Living with an Un-Neutered Cat

Learn what it’s like to live with an un-neutered cat.

If you're wondering whether or not you really must have your cat spayed or castrated, consider what it's like to live with a kitty that hasn't had a neuter surgery.

Un-Spayed Female Cat Issues

A cat that hasn't been spayed begins going into heat most often between five and nine months of age. Then, they go into heat at varying rates, depending on the season and whether male cats are around.

Female cats that aren't spayed have an increased risk of mammary and uterine cancer. They are also at risk of developing life-threatening pyometra each time they go into heat. That's a severe bacterial infection of the uterus.

Being pregnant and delivering kittens comes with risks for the mother cat, especially if she is very young herself.

Un-spayed female cats often have an urge to roam and are at higher risk of suffering from cat fight wounds and contracting contagious feline viruses like FeLV and FIV if they're allowed outside. They're more likely to try and escape through an open door or a window screen, also.

When female cats are in heat, they can be quite annoying, rolling around and yowling loudly at all hours of the day and night. They may urinate outside of the litter box or even spray urine onto vertical surfaces in the home.

Un-Neutered Male Cat Issues

A male cat that isn't neutered reaches puberty, usually, between six and nine months of age. At that time, if they are not neutered, they often begin to spray surfaces in a territorial manner, and their urine is exceptionally potent and foul-smelling.

Un-neutered male cats often try hard to escape if they're kept indoors, and they might ruin screens or scratch up doorframes in their urge to get out and look for female cats. If they are let out or escape, they are highly likely to get into fights with other male cats, which can result in severe injury or death. They're also at higher risk of contracting non-treatable feline viruses like FeLV and FIV.

Intact male cats that aren't allowed outside often become stressed and develop stress-related behaviors like increased scratching of items in the home and urinating outside the litter box (in addition to spraying on vertical surfaces). They are also more likely to become aggressive toward other cats, dogs, and people in the home.

Un-neutered male cats are at risk of prostate and testicular cancer.

What Is Neuter Surgery in Cats?

In female cats, the most common neuter surgery performed is a complete ovariohysterectomy. The ovaries and uterus are removed through a small abdominal incision.

In male cats, castration is performed during which the testicles are entirely removed.

Cats that have been neutered generally require being kept quiet and not allowed to jump and run for a few days to a week after surgery. Their incisions must be monitored for swelling, redness, and discharge. Some cats need to wear Elizabethan collars so they can't lick or chew at their surgical areas.

Cats might need pain medication for a few days surrounding their surgery.

The cost of neuter surgery in cats varies depending on the area and what is involved in the clinic's procedure. For instance, some veterinarians require pre-surgical blood work before anesthesia and surgery. However, the costs associated with keeping an un-neutered cat in the home often work out to be much higher than neuter surgery because of damaged or ruined property from cat scratches and urine, wounds from fighting, treatment for FIV or FeLV infection, pyometra for females, and cancer.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.