Your male kitty's testicles descend into his scrotal sacs either before birth or while the little guy is still nursing, usually less than 6 weeks old, according to PetWave. In some late bloomers, it may take a bit longer, sometimes up to six months, although this isn't typical.
Typically, a kitten's testicles descend from the abdomen into the pouch of skin in his genital area known as the scrotum while he's still in the womb, according to PetMD. If they don't drop then, they usually do so within the first six weeks of life. Because Kitty's so tiny, your vet usually won't even be able to feel his testicles, about the size of small peas, until he reaches between 4 and 6 weeks of age, according to PetPlace.com. This is why neutering isn't recommended until your little guy reaches at least 8 weeks old so that the vet can easily feel and remove the testicles during this procedure.
How Testicles Drop
As a kitten develops, either in the womb or after birth, the testicles descend from the abdomen to the scrotum through two little holes in the groin called the inguinal rings. The two testicles travel through the inguinal canal down to the scrotum, where each testicle then permanently settles into a scrotal sac, located in the right and left sides of the scrotum. Prior to neutering your kitty, your vet will examine your furry friend to see if each testicle has properly descended or if they are still located somewhere in the inguinal canal. When Kitty is between 2 and 4 months old, your vet should be able to easily feel these testicles in the scrotum if proper development has occurred, according to DVM360.
Sometimes one or both of your little kitty's testicles simply won't drop from his abdomen all the way into his scrotum, a condition known as cryptorchidism. This condition becomes apparent if by the time he reaches 6 months of age, your furry friend's testicles haven't dropped yet, according to the journal article "Recent Advances in Small Animal Reproduction" published by International Veterinary Information Service. If one or both of the sacs appear empty or the skin loose, this could mean your kitty suffers from this hereditary condition. Kitties with cryptorchidism may need an ultrasound to determine the exact location of one or both of the testicles so that your vet may remove them. These kitties shouldn't be bred because this is a genetic condition that can be passed to their offspring.
Your vet can't neuter your kitty until his testicles properly descend into the scrotum because she needs to make incisions into the scrotal sacs to remove them. For this reason, she may wait until your kitty reaches between 3 and 6 months before neutering your little buddy. Kittens can be neutered as young as 8 weeks old if the testicles have dropped normally, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Note that some general spay and neuter clinics won't perform a neuter procedure on kitties who suffer from cryptorchidism. If your furry friend suffers from this condition, he'll need more specialized veterinary care to locate and remove his testicles. Not only does neutering prevent your kitty from mating, it also prevents behavioral issues and certain cancers, even in kitties with cryptorchidism.
- PAWS Atlanta: FAQs on Spay/Neuter Procedures for Cats
- PetPlace: How to Determine the Sex of Your Kitten
- PetWave: Symptoms of Cryptorchidism
- VetInfo: Cryptorchid Cat Facts
- Cat Hospital of Chicago: Neuter (Castration) in Cats
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Early Spay/Neuter
- PetMD: Retained Testicle in Cats
- Recent Advances in Small Animal Reproduction; P. W. Concannon, et al.
- 2ndchance.info: Retained Testicle or Cryptorchidism in Your Dog or Cat
- Clinical Endocrinology of Dogs and Cats; Ad Rijnberk and Hans S. Kooistra
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images