Cat Spay and Neuter: Identifying the Signs in Your Feline Friend

Cat spaying and neutering is a common, veterinarian-recommended procedure. If you get an adult cat, though, it can be difficult to tell if this process has already taken place.

Spay and neuter cat - Tabby cat lying on its side looking left.

Spaying & neutering have medical benefits and can be important to cat care.

Having your cat fixed is a responsible way to control the pet population as well as behavior. Cat spaying and neutering have also been shown to reduce the chance of cancer in the reproductive organs of your feline friend. Thus, it’s helpful to know if your cat has been spayed or neutered if you are adopting an adult cat. Here are some ways to ascertain their condition:

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Ask if a Cat Has Been Spay or Neutered: If buying a cat from a friend, or a pet store; don’t be shy about asking if the prospective pet is fixed. This is important, relevant information, and will save you the time of checking. Even if you are adopting a pet from a shelter, the employees there may know the cat’s status.
  • Check the Ear: Cats are often tattooed inside of their ear to relay information about the cat. If there is an “M” inside the cat’s ear, that means the animal is microchipped. Any other tattoos, or indications like clipped ears, generally mean the cat has been spayed or neutered.
  • Belly Hair: When pet cats are spayed or neutered, the fur in their lower abdominal area needs to be shaved. If your pet is bare in this area or is sporting short hair here, it may be a sign that they were fixed. Of course, this isn’t guaranteed, and you may want to look further.
  • Scars: Cat spaying will usually leave a scar behind. This mark, though, is usually tiny and can disappear after a while. Also, if your cat’s hair has grown over their lower abdomen, it may be impossible to find. In this case, it may be wiser to wait, and see if your pet cat goes into heat, or take the feline to the veterinarian to get checked out.
  • Checking a Male Cat: Checking to see if a male cat has been neutered is easier than checking for cat spaying. In the male’s case, you must simply check the lower abdominal area of your pet cat to see if his testicles remain. Hold your cat with his stomach up, parting the fur in the lower abdomen to find where the testicles would be, which should be under below the tail and anus and above the penis. Sometimes you will be able to see the testicles there, but you can also try to gently feel this area for the testicles, which will be large and hard. If the area is soft and fleshy, then your pet has most likely been neutered. This, however, is not a guarantee, as many cats have undescended testicles. If you want to be sure of your cat’s status, you should take him to a veterinarian.

If your cat hasn't been spayed or neutered yet, consult your veterinarian. Also, be sure to check out our articles on after-spay and after-neuter care.

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