Q: I have an 8-year-old male cat. Until now, he has been our only cat. Last year we found a 6-month-old kitten on the street and decided to keep him. They are very close but our older cat has started to spray. We are going to get them both neutered next week. Our older cat has not been neutered. He is healthy. Is he too old to be neutered? Will he stop spraying?
A: It seems clear to me that the older cat is spraying as an attempt to delineate his territory to the newcomer. Neutering is the first step in trying to solve this spraying problem. Frankly, I’m surprised that you’ve had your older cat so many years without having him neutered. The smell of tomcat urine is pretty powerful, and is often incentive enough to get a cat neutered.
Your cat is certainly not too old to be neutered. Your vet will probably suggest doing pre-anesthetic bloodwork. If not, you should request it. If the bloodwork and physical examination confirm that your cat is as healthy as he seems, neutering should be no problem. In the vast majority of cases, this will resolve the spraying problem. If not, talk to your vet about behavior modification, including the use of drugs to control the spraying. (Believe it or not, Prozac is the drug of choice for controlling spraying in cats, and it is highly successful).