If you own a male cat who hasn't been neutered and you're concerned about mating, you have good reason to be. Not only can unneutered male cats display more aggression than their fixed counterparts, they also can sire seemingly endless litters of kittens, adding to the epidemic of feline overpopulation.
Tomcats generally reach puberty when they're in about 5 to 8 months old, according to the Feline Advisory Bureau. However, the speed of sexual maturity depends on the individual cat. Also, certain breeds have a tendency to mature quicker than others -- think Siamese cats. When a male cat becomes sexually mature, he is fully ready to mate and father a litter of fluff balls.
Signs of Maturity
If you're in any way worried that you won't know when your male cat is a fertile adolescent, never fear. Felines often make it very obvious that they're ready to mate, often much to the irritation of their owners.
Be on the lookout for indications of a hormonal male cat fighting for the attention of queens. Some signs you might observe include constant attempts to get outdoors and roam, restlessness, loud and persistent vocalization, pesky urine spraying and aggressive behavior -- ugh. These behaviors are all in a day's work for sexually mature male cats.
According to the ASPCA, female cats can give birth to three litters a year. As staggering as that might seem, it's nothing compared to the fertility abilities of male cats. The little guys can sire virtually endless litters of kittens annually -- yikes. Animal Protection of New Mexico indicates that the typical litter size runs between four and six kittens -- definitely a recipe for overpopulation troubles.
To prevent some of the problematic behaviors associated with hormonally driven tomcats, consider neutering your precious pet. The surgery tends to reduce or get rid of these issues, from urine marking to roaming.
If your cat is still a kitten, you might want to have him neutered before he reaches physical maturity, perhaps around 5 months in age. Speak to your veterinarian about the safest and most appropriate neutering age for your kitty.
Neutering also will stop your cat from being fertile and capable of breeding -- a major plus when it comes to limiting animal overpopulation.
- ASPCA: The Facts About Spay/Neuter
- Animal Protection of New Mexico: Companion Animal Overpopulation
- ASPCA: Top 10 Reasons to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
- The Merck Manual for Pet Health: Normal Social Behavior in Cats
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Social Behavior
- American Animal Hospital Association: Feline Development, Social Behavior & Communication
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Neutering Your Cat
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images