“Will a neutered male cat hurt kittens?” you type into your Google search bar, hoping to get some answers. You’ve done your research and read pretty much every single article you could find talking about the pros and cons of neutering and spaying cats while they’re young.
You know everything about the pet population explosion that’s been going on for years because of the failure to neuter and spay stray cats, as well as domestic cats that don’t need to have kittens. But, you’re also aware that very, very young female felines bear kittens and males go around making kittens like it’s nothing.
And, vets have been warning everyone that our fluffy friends that aren’t planning on bearing kittens should get neutered or spayed at around four months of age.
Anything later than that seems like playing Russian Roulette, only with kittens that need a roof over their head, a bowl of food every single day, and plenty of love and attention.
Not to mention that males behave 100% better when they’re neutered! They stop marking, spraying, and roaming. There’s no chasing after females because, for the most part, they’re no longer attracted to them.
They also stop attacking other male cats because they’re no longer as territorial as they used to be. Essentially, they become the opposite of aggressive.
So will a neutered male cat hurt kittens? Now, you might think that the answer to that question would be a resounding “No!” considering what we learned about them. But, neutered male cats have been known to attack kittens that belong to another cat for reasons that might surprise you.
What’s a neutered male cat?
Before we can even begin to unravel whether and why neutered male cats hurt kittens, we have to define what neutered male cats are, right? Many ask, “What are neutered male cats? What’s the difference between spaying and neutering a cat? What do spaying and neutering do?”
First things first, neutering happens when a veterinarian surgically removes a male cat’s testicles. Neutering is a rather simple procedure that takes a couple of minutes. Your cat should be as good as new a couple of days later.
Neutering serves the purpose of preventing your male cat from fathering kittens, as well as mending aggressive behavior. On the other hand, spaying is when a veterinarian removes your female cat’s uterus and ovaries.
While spaying does take a couple of minutes, the recovery time lasts a bit longer than that of neutering. But, spaying serves a similar purpose – making your female cat unable to bear kittens. Both spaying and neutering prevent unwanted kittens, fend off health problems, and reduce behavioral issues.
And, that means that a neutered male cat is one that has been ridden of the ability to father kittens.
But we can’t forget about the other advantages of neutering your male cat. Preventing aggressive behavior, reducing the risk of serious health problems, and keeping hormones under control are only some of them.
“So why do neutered male cats hurt kittens, then?” Your four-legged friend’s aggression might come from other sources such as genetics or the breed. Or it may be a form of attention-seeking behavior. And, that’s not even everything – keep reading to find out more!
Why will a neutered male cat hurt kittens?
1. He’s jealous
A neutered male cat may hurt kittens if he’s jealous. You might have a hard time understanding why a cat would be jealous of a kitten, but such behavior is pretty common among cats – especially males.
Why would a neutered male cat be jealous of a kitten? One of the most prominent reasons for a male cat to become covetous of a kitten is when he notices you’re paying more attention to the kitten than to him. Quite childish, but also quite understandable, don’t you think?
And, a male cat might attack and hurt the kitten because of that urge to “get rid of anything that’s preventing him from achieving what he wants.” He might also become overcome by a sudden strike of resentment when he notices how much attention the mama cat is now giving to the kitten.
2. He’s overwhelmed
Oh boy, an overwhelmed cat (male or otherwise) won’t shy away from attacking anyone or anything! And no, he doesn’t do so because he’s aggressive. Or because he’s been planning the attack for weeks, just waiting for the right moment. More times than not, an overwhelmed cat acts on the spur of the moment.
Even though you pay attention to what’s going on when your male neutered cat is hanging out with kittens, you might not predict the attack. But there are ways to be able to predict it.
An overwhelmed cat displays a bunch of other symptoms beforehand. Crouching, ears pushed backward, eyes wide open throwing glances at the door, or staring at the floor are only some of them.
3. He’s stressed out
“Will a neutered male cat hurt kittens? My cat’s been stressed out for the past couple of weeks and he hasn’t been able to get used to the little ones. Not only that, he hasn’t been able to get back to the routine he had before they came along.“
Does that sound like your Purrince? Because you might be right to doubt him!
In fact, most male cats attack other animals when they’re overwhelmed and stressed out. And they start feeling that way when something’s threatening their territory (including their human). Or when they’re presented with changes they didn’t have time to get used to – such as kittens.
4. He’s experienced a traumatic event
Nothing makes a cat more aggressive, stressed out, and unpredictable than experiencing a traumatic event when growing up. And, not knowing whether or not they were abused makes things even worse – especially if you’ve adopted them from a shelter or saved them from the streets.
Maybe your neutered male cat is lashing out because someone abused him when he was younger. Maybe he’s attacking your kittens because someone treated him poorly at the shelter. Or perhaps he’s considering hurting your kitten because someone hurt him the same way.
Whatever the case, there’s a possibility you can turn things around for him!
5. He’s territorial
A neutered male cat may attack and hurt kittens if he feels like they’ve invaded his territory. Territorial aggression is a real thing among cats. There’s hardly anything you can do once he sets his heart on getting rid of the competition.
And, to make matters worse, your cat might consider different parts of your apartment (or the entire apartment) his territory. That means that he might attack anyone that dares approach or occupy it. Trust me, friends, neighbors, or even other cats (and their kittens) aren’t safe when he’s around.
How to stop a neutered male cat from hurting kittens?
“So, a male neutered cat will attack my kittens. But, how do you keep them safe without getting rid of the cat?” A lot of pet parents might ask this question. Our short answer would be that you don’t have to get rid of your cat. But you might have to do away with some routines you established with him beforehand.
Not only that, but we’ve prepared a couple of suggestions that should make your life smoother right off the bat.
1. Have a spray bottle with water near you AT ALL TIMES
Water might not be the first thing your mind goes to when you’re thinking “Hmm, what could help me protect my kittens from an attack?” But, water is a great way of chasing away unwanted attention without hurting the one that’s bearing the attention.
Cats hate water (most of them, at least) and take off the moment that a drop touches the fluff. Keeping a water-filled spray bottle with you at all times ensures you have a weapon you can use when your male neutered cat starts with aggressive behavior. Spray, spray, spray and the menace’s gone!
2. Purchase a bunch of fragrances that cats hate
That’s right, you can protect your kittens from a neutered male cat by purchasing a bunch of fragrances he doesn’t like. Now, doing this makes more sense if you’re uneasy about a cat that doesn’t live with you and your kittens (maybe a neighbor’s cat or a simple stray).
Trust me, the moment that the target cat starts catching whiffs of the fragrance, she won’t bother coming anywhere near your apartment. Cats loathe a bunch of scents, so we’re sure you won’t have trouble picking your favorites out of the bunch. But make sure you don’t keep them near your kittens!
3. Get plants that cats hate
Getting your hands on a bunch of plants cats hate might sound like a bad thought. Come on, you literally have a bunch of cats living with you! But, that’s not to say that you can’t use these plants to your advantage when dealing with aggressive, neutered male cats.
First things first, place the plants within reach of your male neutered cat (but, don’t place them somewhere where your kittens spend a lot of time).
On your porch, at the front door, around your garden (if you’re dealing with your neighbor’s cat), or on the floor of one of your rooms (when it’s your own cat). And voilà!
4. Keep your kittens safe with physical barriers
Unfortunately, a neutered male cat could try to hurt kittens. But, that’s not to say that you can’t stop him with physical barriers. Depending on whether we’re talking about your own cat or a random cat, you could place the barriers wherever you need them.
Essentially, just make sure you separate the kittens from the male neutered cat. Maybe you can reserve a room for each, place physical barriers between their beds, or even use them to stop the male cat from entering your home. Again, the strategy depends on whether the male cat lives with you or not.