Dominant Behavior in a Male Cat After Neutering

Neutering young can prevent dominant behavior later.

Neutering young can prevent dominant behavior later.

Neutering your cat is responsible pet ownership, regardless of behavior. Generally speaking, neutering has an effect on male cat behavior, but the degree to which he changes isn't set in stone. After all, you're not taking him in for a lobotomy.

Likeliness of Change

There's no guarantee as to how much your cat's behavior might change after he's neutered -- period. While dominant behaviors like mounting and territorial aggression are less likely in snipped cats, they can still exist after the operation. One reliable predictor, though, is the age at which you get your cat neutered. Cats who are neutered when they're 6 months old or younger are less likely to develop behavioral problems, particularly those associated with dominant behavior like aggression.

Illusion of Change

Neutering your cat can change him indirectly as well as directly. For example, an outdoors cat may not roam the neighborhood like he used to, because those were his days of looking for a mate. With that behavior put to an end, he's likelier to be a bit of a layabout and can consequently pack on extra weight. If he cuts back on his hormone-influenced roaming drastically, he'll need a dietary change to keep from gaining too much weight.

All or None

If you have multiple cats, neutering just one may not change dominant behavior -- you have to go all-in. A single unfixed cat, male or female, can influence the behavior of every other cat in the mix. Even a neutered cat may try to mount a female or demonstrate dominance over a non-neutered male. If you really want to put the kibosh on hormonal behavior, you have to get everybody done.

No Hard Feelings

Don't feel bad about getting your cat neutered. Even if his dominant behavior goes away, that doesn't mean he's upset -- cats just don't think about the whole thing in those terms. In fact, removing that which gives him his biological imperative to mate could remove a lot of stress from his life and from yours. He won't miss a thing and he won't harbor resentment toward you.

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About the Author

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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