The idea of neutering a cat comes with many positive associations -- such as improved overall temperament -- but also a few not so great ones, like weight gain. Although some cats do indeed pack on the pounds post-neutering, a proper and nutritious dietary plan can prevent that from happening.
Weight Gain in Neutered Cats
When it comes to keeping a healthy weight, neutered cats have it a lot harder than their fully intact counterparts, according to the Feline Advisory Bureau. This is because the surgery slows down a cat's metabolism by roughly 20 percent. Because of this slowdown, less sustenance is necessary for maintaining a cat's body mass. This means that a cat post-neutering can eat the exact same amount of food as before, but still gain a noticeable amount of weight.
Apart from the metabolism alone, lessened physical activity can also lead to weight gain in cats after neutering, reports the Veterinary Medicine division at UC Davis. Hormonally charged unfixed cats tend to be very restless and antsy creatures -- always attempting to run away on the quest to find mating partners of the opposite gender. Without the urge to do this after neutering, a cat may become significantly more sedentary than before, and with much less frequent physical activity and movement, a cat may also pile on the extra poundage -- fast.
Weight gain in cats comes with a lot of potential health risks -- think arthritis, hepatic lipidosis, liver problems and diabetes mellitus, for example. Because of this, it's absolutely crucial to make sure that you keep your pet's weight healthy and under control after neutering surgery. Regular physical activity is a must, whether you have your cutie chase after a laser pointer or catnip-stuffed mouse. A balanced and portion-controlled diet is also key -- one that involves the proper amounts of both fiber and fat. If you're uncertain regarding how to properly feed your neutered kitty, consult your veterinarian on devising a nutritious daily meal plan.
Weight gain is in no way exclusive to male cats and neutering. Spayed female cats also often experience metabolic changes and decreased physical activity post-surgery. Whether your pet is a boy or girl, it's vital to keep a close eye on weight conditions.
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Feeding Practices
- Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine: Virginia-Maryland Veterinary Notes
- UC Davis Veterinary Medicine: Spaying or Neutering Your Cat
- Feline Advisory Bureau: The Overweight Cat
- ASPCA: Overweight Cats
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Nutrition in Disease Management
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Hepatic Lipidosis
- Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images