Adopting a cat comes with many responsibilities, one of which is ensuring that they have been spayed or neutered. Not only does this prevent the birth of unwanted kittens, but it also offers several health benefits. However, it’s not always easy to tell if a cat has been desexed or not. In this article, we will explore different ways to determine whether your cat has undergone spaying or neutering.
What is spaying and neutering?
Spaying and neutering involve the surgical removal of a cat’s reproductive organs, which effectively prevents unwanted litters and certain behaviors. Additionally, this procedure can help reduce the risk of diseases such as pyometra, mammary cancer, testicular cancer, spraying, and calling (estrus). For female cats, the procedure is called ovariohysterectomy, which involves removing the uterus and ovaries. In males, it is referred to as castration, which entails removing the testicles. Cats are typically desexed between 8 weeks and 6 months of age.
How to determine if a cat has been spayed or neutered
Some veterinarians and rescue organizations use ear tattoos to indicate that a cat has been spayed or neutered. Typically, a black or blue tattoo is applied inside the ear. In certain countries, an “M” inside the right ear signifies microchipping, while a circle with a line through it on the left ear identifies a desexed cat. The shape of the tattoo may vary depending on the region.
The universal sign that a cat has been spayed or neutered is the removal of the tip of the ear or a V-shaped notch in the side of the ear. This marking is typically reserved for stray and feral cats to easily identify them as desexed from a distance.
Identifying neutered adult males is relatively easier because their external testicles are absent. When a male cat is neutered, the testicles are removed from inside the scrotum while leaving the scrotum intact. As shown in the image below, the scrotum of a neutered cat is considerably smaller compared to an entire male.
Midline or flank scar
Identifying a spayed female cat without ear markings can be more challenging as their reproductive organs are internal. However, it may be possible to shave a small patch of fur on the flank or midline to look for a small scar approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. Please note that this scar may not always be visible.
Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) test
An alternative method to determine if a female cat has been spayed is through an Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) blood test. This test measures the levels of AMH, which is produced in the ovaries. A negative AMH test indicates a spayed female, while a positive result suggests the presence of ovarian tissue.
No estrus in female cats
A female cat that has been spayed will not go into heat or estrus. If your female cat displays signs of calling, rolling on the floor, raising her rear end when touched, spraying, or attempting to escape every 3-4 weeks, she may not have been spayed completely. In such cases, consult a veterinarian for further investigation.
Absent stud jowls
Adult male cats that have not been neutered develop fleshy pouches on their cheeks called stud jowls. These jowls result from the effects of testosterone and are believed to protect the face during fights. Once a male cat has been neutered, these stud jowls will diminish.
Unneutered male and female cats typically show strong urges to escape and mate. To prevent unwanted litters and various diseases, such as feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, and bite wound abscesses, it is crucial to keep intact cats indoors.
Determining whether your cat has been spayed or neutered is important for their health and preventing overpopulation. If you’re unsure about your cat’s status, consult your veterinarian, who can provide you with expert guidance. Remember, responsible pet ownership includes ensuring the well-being of your furry friend. For more information on cat grooming services, visit Katten TrimSalon.
Now you have the knowledge to identify if a cat has been spayed or neutered. Be a responsible pet owner and give your cat the care they deserve!