Your male kitten is your bundle of joy. He's so much fun to have around -- there's never a dull moment with his antics. Soon, he'll enter kitty adolescence. That changes the picture considerably, as he'll have one thing on his mind besides eating.
While most male cats reach puberty between the ages of 7 and 9 months, some are able to start fathering kittens at 6 months of age. Once he hits adolescence, that sweet little kitten demeanor changes considerably. Non-neutered male cats become very territorial and aggressive. He'll fight to defend his territory, as humble as it may be. If he's an outdoor cat, that doesn't mean he'll only fight other intact male felines. He may also attack dogs, usually with dire results for kitty.
Along with being able to father kittens, adolescent male cats often start spraying to mark territory. If your male cat is indoors, that means he'll spray urine all over your house, just to let other cats in the vicinity, real or imagined, know that it's his place. The end result is that your house reeks of cat pee. Neutering your kitten before he reaches puberty usually stops spraying from beginning in the first place, but most male cats stop spraying after they're fixed.
In the past, vets often waited until a cat was sexually mature before performing the neuter surgery. Today, many vets will neuter kittens between the ages of 6 to 8 weeks, as long as kitty weighs at least 2 pounds. Neutering is a relatively simple surgery in which the vet removes the cat's testicles. While your cat is anesthetized for the procedure, it's much less complicated than a spay surgery for a female cat, which involves opening the abdomen. Kitty may be groggy for a day or so after neutering, but most cats bounce back quite quickly.
Feline overpopulation is a true tragedy. Every year, millions of cat are euthanized in animal shelters because there aren't enough homes. Outdoor homeless cats fall prey to disease, motor vehicles and attacks by animals and heartless people. By neutering your cat, you aren't just contributing to the quality of his life as your beloved house pet. You're also helping, in a small way, to reduce the unwanted cat population since your boy won't be contributing to the number of kittens born each year.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.