So, Your Cat Is A Cryptorchid

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Of all the things the vet can tell you about your kitten, "he's a cryptorchid" has to be among the most confusing. As a pet owner, you may never have heard this word before, and you're right to be concerned about what it might mean for your kitty. But rest assured — this is just a common condition in which one or both testicles have not descended into the scrotum. It will make having your cat neutered a bit more complicated, but beyond that, you really have nothing to be concerned about. To further relax your nerves, keep reading to learn more about cryptorchidism and how vets deal with it.

Where are your cat's testicles?

Sometimes, the owner of a cryptorchid kitten will assume something is wrong with it, or even that the kitten has already been neutered because they cannot detect the testicles inside the kitten's scrotum. However, the testicles are there. They are just situated up in the abdomen where they developed while the kitten was in utero. Usually, the testicles descend into the scrotum shortly after a kitten is born, but when this does not happen, the kitten is known as a cryptorchid.

Does the kitten still need to be neutered?

Yes. Even though the testicles are still located in the abdomen, they will eventually begin to produce testosterone and sperm. The cat, when mature, may have a lower sperm count than normal, but it will still be possible for them to get a female cat pregnant. Also, since the testicles will be producing testosterone, cryptorchid cats show all the same behaviors as non-neutered male cats whose testicles have descended. They may urinate all over the house to mark their territory, act aggressively to other cats, and try to get out of the house to mate with females in the neighborhood. Neutering the cat will prevent these behaviors.

How are cryptorchids neutered?

Sometimes the vet may recommend waiting a little longer to see if the testicles descend on their own. Occasionally, a cat will simply be a late-bloomer, and they may come down by 6 months or so, at which point, the cat can be neutered via the standard procedure. If the testicles have not descended by about 6 months, though, the vet will perform the neutering procedure via an abdominal incision. This is more invasive than a traditional neuter, so it will take your kitty a few extra days to recover, but your vet will provide pain relievers to keep them comfortable during the process.

If your vet has informed you that your kitty is a cryptorchid, don't worry. This is an inconvenience, but your kitty can still be neutered and can still go on to live a long and healthy life.

Contact a local veterinarian to learn more about spay and neuter services for cats.

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