How to Know if a Cat is Sterilized

How to Know if a Cat is Sterilized

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There are both physical and behavioral signs of whether a cat has been sterilized. If a male cat is mounting other cats (male or female) regularly and aggressively, then it is likely they have not be neutered. If a cat is behaving as if they are in heat, then it is a likely sign that they have not be sterilized. There are common behavioral traits for both male and female cats which are in heat. They include:

  • Excitablility: cats in heat get excitable and more aggressive. They may restlessly move about the house, seemingly wanting to play more, but also finding it difficult to focus. They may keep you up at night by jumping around the bed and wanting attention.
  • Overly affectionate: while cats are not the completely aloof and antisocial creatures many of their critics claim them to be, they aren’t always completely affectionate and close to humans. When they are in heat, however, they can be particularly physical, butting you with their head, rubbing against you and even humping your arms and legs.
  • Vocalization: some cats are more vocal than others, particularly Siamese and Burmese breeds. However, during their heat cycle, they can be much more vocal than usual. This particularly happens at night when males may keep you awake by calling out to female cats who will likely never hear them, thereby making it unending.
  • Licking of the genitals: female cats who are in heat will seep blood and have inflamed genitals. Females cats will lick their reproductive parts for both hygiene and stress relieving reasons.
  • More time outdoors: cats who are in heat may go out looking for cats to mate with. If there are no cats able to mate in the household, they will likely spend a lot of time trying to escape to do so.

We can generally decide whether a cat has been sterilized by looking at these behavioral traits. However, if they have been neutered, there are also physical signs to look out for. Mainly this takes the form of a surgical scar. For male cats this is usually on the scrotum. For female cats it is found on the abdomen where the uterus is. However, this can also be carried out on the side (see below for comparison). It is very easy to know if a cat has been sterilized if the procedure was recent. This is because the area will have recently been shaved and you can see easily the patches where the operation has taken place. If a male cat has been castrated, then they may have a pouch where their scrotum is, but without testicles inside.

However, there are some reasons why this can be difficult to determine:

  • The scar is obvious after sterilization, but after time it will fade. This means it can be difficult to see at the best of times. When the fur grows back around it, especially in long haired breeds, this can be even harder to discern.
  • In some countries, there are proactive sterilization campaigns designed to neuter stray cats. They often will cut a nick in their ear to give a sign that this has already been done. However, not every country will do this and some cats may have a nick for some other reason such as fighting.
  • Some cats which have not been sterilized will not exhibit much of a sexual drive. This means they may not display overt signs of being in heat, but are still capable of reproducing.

If you want a more definitive way to tell if a cat has been sterilized, please read on.