Neutering Cats - Whats Involved In the Surgery

Neutering cats is an important part f pet ownership, but sometimes the worry of the surgery can put some people off.

So I decided to try and help those worried about the operation before they go to see the vets for the first time. I always say knowledge is king and it really does stop fears and concerns with this surgery. I hope that after you read this page you will feel assured and ready to put into practice this so important part of cat care.

Lets start with some basic terms

Spay - the term used when used for a female animal. The operation removes the ovaries and uterus and so prevents pregnancy from happening.

Neuter (also known as castration) - used for a male animal. The surgery removes the testicle.

Queen - Female pregnant cats are known as this.

Tom - A male cat which is still able to reproduce.

Is Neutering or Spaying A Major Operation?

These operations are carried out every day in their thousands and every vet will have completed many during their working career.

In general the female spay operation is more intrusive that the male neuter. This is because neutering does not involve having to open the body of the cat up to remove the testicles, meaning that the cat is under aesthetic for a shorter period of time.

Pre-Surgery Blood Work 

Some vets ask clients if they would like some pre blood work to be carried out before the operation. This is optional and of course does incur a further cost.

The reason why you may want this to be carried out is because the blood tests can assess your cats overall health, such as kidney and liver function, which could cause problems during anaesthesia. If there are issues with the kidneys or liver than the vet is able to choose the right anaesthesia to suit your pets needs.

Your vet will be able to advise you further if you need some more advice regarding this if you are unsure of whether or not you want the pre op blood work to be done.

The Surgery?

Many of you may not be interested in how the surgery is actually carried out, but I know some may be curious. Here is a brief outline of the procedure.

  • Your cat will be sedated to help keep them calm before the operation

  • Anaesthetic will then be used to put your cat to sleep so that they won't feel a thing. This is known as a general anaesthetic.

  • Your pets breathing and vital signs will be monitored throughout the operation.

  • Neutering - the vet will open up the scrotum with two very small cuts and remove both testicles. In most cases stitches are not required to seal the cuts, they will heal naturally.

  • Spay - The vet will cut through the abdomen to reach the ovaries and uterus and remove them all. Stitches will be required.


Some male cats have what is known as hidden testicles. This means that they have not properly developed and moved down into the scrotum and may be small and still within the body of the cat. This is known as a cryptorchid.

If this happens your vet will discuss the options. Sometimes the testes can be squeezed down into the scrotum, sometimes not.

Recovery from the operation

Your pet will be back on their feet within hours of the operation. Male cats will be back to normal the next day as they operation is no so invasive. Your female cat may be a little sore for a couple of days and you may find that she wants to sleep and be still for a few days.

It is important that if at all possible your cat should be prevented from nibbling at the area. If the cat does interfere with the area too much your vet may suggest a large plastic head collar for a few days but in most cases this is not necessary.

It can take several months for the hormone levels in your cats to reduce enough to stop normal Tom cat behaviour. So don't be surprised if your newly neutered cat still displays some signs of wanting to mate.

Neutering cats from an early age display far fewer of the normal Tom cat behaviours such as roaming, spraying and aggressive fighting with other male cats. So my advice has always been to have it done early. My two male cats were neutered at the age of 4 months old and they are two of the gentlest cats I have ever known.

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