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27 comments

I am in favor of letting all animals attain their adult size/puberty prior to neutering. For male cats, this would be especially true because (here comes too much information) if they are allowed to grow a full-sized penis then they are less likely to have issues with cystitis later in life.

I know it can be a fine line between a full-grown boy and a spraying tomcat, but there is a benefit to waiting until puberty. Plus, all animals do better (humans included) if they are allowed to reach puberty. We are talking bones, joints, etc.

But absolutely don't let an intact male out of your sight because puberty in feral cats can be as early as 6 months and we don't need more feral kittens in this world.

You didn't say how old your kitty is, but in the pic he looks like an adolescent cat. I neutered my cat at around 8 months, I wanted him to grow up a bit and get some of the tomcat face before neutering him. I also had a female cat at the same time (one of his littermates) and I wanted to get both of them done before her first heat. So 8 months. If you want him to grow up a bit I think thats a good idea if there are no female cats around but I wouldn't push it out longer than a year.

I don't believe in letting cats go outside. I grew up with an indoor/outdoor cat but she ended up dying from being hit by a car. All of the cats that we had when I was a kid were indoor/outdoor cats and they died outdoors in various ways. Cats are safer and healthier inside. My two are indoor cats and will stay that way. If you provide enough toys and enrichment they won't be depressed or bored. Good luck with your kitty!

Same here. It’s illegal to let them outside in many places in Australia and I’m fine with that. My two are indoor-only and show every sign of being happy despite being in a little bedsit. I live on a busy road and wouldn’t dream of letting them out alone. If I can ever get them harness trained I’ll take them for walks in the communal garden, but that’s it.

[–] spacykate 1 points Edited

I wish that were the case here. The cat I mentioned above that got hit by a car would spend all summer hunting birds. I've read somewhere that in the US cats could be killing as many as a billion birds per year, that is way too much. eta - here in California they could get eaten by coyotes, eagles, the list is endless, not to mention cars, assholes, etc.

Yes, they’re among the top introduced predators here, too, and while we don’t have the range of natural predators the US does, they’re also vulnerable to eagles, dogs and dingoes, for example. Plus the range of diseases stray and feral cats get (thank goodness we don’t have rabies here).

It drives me crazy how some cat owners act like their cat will be depressed and go insane if they don’t let it roam loose outside. Idk why if they care soooo much, they won’t just take it out on a leash. Safety + outside = best of both worlds. But noooo, they have to be irresponsible, negligent, and completely obtuse. I’m glad to see you and at least 1-2 other people here speak out about this. Everyone else acts like it’s okay... :(

Same! There are two owners in the village like that. Granted it is difficult to train older cats to be inside all the time when they’ve always roamed, but it’s not like these two don’t have litter to use. I used to let previous generations of cats out during the day, because everyone did, unthinkingly, and all the harm that ever came to them resulted from that. Now, it’s not going to happen. No fear of traffic or council rangers or cruel humans or picking up fleas and worms and diseases for my two, and no ideas of killing birds, either.

Hello,

you have helped me a lot with feral kitten. As you may gather from the attached pic - he is in quite high spirits these days. He sleeps in my bed, loves staring at me extensively, does not wish to be touched at all. I can deal with it, even though I would really, really love to pet him.

His biggest love in life is my other cat, who I guess could be described as a gentle giant. He is extremely tolerant to being pounced, pestered and wrestled all the time. My current plan is, to let the little one actually hit puberty before I have him fixed. I assume that older cat will be way, way less friendly once little one is an adult, yet he will still be bigger. I think, it would be good to have him get a beating, so he understands that he is not actually unbeatable before I start letting him go outside. So, my question : do you think this makes sense?

No, have your pet neutered as soon as the vet recommends. Nothing good comes from having an intact Tom wandering around. ( Just like men, now that I think about it!). Castrating your cat will actually help make him “sweeter.”

Oh, he is not wandering around. He will be an indoor cat until such time that he is fixed.

I agree. Neuter your little tom as soon as you can. And remember, indoor/outdoor cats statistically have shorter lifespans. Don’t let him out unfixed because he’s more at risk for being in a cat fight unfixed.

As for the indoor outdoor question, I make that based on each individual cat. Some know when they have it good and I could hold the door open all day and they wouldn’t go out. Some, well a piece of their soul would die if they couldn’t smell the air and the earth sometimes. I accept the risks when I let them be animals for a bit each day but I accept that I might have to cry the tears too. I do have a nice fenced yard and my indoor outdoor cats generally stick pretty close to home. Think about where your cats will go too.

As for him not letting you pet him, that might change over time. But it might be always on his terms and intermittent. I have a little queen like this; her cat to cat relationships are good and she’s happy. Sometimes she wants a pat most of the time not.

Fixing him as soon as you’re able will stop the Tomcat aggression and wanderlust and won’t affect his size. It’s a good idea.

Cat lady for forty years and practically my own shelter at one point. I’ve known and loved many cats over the years.

I used to live in the middle of the woods, the current big cat and his... Uncle cousin (they came from a problematic place) used to roam like little kings. We moved and the uncle cousin was hit by a car back in November. Ripped out a piece of my soul, yet I could never confine a cat to an indoor life. Cats are little predators. I love watching them do their thing outside. I live on a very nice, cat filled street and now, that days are getting longer and warmer, cats seem to laze about everywhere. I love it when big cat comes home, his fur all warm and a bit dusty and smelling of sunshine and good life. My potential sadness can never be their problem.

However, it's house arrest until castration for this one. He is only starting to be interested in the outside anyway.

He is an expert user of amenities such as beds and chairs. He clearly has gotten accustomed to a certain lifestyle, so I don't know if I'd still consider him feral.

[–] Calais 5 points Edited

I definitely think it makes sense to allow your baby to grow to adult size before castration, because it minimises risks for surgery complication and means that your cat is 'complete' enough maturation-wise, especially if you are planning on letting him go outside. Some wait until they're certain the cat is spraying, although I cannot say if that is good due to the risk of this becoming a habit, even if the pee is odourless. It depends on the cat and the owner.

I don't think you need to allow a beating to occur. None of my outdoor pets have needed anything like that, they've been outside as soon as they were big enough to figure out the cat flap. Cats sometimes are mellow and it's possible that your big boy might never return the pounces, or do so only after 2-3 years' time. Depending on where you live, you can do yard training to teach your cat to distrust traffic and stay close to the house, if you worry.

If your cat is un-collared and un-chipped/not yet earmarked, I would keep your boy inside until he's been castrated mainly to keep him from straying, since he's going to be a big kitty when he's castrated, but this of course is also a matter of cat, in my experience, intact cats who 'stray' tend to do so because there's not enough territory due to bigger cats living around (yes, even if these cats are castrated).

Edit: What adorable cats, I hope they get a lot of attention and playtime.

Edit 2: Glad to hear things worked out with the little guy. If you distract him with food, you might be able to pet him a bit, some cats adore being petted while they sleep, even if they'll never take the initiative themselves. Either way, you seem to have earned his heart. Well done!

Thanks! Kitten may be an intellectual - he does not want to be touched but he enjoys being talked too. If I don't, he starts meowing aggressively.

I am a bit concerned about him not understanding that he is actually not super strong, just being humored. Big cat even lets him steal his food.

I’m interested in hearing more about yard training. Right now my cat and I live on a dead end street where he can roam a decent-sized area without running into traffic. He is very scared of anything motorized and hides from loud noises, which I like. But I’m still nervous about what might happen if we move somewhere else with more traffic.

Your cat sounds very smart to be scared of cars and loud noises, good traits for an outdoor or semi-outdoor cat.

I'm sorry to say that I can't find the very good training manual right now - It's online somewhere if you google 'training cat to stay in yard'.

The bare-bones basics is that your cat is not free to roam at first. For the first few months, the cat goes outside on a leash. You should also pick up the cat while outdoors and put it down again, to make sure it understands that being picked up isn't scary or has to mean that playtime is over.

When the cat moves too close to a 'forbidden' zone, ie boundary of the yard, the owner picks the cat up and place it closer to the house. If the cat crosses the boundary, the cat is taken indoors and outdoor time is over for a while. This has to be done consistently over a few months.

After a while, you can transition to not using the leash on walks around the yard. When you trust your cat enough to not roam, you can watch him from a window instead, to see if further training is needed.

Having specific 'come home for dinner' times help, too.

Please follow vets’ advice.

I think, it would be good to have him get a beating, so he understands that he is not actually unbeatable before I start letting him go outside.

How horrible! You seriously are okay with your cat getting attacked outside on his own? :( Do NOT let your cat loose outside without a harness and leash and you supervising. It’s the most dangerous place for them to be unsupervised, truly. Cats can get poisoned, shot at with BB guns, killed, and injured in other numerous ways. They are also at risk for FIV (feline AIDS) and other diseases (including rabies), fleas, ticks, and other parasites such as many types of intestinal worms.

No, I absolutely do not want him to be beaten up outside!

My adult cat is extremely patient with him right now, presumably because he understands the kitten is a kid. My fear is that the kitten does not understand that he is not actually capable of taking down a full-grown Tom cat and will, once fixed, go outside and then be beaten mercilessly by the horrible neighborhood cat. So I was thinking that my, friendly, adult cat would most likely be a bit more assertive with him if I waited for him to reach puberty (he will, in any case, be an indoor cat until such time that he is neutered).

I have heard very different opinions by vets at this point.

Again:

Do NOT let your cat loose outside without a harness and leash and you supervising. It’s the most dangerous place for them to be unsupervised, truly. Cats can get poisoned, shot at with BB guns, killed, and injured in other numerous ways. They are also at risk for FIV (feline AIDS) and other diseases (including rabies), fleas, ticks, and other parasites such as many types of intestinal worms.

Why didn’t you respond to that part? :(

My guy got aggressive right around the six month mark and was neutered a few days later.

He’s a healthy, active cat with no side effects from having it done at that age. I do recommend paying extra for fluids and anything else they offer at that younger age though because it’s still surgery.