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Will fighting improve after neutering?

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Amberzum, Apr 15, 2019 at 7:46 PM.


  1. Amberzum

    Amberzum PetForums Junior

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    Hi all!

    We've had our soon to be 6 month old kitten about 3 months now. We introduced him to our 2yo resident cat 'by the book' using the Jackson Galaxy method, and after about two weeks, they got along fine, she was happy playing, snoozing and grooming him and we gradually increased the time they spent together until he had run of the house and all has been well.

    About 2 weeks ago, Zelda, our big girl, started getting a bit hissy and bopping Buster if he played a bit too rough. He, obviously, has no off button and doesn't know when to stop and give her space and has definitely been stressing her out! I could understand the odd telling off, but She now hates being around him at all if she doesn't have to be and spends her days at the top of the cat tree or on the windowsill where he can't reach her yet!

    They have started having closer to 'proper' fights now, with growling and ears back, and Buster loves trying to ambush her and getting her to retaliate. She wouldn't really hurt him if she didn't 'have to,' but he is getting more antagonistic and refusing to back down if she warns him off so I'm worried about someone getting hurt if things don't change and she becomes less and less tolerant.

    I was wondering if this relentlessness could have anything to do with him reaching sexual maturity? He gets neutered on Friday and I'm planning on separating them and reintroducing them as if he is a new cat afterwards. She gets stressed when he smells of the vet anyway so I think a bit of a break would help their relationship. I do distract him when I catch Buster stalking her and he gets a lot of playtime with us, but it clearly does not compare to winding Zelda up!

    I don't want Buster to constantly be hissed at, as unphased by this as he seems, and I don't want Zelda to live feeling as stressed as she is. We have feliway friends plugged in and they have separate resources and enough litter trays and their own scratchers/high places/beds etc. I don't need them to be BFFs, but amicable aquaintances would be nice so I don't need to worry about anyone getting hurt when B gets bigger and stronger!
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi @Amberzum, the fact that Buster is not yet neutered is undoubtedly part of the reason why Zelda dislikes being around him. It is not unusual for spayed cats to dislike having an entire male cat around them once the male has reached sexual maturity. Zelda will be able to tell from his scent that Buster is now sexually mature.

    I would have had Buster neutered earlier than 6 months of age, unless there was a health reason why he couldn't be? Icat Care and The Cat Group recommend having pet cats neutered at 4 months old before they reach sexual maturity.

    As to whether Buster will become less pushy and aggressive with Zelda once he is neutered, it is impossible to predict. Sometimes such behaviour, once acquired, continues after neutering. However, once his hormone levels have dropped post-neutering (which could take up to a month to fall significantly) I am hoping Zelda will find his scent less objectionable and may be more accepting of him. If she is more accepting perhaps he will be less antagonistic to her.

    Meanwhile I would keep the 2 of them separate all the time from now on, until Buster has been neutered. If you are planning on trying re-introductions I recommend waiting about a month before you start so that Buster's hormone levels will have fallen. if you start the reintroductions within a day or two of him being neutered I fear Zelda is unlikely to be kindly disposed towards him.
     
    #2 chillminx, Apr 15, 2019 at 9:22 PM
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 10:55 PM
    MilleD, Saffy Cat and Amberzum like this.
  3. Amberzum

    Amberzum PetForums Junior

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    Thank you for your reply. I wanted to neuter him earlier (mainly to reduce the risk of him starting to spray!) but my vet advised waiting because they think neutering earlier can cause behavioural problems.

    He is indoor only and hasn't started spraying or anything yet, so I just went with it. He is a small kitten and I think that is in part why they wanted to wait, as when I suggested it after his jabs, they said they COULD do it from 8 weeks, but as he was small, and would be an indoor cat anyway, they'd recommend I wait.

    I did some googling and there's quite a bit of conflicting advice and I did see a few articles in favour of neutering later, and as Zelda is spayed so there's no risk of kittens, I just trusted the vets advice!

    His scent definitely does upset her. They'll be hanging out quite happily if we're playing or handing out treats, and if she gets a whiff of his rear end she'll hiss and run off. Hopefully I haven't left it too late and shot myself in the foot here.

    I was planning on waiting a couple of weeks to reintroduce them, but I'll definitely wait a month instead so those hormone levels can drop. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly and everyone can live peacefully!
     
    #3 Amberzum, Apr 15, 2019 at 9:58 PM
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019 at 10:15 PM
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  4. Rufus15

    Rufus15 ~ Orrono Maine Coons ~

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    Hormone levels can take up to 12 weeks to drop, a month wouldn't be long enough unfortunately
     
    Amberzum likes this.
  5. Amberzum

    Amberzum PetForums Junior

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    Thanks for the info. I guess I'm just going to have to play it by ear and take reintroductions really slow and steady until we make a breakthrough.

    Things aren't terrible, luckily, so we'll see how it goes!
     
  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Amberzum, I have never heard of behaviour problems developing as a result of neutering earlier than 6 months:confused: . If this were the case it would have shown up in all the studies that have been undertaken into the effects of early neutering. None of the studies done showed benefit in terms of behaviour to a pet cat in being neutered after reaching sexual maturity (which is around 4 months old, except in late developing breeds). This is what reputable organisations such as Icat Care, and The Cat Group (which includes The Small Animal Veterinary Association) base their advice upon.

    Neutering 'late' (ie. after sexual maturity) is when behavioural problems may arise. Not only spraying indoors (to scent mark), but the kind of aggressive behaviour to a feline housemate over territory and resources, and sexualised behaviour, that Buster is showing towards Zelda.

    By a month after neutering there will be a significant drop in Buster's hormone levels but for them to have faded altogether it's likely to take longer, more like 2 months.
     
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