Once your cat has been neutered, he cannot produce sperm. When your cat is neutered, the testicles are completely removed, making the further production of sperm impossible. However, there can sometimes be residual sperm in lower passages that cannot be removed during the surgery.
So, if you’ve been asking, “can a neutered cat still produce sperm?”, now you know the answer! But what about the residual sperm? Can a neutered cat still mate? And how pronounced are behavioral changes in your neutered cat? Keep reading to find out!
Can a neutered cat still mate?
Though a neutered cat can no longer produce sperm, he may still have the instinct to mate. Though hormone-related behaviors often cease quickly after neutering, the impact of these changes depends on several factors.
If your cat has been recently neutered and is in the presence of intact female cats going through a heat cycle, he may try to mate with them despite the surgery. This is because he still has some testosterone in his system that affects his behavior. However, these levels will steadily decrease with time, and these behaviors should diminish.
Can a neutered cat still get a female cat pregnant?
As mentioned above, a neutered male cat can still have a small amount of residual sperm in its reproductive system even after being neutered. If your newly neutered male mates with a female in heat, there is a chance she could get pregnant.
For this reason, the ASPCA recommends you keep neutered male cats separated from intact females for 30 days after being neutered to prevent unplanned mating.
How will my cat’s behavior change after being neutered?
Once your cat has been neutered, his testosterone levels will slowly decrease. The decreasing levels of hormones will change his behavior in several ways:
- Less aggressive. Intact male cats are territorial, which can make them aggressive towards other cats and humans. However, once your cat has been neutered, you may notice he is much friendlier towards you and others in the home.
- Staying inside. Because intact male cats have the instinct to defend their territory and search for mates, they often want to get out and roam the streets. After neutering, many male cats are content to stay indoors where it’s safe and warm, as they no longer feel the urge to pick fights with other cats.
- Spraying. When roaming outside, intact male cats spray urine to mark their territory. However, this can be an intolerable behavior for an indoor cat. Luckily, urine spraying will typically diminish once your cat has been neutered.
- Less active. Without the rush of testosterone, neutered male cats can become less active. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them—they just no longer feel the urge to roam, fight, and mate and are quite content to be lazy!
How long does it take to see these behavioral changes?
The time it takes to see testosterone-linked behaviors diminish in your cat usually depends on how old your cat was when he was neutered. The effect of testosterone on a cat’s behavior can cause long-lasting behavioral changes that may take a significant amount of time to go away—if they go away at all.
Male cats typically reach sexual maturity between six and twelve months of age, but it can take up to eighteen months for some males to become fully mature. Intact male cats can be difficult pets due to their behavior, so if you aren’t planning on having a litter of kittens, it’s best to neuter your cat early.
If your cat is neutered young (at approximately six months of age), there’s a chance he never exhibited these testosterone-influenced behaviors at all, as he wasn’t at full sexual maturity yet. In this case, you’ll likely see very minimal changes in his behavior.
As intact male cats get older, the testosterone-linked behaviors also become more challenging to eliminate with neutering; since they’ve been performing the behaviors for so long, the changes can become permanent regardless of their testosterone levels. This is why it’s a great idea to get your cat neutered early!
So if your cat has just reached sexual maturity (6-18 months old) and begun to exhibit these behaviors, it’s a great time to get him neutered!
Does neutering cause cats to gain weight?
Not necessarily! The idea that sterilized animals will gain weight comes from the reduced energy requirements once they no longer have their reproductive organs. As mentioned above, testosterone increases activity levels, aggression, and roaming in male cats. Once a cat has been neutered, these behaviors diminish, and your cat may become less active.
Be sure to adjust your cat’s feeding amount post-surgery to meet his new energy requirements adequately. Once he’s recovered, you can find fun in-home activities for him to do, like playing with toys, chasing balls, or simulated hunting through hiding cat food.
How long does it take for a cat to heal from neutering?
Most veterinarians recommend a 14-day healing period for cats recovering from neuter surgery. This typically includes reduced activity, an e-collar (or plastic cone) to prevent chewing and licking at the surgical site, and separation from other cats if necessary.
Since the surgical site isn’t sutured, your cat won’t have to have any sutures removed after surgery, as the site will close up quickly and heal on its own. Be sure to monitor the surgical site for increased redness, swelling, or other signs of infection, and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.