Q: My two tabby cats are 3 years old and I have had them since they were about six months old. They were born from a stray in my son’s garage. They now live strictly indoors.
Because I’m on a very limited income, they have had a good life but have never seen a vet. I cannot really afford to get my cats neutered at a regular veterinary office. The Humane Society offers a discounted surgery but I’m a little reluctant about the care they’ll receive. Is neutering really needed? And is time a big factor?
A: The main reason for neutering cats, in my opinion, is to prevent overpopulation. Given that these two cats are of the same sex and are living totally indoors, strictly speaking, you don’t really have to get your cats neutered.
Neutering cats, however offers other advantages as well. With two male cats vying for territory in the house (even though they’re brothers and seem to get along fine), there is a high probability that one or both cats will mark their territories by spraying urine. Tomcat urine is pretty pungent, and the smell in your house will likely be unbearable. Intact male cats are also more prone to fighting, and some of the territorial skirmishes may end up being fairly aggressive. I think these are compelling reasons to get your cat neutered. If you neuter the cats before they spray, they almost never start. If you neuter after they start spraying, there’s a 95% chance that they will stop. So yes, time is of the essence.
Neutering cats is a very simple surgical procedure. Humane Society doctors spend a great deal of their time spaying and neutering cats; you’d be hard pressed to find cat veterinarians more experienced in these procedures than those that work at shelters and Humane Societies. I would not be concerned about the surgical skill of the cat vet or of the care the cats would receive post-operatively. Get your cats neutered as soon as practical.