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Besides taking away your cats “manhood” or “womanhood,” you may have other concerns about spaying and neutering. One prominent concern is whether a cat will gain weight afterward. This would not only lead to your cat being “out of shape,” but also increase his risk of many health conditions including diabetes, arthritis, and urinary tract disease.

Research seems to support the trend of cats gaining weight after getting fixed, according to the Feline Advisory Bureau. This is because the surgery slows down a cat’s metabolism by roughly 20 percent. Because of this slowdown, less sustenance is necessary for maintaining a cat’s body mass. This means that a cat post-neutering can eat the exact same amount of food as before, but still gain a noticeable amount of weight. It has also been noted that the cats appetite may simultaneously increase because of the extra nutritional support needed causing a perfect storm for weight gain.  

It becomes necessary then, to reduce your cats daily caloric intake after surgery. Your vet can help you with determining this amount. Adjusting your cats food intake may be one way to curb the weight gain while another less sought after route would be to switch from dry food to wet food. Kibble is made up mainly of carbohydrates. As a carnivore, protein from meat is your cats preferred fuel for its tank. This may be a way to satisfy your pets appetite and avoid excess weight gain at the same time. This theory would only be successful when kibble is avoided completely. When using dry food either solely or along with wet food, portion control should adamantly be executed.

Always eek out food that is made from natural, high-quality ingredients during this important time since most cats are spayed or neutered when they are still young and growing. Also, make changes in the type and amount of food given gradual to avoid upsetting your cat’s digestion.

 If you are away form home most of the day, an automatic feeder where your cat can come and graze at anytime may make sense, so long as you are sure not to fill it with more food than your cat is allotted for in that time frame. When possible though, offer up the food only at meal times to help your cat  with portion control. And who doesn’t love to see their cat come running and meowing when they hear the sound of the cat food bag or the pop of the canned wet food signaling its feeding time?

Exercise is also a key component to regulate your cats weight, avoid disease, as well as provide an outlet and stimulation for his emotional and cognitive needs. Cats are made to move. They may no longer need to hunt for their food in their new domesticated dwellings but they still have the instincts to pounce, chase, and play. Be sure to provide stimulating play time for your feline regularly with toys he can play on his own as well as ones you play together. A toy on a string that you cast out and then temptingly lure back in will get his attention. Occasionally treating your furry friend to some catnip is a fun way to put him in a playful mood.