This is an interesting question. Neutering changes behavior but not personality. Is that possible? The best book on cat health¹ says this:
“Neutering does not change a male cat’s personality…”
The book then goes on to describe how the operation changes certain aspects of a male cat’s behavior such as:
- reducing or removing the urge to roam,
- eliminating or reducing sexual impulses,
- reducing or removing the aggressive behavior that accompanies sexual impulses.
Well, my initial reaction to this assessment from the high quality veterinarians who authored the book is that a male cat’s personality is changed because he doesn’t fancy the girls anymore. Also he likes to stay at home and snooze. Aren’t these personality changes?
There is obviously a fine line between behavior and personality but for me personality drives behavior. If behaviour changes it is because the personality has changed.
Another well know and respected book says this about neutering and behavior…
“has been shown to influence social behavior toward cats from outside the social group…[there is] and absence of maternal and sexual behaviours…another behaviour that is reduced in neutered colonies is aggression to members of neighbouring groups….²”
What does that mean in simple language? Neutered male cats are more accepting of newcomers (cats) to the household in multi-cat homes. That is, inline with the first comment, neutered cats are less aggressive due to a reduction in sex drive.
Neutering increases body weight. This is because he becomes more docile. Exercise will help. Hunting instincts are unaffected by neutering. After neutering male cats can become:
“more affectionate and more orientated towards people¹”
This seems to be a personality change (for the better with respect to people). If neutering takes place later in life the male cat may retain his sex drive after the operation.
P.S. Moving forward to March 2017, I have a neutered boy cat. I raised him from a young kitten and had him neutered. His personality did not change. In fact I saw no change to his behavior either.
- Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook
- The Welfare of Cats