First of all, I find myself with the moral obligation to remember that, from Cat Stuff, we fully defend that the best thing you can do with your domestic cat is to castrate it. In fact, I have already told you about neutering or spaying before.
That said, it is essential to know what the consequences of castration are and act in time to minimize any problem. The advantages of neutering are many more than the disadvantages, especially if previously informed.
An overweight or obese cat is a cat that has a greater tendency to suffer certain diseases, so it is our responsibility (that of their humans) to prevent them from gaining excess weight. If castration can mean weight gain, you have to understand what happens and what to do with it.
What happens after castration?
There are few studies in-depth enough and meticulous in confirming that castration or sterilization leads to weight gain. One of the most interesting and conclusive is that of this link, which was made in 2014 by the University of Medicine of California.
In this study, they emphasize that, since there are many other factors that influence the increase in kilos, it is difficult to assess what degree of influence castration has.
But that, in any case, certain common behaviors that could determine a relationship between castration and weight gain have been seen, confirming that sterilization is a factor that contributes to the development of obesity in cats.
Hormonal changes and increased appetite
The factors that influence weight gain are very diverse: the activity of the pussy, age, the environment … and castration can be one more, mainly because of the hormonal change it entails.
As explained in this study of the National Veterinary School of Nantes, castration causes immediate hormonal changes in the cat, such as the increase in prolactin (PRL) and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF- I), both involved in the development of adipose tissue and glucose intolerance.
In conclusion, this study confirms that castration rapidly modifies the hormonal balance, and hyperleptinemia is apparently a consequence of excess weight.
Castrated cats do not have the stimulation caused by sex hormones in fertile cats. This change of hormones usually also supposes an increase in appetite in the minors and a logical decrease in their physical activity. Some studies, such as this one from the University of California, have confirmed the relationship of more appetite and less activity in neutered cats.
We all know that the formula of + food and – exercise is a time bomb. It is not surprising then that many neutered cats tend to get fat.
Prevent and control
Seeing the changes that castration causes in most cats, it is best to have some control and watch over our cats.
The first thing is to control the amount of food you eat, something that is often complicated. Maybe we have to make some changes to get it, like putting little food on it and supplying it at certain times of the day. This would be a different way of acting for those of us who practice ad libitum feeding, in which the cat is self-regulating, but it is necessary when controlling quantities.
Another thing is to see what kind of food we are giving and if it has the necessary nutrients for the age and activity of our cat. If in doubt, consult your veterinarian or a feline nutritionist.
Finally, encourage exercise in your cat. The best formula to do so is to play with the pussycat.