Can a Neutered Cat Still Mate? Behaviors & Side Effects

Last Updated on: April 3, 2024

Castrating and spaying cats provide many benefits to the cat population, the pet family, and the individual feline. But we have to consider several factors, the main one being the right age to spay your cat.

Spaying has many benefits, with the main one being stopping sexual behaviors in cats. For this reason, we may be wondering can a neutered cat still mate? Especially, if you see your pet mating after being neutered or spayed. 

Neutered Cat: Behaviors and After-Effects

Unlike an intact male cat, a neutered male cat cannot mate. Neutering, also known as castration in male cats, involves the surgical removal of the testicles. 

This procedure eliminates the production of sperm and significantly reduces the production of sex hormones in male cats. It eliminates the cat’s sexual urges.

Neutering is an effective birth control method that prevents unwanted behaviors like urine marking, and aggression in male and female cats. 

Besides the urge to mate, it eliminates the risk of certain health issues, including testicular cancer in a male cat.

Once a cat has been neutered, it loses the ability to reproduce and should no longer display mating behaviors. A neutered female cat should not engage in mating activities or produce sex pheromones.

The primary purpose of neutering is to control the population and improve the overall well-being of the individual cat. But on rare occasions, we have seen a spayed cat trying to mate with a neutered male or female cat.

4 Reasons Why a Neutered Cat Still Mate

1. Improper Procedure

If a neutered feline is still exhibiting mating behaviors, it may indicate an improperly performed neutering procedure. Neutering should eliminate the production of reproductive hormones responsible for mating behaviors in male and female cats.

Possible reasons why a neutered male or female cat might still mate due to an improper procedure include:

  1. Incomplete Neutering: Some reproductive tissues may have been left behind if the neutering procedure was not performed correctly. This will allow the female or male cat to produce hormones that drive mating behaviors.
  2. Cryptorchidism: In some cases, a testicle may not have descended properly into the scrotum of a male cat. This will make it more difficult to locate and remove during the neutering procedure. If an undescended testicle is not removed, it can continue to produce hormones in a male cat.
  3. Hormone-Producing Tissue Residue: Even with a successful neutering procedure, small amounts of hormone-producing tissue may remain, leading to the persistence of mating behaviors.

If you suspect that a neutering procedure was not successful, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian. A veterinarian can conduct a physical examination or hormonal testing to determine if there are any issues with the neutering procedure.

2. Time of Neutering

The timing of neutering can also determine whether a neutered feline exhibits mating behaviors. Neutering is typically performed at a young age, often before a cat reaches sexual maturity. 

Early neutering helps prevent the development of mating behaviors and reduces the likelihood of certain undesirable sexual behaviors.

However, if a cat is neutered after it has already developed mating behaviors, the behaviors may persist for some time. Cats neutered later in life may have established habits related to mating, and neutering alone may not eliminate these behaviors.

The persistence of mating behaviors in a neutered feline could be attributed to a combination of factors, including:

  • Learned behaviors
  • Residual hormonal influences
  • Individual variations in response to the neutering procedure

It’s essential to be patient and give the cat time to adjust after the neutering procedure. In many cases, behavioral changes become more apparent as the hormones associated with mating diminish over time.

If the behaviors persist or if there are concerns, consulting with a veterinarian for guidance is recommended.

3. Hormone Products in the Home

If a neutered pet is still exhibiting mating behaviors, it could be exposed to external sources of hormones in the environment. These external sources can interfere with the cat’s hormonal balance, potentially influencing its behavior. Here are a few ways this could happen:

  • Hormone Products in the Home: Household items like cleaning products or air fresheners contain chemicals that mimic or interfere with hormones. Prolonged exposure to these substances might affect the cat’s behavior.
  • Secondhand Exposure: The scent of these non-neutered animals could trigger sexual behavior in the neutered male cats. The presence of intact males or females in the vicinity may influence the neutered cat’s behavior.
  • Medical Conditions: Although less common, certain medical conditions can cause behavior changes. While not directly related to hormones, it’s essential to rule out any underlying health issues that might cause this behavior.

If you suspect external factors, you should consider evaluating the household environment for potential sources of hormonal disruption. Changing cleaning products, reducing exposure to scents from intact animals, and ensuring a generally stress-free environment can be helpful.

4. Misinterpreted Behaviors

Sometimes, what appears to be mating behavior in a spayed cat may be misinterpreted behavior. Neutering typically eliminates the hormonal influences that drive mating behaviors, but other factors or behaviors may resemble mating behaviors. Here are some possibilities:

  • Affectionate Behavior: Spayed cats may engage in behaviors that are misinterpreted as mating behaviors but are expressions of affection or bonding. For example, kneading, head-bunting, and rubbing against objects are common ways most cats express comfort and affection.
  • Playful Behavior: Cats, especially young ones, engage in play that may look similar to mating behaviors. Playful behavior can include chasing, pouncing, and wrestling, which might be mistaken for an urge to mate.
  • Territorial Marking: Neutered cats can still exhibit territorial marking behaviors, such as spraying urine, even though the intent is not mating-related.
  • Stress or Anxiety: Cats may exhibit abnormal behaviors, including excessive grooming or vocalization when stressed or anxious. These behaviors can sometimes be misinterpreted as an urge to mate.

Final Thoughts

Neutered cats don’t have the urge to mate, so they can’t threaten the reproductive system of a female cat. This doesn’t mean that the male will stop trying to mount a female in the future. But this will depend on various factors, including the cat’s age when neutered.

When done correctly, you might not have to deal with a neutered cat trying to mate in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a neutered feline reproduce?

No, spaying means the removal of the reproductive organs, so fertilization may never occur.

Can a spayed feline try to mate?

Yes, a male feline will still have the urge to have sex, but he may not be able to mate.

Can a spayed cat still spray?

Yes, a neutered feline can spray, as spaying won’t affect this function. However, the hormonal changes will make it possible for your cat to control the need to spray.

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