures in order to render your cat unconscious and to prevent them from feeling any pain during the operation. However, it can take some time for the effects to wear off after the procedure is completed. Effects of general anesthetic may include temporary sleepiness or shakiness on their feet. These after-effects are quite normal and should fade with rest. A temporary lack of appetite is also quite common in cats who are recovering from the effects of general anesthesia.

Recovery After Your Cat's Neutering Surgery

When a male cat is neutered, the testicles are removed to prevent sperm production, which means they won't be able to father kittens anymore. After the surgery, your pet will require some extra care and attention to ensure a smooth recovery.

Incision Site

It's crucial to prevent your cat from licking or chewing at its incision site after surgery. Your veterinarian may suggest using an e-collar or a recovery suit (surgical onesie) to prevent your cat from accessing the area. Male cats will have two incisions, one on each side of the scrotum. It's essential to check your cat's incision site every day. There should be no indications of redness or oozing, and the swelling should be minimal. In some cases, males may still appear to have testicles due to swelling. This is normal and should gradually decrease throughout the recovery period. If you notice any signs of infection, contact your veterinarian for further instructions.


Your cat will most likely have internal absorbable sutures, while the outer layer of skin will be held together with water-soluble surgical glue. It's important not to wash the area or apply any ointments. You should follow the post-operative instructions provided by your vet. If your cat has external sutures or staples, they will need to be removed at the end of the recovery period. To ensure everything goes smoothly, it's a good idea to book your pet's follow-up appointment when you pick them up on surgery day.


Each cat has a unique personality, and some may be more energetic than others. However, after surgery, it is crucial to limit your cat's physical activity for about 14 days. Engaging in stretching or strenuous activities could cause the wound to open, interrupting the healing process, and potentially leading to infection. Therefore, your cat should not run, jump, or play, and it is important to keep them indoors during the recovery period. Additionally, bathing is not permitted during these 14 days.


During the surgical process, your animal will be given general anesthesia. When your cat wakes up after the surgery, they may feel a bit nauseous and sluggish due to the after-effects of general anesthesia. However, your male cat's appetite should gradually return to normal about 24 hours after the surgery. It is recommended to start with smaller portions at first before offering full meals. If your cat is still lethargic or experiences symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea after 24 hours, it is important to contact your vet immediately.

Signs of Potential Complications

While neutering surgery is generally safe, rare side effects and complications may occur. It is important to monitor closely for any symptoms that may arise.

  • Lethargy more than 24 hours post-op
  • Discharge or bleeding from the incision site
  • Pale gums
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Trouble urinating
  • Heavy breathing, panting
  • Open incision site
  • Cat sitting or laying in an unusual position
  • Restless behavior
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Constant or repeated whining
  • Relentless attempts to lick or chew incision site
  • Hiding or other unusual behavior

How long for a male cat to recover from neutering?

Every cat is unique, and the time it takes to recover from surgery depends on various factors, such as its age, size, and overall health. Typically, after two weeks of rest, your cat should be able to return to their regular activities. However, your veterinarian may suggest scheduling a follow-up appointment before engaging in strenuous activities. It's essential to follow the post-operation instructions provided by your vet, and if your cat takes longer than expected to recover, contact your veterinary clinic right away.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is it time for your male cat to be neutered? Book an appointment with our San Diego vets at San Diego Bay Animal Hospital today.

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San Diego Bay Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of San Diego companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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