Cat Questions
why should i neuter my cat

Why Should I Neuter My Cat and How Does This Impact Their Diet?

Written by Steph McCulloch


Uncover the crucial reasons behind neutering your cat and explore its surprising effects on their diet. Delve into how this procedure influences your feline's nutritional needs and behaviour, ensuring you make informed decisions for your beloved pet's well-being.
a grey british shorthair cat looking into a pink bowl of kibble

What is neutering or spaying?

Most cats are neutered between 4 and 6 months old, depending on when they reach sexual maturity. This involves surgically removing their male reproductive organs to prevent them from reproducing. Neutered cats are also sometimes referred to as "spayed" in the case of female cats or "sterilised".

a black kitten laying down wearing a cone

Why should I neuter my cat?

The majority (if not all) of vets will recommend neutering your cat as it comes with a lot of health, behavioural and societal benefits. In fact, most cat charities run campaigns in the UK to encourage neutering, with some even offering to subsidise or fully cover the costs of neutering where a cat’s owner is unable to afford it.

The main reasons why veterinary professionals strongly encourage neutering are:

1. Health benefits

Having your cat neutered or spayed can have significant benefits for their overall health and well-being. For female cats, spaying removes the risk of uterine infections and lowers the likelihood of developing malignant mammary tumours. In male cats, neutering decreases the chances of testicular cancer.

2. Controlling the cat population

The cat population is already at an alarming level, with countless stray and abandoned cats struggling to survive. In the UK alone, there are over 750,000 stray cats either on the streets or in rescue centres. Rescue centres are unable to keep up with the number of cats being admitted and unfortunately have to resort to putting some very sick cats down because they don’t have the capacity to treat them.

An unneutered female cat can lead to 67 more kittens in the population in just two years. These kittens often end up on the streets, facing hunger and disease. They also harm other animal populations like birds.

3. Improving behaviour

Neutering or spaying your cat can have a significant positive impact on their behaviour. Unneutered male cats are prone to territorial marking - spraying urine to assert their dominance. This behaviour can lead to a strong, stinky odour in your home which is very difficult to get rid of. Neutering helps reduce or eliminate this behaviour altogether. It also decreases aggression and the instinct to roam, making your cat more content and less likely to engage in fights or escape.

Female cats in heat can display restlessness, loud screaming and attract unwanted attention from male cats. Spaying eliminates these behaviours, making your female cat more calm and relaxed.

a white cat eating out of a blue bowl of kibble whilst their owner pours more in. a grey bag of tippaws food is at the left of the frame.

How do my cat’s nutritional requirements change when they are neutered?

Neutered cats require fewer calories than unneutered cats as well as different daily intake percentages of the various macronutrients (e.g. protein, fat and carbohydrate). This is because their activity levels generally decrease and at the same time, the surgery affects their hormone levels and slows their metabolism. This combined with cat owners not adapting their cat’s caloric intake can result in weight gain.

In addition to weight gain, neutered male cats are at a higher risk for urinary tract problems. Feeding your neutered cat food that has been developed with a neutral pH can help prevent these health problems. It's also important to make sure that your cat has access to fresh drinking water at all times. Placing a few bowls around the house or having running water such as a cat water fountain is a great way of encouraging them to drink more.

a striped cat with very green eyes laying down on laminate flooring

The importance of a high-protein diet for neutered cats

One of the best things you can do to support your neutered cat in their recovery journey is to provide them with a diet rich in protein. A high-protein diet plays a vital role in any cat’s health - amino acids that increase metabolic rates such as L-carnitine are particularly important for neutered cats. L-carnitine occurs naturally in animal-based proteins, like meat, poultry, and fish, and some commercial cat foods, like Tippaws dry food, also contain it as a supplement. Studies suggest that L-carnitine may have other health benefits for cats, such as improving heart health, physical performance and reducing the risk of infections.

Protein is also important for neutered cats, as it helps maintain healthy muscle mass which can decrease when a cat is neutered.

And finally, another benefit of a high protein diet is that it will keep your cat fuller for longer, reducing their appetite and preventing them from over-eating.

The role of fat in a neutered cat’s diet

Fat is also an essential nutrient for cats, as it provides them with energy and helps support their skin and coat health. However, neutered cats require a diet that is lower in fat than unneutered cats. This is because neutered cats have a slower metabolism and are at a higher risk for obesity. Feeding your neutered cat a diet that is lower in fat can help prevent them from becoming overweight or obese.

a cat licking another cat on the head

Do cats need a lot of carbohydrates once they've been neutered?

Carbohydrates are not essential for cats, but they can provide them with energy. However, neutered cats require a diet that is low in carbohydrates. This is because a diet that is high in carbohydrates can contribute to weight gain and obesity.


In conclusion, neutering your cat is a decision that not only benefits their health and behaviour but also contributes positively to managing the cat population crisis. By preventing unwanted litters, you're helping to reduce the number of stray and abandoned cats, ultimately easing the burden on rescue centres and improving the welfare of all cats in the UK.

In addition, understanding and catering to the dietary needs of neutered cats is crucial for their overall well-being. Providing a balanced diet rich in protein, with controlled levels of fat and carbohydrates, can help maintain their weight and support their metabolic health. By neutering your cat and adjusting their diet accordingly, you're ensuring a healthier, happier life for your cat.

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