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.