Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I have four boys, brothers from the same litter, that are now a year old. I need to get them neutered, but I’m wondering if there is a particular order they should be done in? Ideally, I’d like to take them all at once, but there’s no way — I can’t transport them together. I’m concerned that whoever goes first would lose his position in their hierarchy. I already have two that are trying to dominate a third (both pick on the same one), so it seems that if I choose poorly, one or more may suffer for it.
Most likely I’m over-thinking. But although I’ve been a “parent” for more than 25 years, this is my first experience with true siblings and the first time I’ve been present even as they were born. (I have their mom too. She was a young stray and she was spayed in August. She’s mostly stopped discipline with them now.)
Thanks for your help and for your site — I’m new to it, but it’s impressive.
Siouxsie: Wow, this is like one of those logic puzzles where you have to transport six people across a river using a boat that only fits two, but you can’t leave one person alone on either side! Tee hee hee!
Thomas: Siouxsie, you’re awfully giggly today. You didn’t even bother to thank Mikey for the kind compliment!
Siouxsie: I’ve just come back from Mama’s office, where people were adoring me all day and I didn’t have to get chased around by that slinky little miscreant …
Bella: I’m not a miscreant! You’re a party pooper!
Thomas: Anyway, Mikey, we do have an idea: If you can take two of the kittens at a time, we’d recommend you take the more aggressive ones first. Maybe you can borrow an extra cat carrier if you need it.
Bella: The more aggressive ones are probably closer to full-on tomcat status, so they should be done first anyway, in order to avoid an epidemic of spraying.
Siouxsie: The next day, bring the other two in for their “big boy surgeries.” That way they’ll all be recovering together.
Thomas: It takes about three weeks after neutering for a cat’s testosterone levels to bottom out, so after that time most of the typical male-cat aggressiveness will be gone.
Bella: On the other hand, if you want to give the shyer kittens a chance to build their confidence, take the aggressive ones in first and then wait a week or so to bring the others in.
Siouxsie: Keep in mind, though, that cats still have a hierarchy and they will still enforce it. If you can bring them in for their neuters as closely together as possible, you reduce the risk that there will be sedition and bloodshed as the hierarchy reforms.
Thomas: If you can only bring one at a time, start with the aggressive ones and then move on to the shyer ones.
Bella: It probably won’t make that much difference in the long run. Neutering is a pretty easy surgery to recover from, as surgeries go …
Thomas: Speak for yourself!
Bella: Hey, they cut my tummy open to spay me, and it hurt for days!
Thomas: Oh yeah? Well, my butt was sore for at least an hour after my surgery.
Siouxsie: Oh, boo hoo. Well, I’m so bad-ass that I pulled out my own stitches even though it hurt!
Thomas: Must you try to one-up every kitty?
Siouxsie: Must you act like an hour of pain is the worst thing that ever happened to anyone?
Bella: Oh, come on! I’m the only one who gets to snap at Siouxsie!
Thomas and Siouxsie: Be quiet when grown-ups are talking!
Thomas: As I was saying, neutering is a quick surgery and the recovery is quick too. You may be over-thinking things a bit, but it’s awfully kind of you to take your cats’ social dynamics into consideration.
Siouxsie: I do think that if it’s a viable option, taking the cats in pairs is the best choice. That way they can comfort one another at the clinic and during their recovery.
Bella: We hope this helps. Please let us know how things turn out … oh, and do send us a picture!
Thomas: Have any of you readers had multiple cats that needed to be neutered at the same time? How did you do it? Do you have any tips for Mikey? Please share your ideas in the comments.
Wow – that is a logic puzzle….and mom was bad at those in college. MOL
we agree though – if you can take them in pairs, that might be better. we are lucky in that with our fosters most are pretty little, so they all go together. :)
I had Mimi and her children spayed and neutered in two shifts, girls then boys. Mimi had been in heat off and on since giving birth and after multiple litters my vet and the surgeon wanted to wait until her hormones calmed down and she totally quit lactating, but the boys were coming up to an age where they might figure things out. I had Mimi and Mewsette done one week and the three boys the next, and their relationships remained consistent before and after.
They still sleep in a heap like little kittens and wrestle and bathe each other, and their mom cuddles and plays like one of the kids.
Thanks everyone! I actually hadn’t really considered two & two, but it DOES make absolute sense! For the most part, they’re alright together — but once it gets to be ‘bedtime’ for me (and the ‘nocturnal’ part doesn’t help at all – we’re all up all night!) then they just go crazy!!!
The one that they pick on WAS the smallest, once upon a time – but now he’s actually the longest and most heavily muscled of the group. I don’t understand why he puts up with their shenanigans – and sometimes he doesn’t! There’s been more than one punch thrown at his two tormentors.
One of the aggressive ones has taken to peeing on things that are NOT the litter box. Primarily the couch (leather) which now gets a heavy cover every night, sometimes my mattress (yay) and twice, ME! I hope those are incidents of spraying and not symptomatic of other problems. He uses the litterbox just fine, but every day there’s one ‘magic spot’.
Thanks again for your kind assistance. I will definitely let you know how things turn out. How do I post pics for you to see my fur-family???
Kittens can be spayed and neutered fairly young so I’m surprised you waited a whole year. I’m also surprised they are all not spraying all over the place as they are now adults. I’d get the most aggressive ones neutered first or else take them all (some clinics give discounts on more than one cat). Good luck with them all. Hopefully they will all settle down and be nice brothers to each other.
We’ve always taken our kittens one at a time and have never had a problem with the pecking order. Good luck!