Un-neutered cats spend a lot more time "cattin' around town" than their neutered counterparts. Nature intended for cats to have that urge to merge with one another, so they go out looking for the perfect mate, or any mate for that matter.
The Fat, Lazy Cat Myth
Neutering refers to the castration of either gender, but is commonly used to refer to male animals; "spaying" is the word used for females. It removes the hormones responsible for the cat's libido and ability to procreate. The myth that neutered cats are lazier and fatter than un-neutered cats is simply not true. Neutered cats may appear to be lazier than un-neutered cats because they no longer have the need to run around town chasing promiscuous pussycats. So, compared to intact (un-neutered) cats, who instinctively roam the streets, the neutered cat may appear lazier. Weight has to do with calorie intake and energy output. Gluttonous neutered and un-neutered cats alike will be fat.
Testosterone, the male hormone manufactured in the testes, is a troublemaker if left unchecked. Un-neutered cats have this hormone circulating throughout their bodies, inciting them to territorial spraying, fighting, yowling and running wild sowing wild oats. This is all very well for wild cats who need to save the species. In sweet little companion cats, it brings disastrous consequences. If cats are neutered early, before roaming habits are formed, they may never develop these bad habits. However, if a cat is firmly set in his ways before being sterilized, he may continue to be a bad kitty. So while intact cats may like to roam and fight, neutered cats are happy to hang out at home, unless they are into hunting small prey and making friends with the neighbors.
In neutered male cats, the risk of certain types of testicular and prostrate diseases and cancers is significantly lowered. The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association points out that their chances of contracting communicable diseases such as feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline immunododeficiency virus (FIV) are lowered since those diseases are transmitted through bites cats exchange while fighting for territory. Since neutering removes that mating instinct, the cat does not have an overwhelming desire to go out and meet lady cats of the night like un-neutered male cats. Overall, neutered cats tend to live longer than un-neutered cats, according to the vets at Pet WebMD. By the way, the unmistakable, malodorous urine in intact males is missing in neutered cats.
Neuter is Cuter
Overall, neutered cats are healthier and more content to be house cats, while their un-neutered cousins will always have that need to roam far and wide, making lots of babies who may never find homes. Neutered cats have much less of a chance of getting lost, falling victim to cruelty or accidental injury, or being hit by a car than intact cats, since they spend far less time on the mean streets getting into kerfuffles with other males and becoming distracted by the siren screech of a feline femme fatale.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.