Tomcat vs Neutered Cat: Physical & Behavioral Comparison (2023)

Tomcat vs Neutered Cat: Physical & Behavioral Comparison (1)

Cats make awesome pets. They require low maintenance, are quiet, and can be very independent.

Cats reach sexual maturity around 4 months, and most experts suggest neutering them around that time or even before. Neutering your pets can provide them with a lot of benefits to their health and behavior and can help control the cat population.

Male cats, or tomcats, in particular, can benefit from being neutered by removing the risk of testicular cancer. Neutering can also alter the behaviors of different tomcat breeds.

Check out the table below to see the differences between a tomcat vs neutered cat.


Neutered Cat

Physical Differences

Thicker headsSmaller heads
MuscularSlimmer frame
Testicles are presentLack of testicles
Developed JowlsLack of Jowls

Behavioral Differences

Likes to wander a lotStays close to home
Aggressive towards other malesNot aggressive towards other males
Has a strong odor and no hygieneClean
Sprays urine to mark territoryDoes not mark territory

Table of Contents

  • What is a Tomcat?
  • What is a Neutered Cat?
  • Differences
    • 1. Testicles
    • 2. Physical attributes
    • 3. Smell and urine
    • 4. Behavior
  • Pros and Cons of Neutered Cat
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Conclusion

What is a Tomcat?

Tomcat vs Neutered Cat: Physical & Behavioral Comparison (2)

The term “tomcat” comes from the 1760s book by Willoughby Mynors titled “The Life and Adventures of a Cat.” The book’s main character is a wild male cat called “Tom the Cat” with many female lovers.

Over time “Tom the Cat” was shortened to tomcat, meaning a sexually mature male cat of any breed. Tomcats, or unfixed male cats are known to be aggressive and territorial.

Tomcats love to roam around and look for females to breed. They tend to get into fights with other tomcats over their territory or partners. A tomcat looks much larger than any other cat breed and has a stronger smell than its neutered counterparts.

What is a Neutered Cat?

Tomcat vs Neutered Cat: Physical & Behavioral Comparison (3)

A neutered cat is a cat that has had its reproductive organs surgically removed. Male cats are neutered or “fixed” by having their testicles removed. The process is relatively painless, and the wound caused by the incision will heal easily.

The primary purpose of neutering cats is to stop them from breeding. Cats tend to make a lot of kittens and can cause overpopulation in the area. This overpopulation can cause several things, such as:

(Video) Male vs. Female Cats: The Differences

  • Overcrowded pet shelters
  • Death of other wildlife, such as birds
  • Reduced biodiversity
  • Dangerous diseases such as rabies
  • Dangerous parasites relevant to Alzheimer

Neutering male cats can also reduce several behavioral patterns in tomcats. Neutered cats are much less aggressive and stop them from urine marking or “spraying,” which is typical tomcat behavior.


Because neutered cats do not undergo complete sexual maturity, they have many differences to male tomcats. In this section, we will break down in detail the differences between neutered vs unneutered male cat.

1. Testicles

Tomcat vs Neutered Cat: Physical & Behavioral Comparison (4)

The most obvious difference between the tomcat and the neutered cat is the presence of their testicles found underneath their tails. Neutered cats have theirs surgically removed at a young age.

The testicles produce most testosterone found in male cats. Testosterone is a sexual hormone that controls the sexual behavior found in male felines. The amount of testosterone in their bodies is the primary reason for the behavioral and physical differences between a tomcat and a neutered cat.

2. Physical attributes

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Neutered cats are generally smaller compared to tomcat size. Tomcats are much more bulky and muscular. Another important distinction is the tomcat vs neutered cat face.

When a male cat is not neutered, they develop what is known as tomcat jowls or tomcat cheeks. These chubby cheeks, which are perfect for pictures, are caused by testosterone and can be used as a signal to other cats that they are fertile.

The jowl also covers parts of their neck, making them less vulnerable when fighting.

3. Smell and urine

Tomcat vs Neutered Cat: Physical & Behavioral Comparison (6)

Tomcats are much smellier compared to neutered cats. This is caused by larger scent glands found in their tails which can also make their urines smell much more unpleasant.

4. Behavior

Tomcat vs Neutered Cat: Physical & Behavioral Comparison (7)

Due to the presence of testosterone, Tomcats are likely to look for female cats so that they can breed. This causes tomcats to be territorial, aggressive, and love to roam around.

  • Tomcats like to mark their territory by spraying or urine marking. This can be bad if they are kept as pets since it would stink up the place.
  • Tomcats are also competitive and aggressive. They will fight other cats for a mate, and they usually end up with wounds and scars.
  • Roaming to look for mates is also common for tomcats. However, this can be dangerous as they are much more likely to get into accidents or be exposed to diseases.
(Video) 10 Fascinating Facts about Male Cats

On the other hand:

  • Neutered catsrarely, if ever, exhibit these behaviors. Since they have less testosterone, unneutered male cat behavior means they are less likely to look for a mate and be aggressive.
  • Neutered cats also spend more time grooming themselves, which makes them cleaner and less likely to be sick.

Pros and Cons of Neutered Cat

Tomcat vs Neutered Cat: Physical & Behavioral Comparison (8)

If you are thinking about getting a cat, here are some pros and cons you should consider before neutering them.


  • Removes the Risk of Breeding
  • Cleaner and Less Aggressive Pets
  • Healthier Pets


  • Can no longer breed
  • Changes Appearance
  • May gain weight

Neutered cats are by definition sterilized cats. Neutering your pet eliminates the risk of breeding and can help with the problem of cat overpopulation. However, neutering is not an option if you plan to breed your cat.

Neutered cats make good pets because they are more well-behaved. They are clean and not prone to fights with other cats. A neutered cat also has smaller frames which aren’t great if you are planning on having a muscular cat with tomcat jowls.

The biggest pro of neutered cats is that they are much healthier across the board compared to unneutered ones. Removing their testicles means there is no risk of testicular cancer and reduced chances of prostate cancer.

Neutering, in some cases, causes weight gain in cats. Since they are less likely to spend their time looking for a mate, they do not spend a lot of energy, which can lead to unhealthy weight gain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tomcat vs Neutered Cat: Physical & Behavioral Comparison (9)

Do tom cats fight with neutered cats?

Tom cats are territorial and will engage in fighting with other cats if they perceive them as having entered their area. Neutered cats are less likely to fight with other cats.

How do you tell if your cat is a Tomcat?

A simple visual check can help you determine if your male cat is a tomcat. Simply check the lower abdominal area to see if they have testicles.

What is a neutered male cat called?

A neutered male cat is often called “Gib” from the name “Gilbert”. “Tibs” for “Tybalt” is another term used in the French language.

How big do tomcats get?

The size and weight of a cat are dependent on its cat breed. The average tomcat can reach about 7 lbs. Neutered male cats might be a bit smaller than tomcats, but that can still depend upon other factors such as diet and nutrition.

What kind of cat is a tom?

Tom or tomcats are male cats that have reached sexual maturity and can come from any breed. Toms are much more aggressive and territorial than neutered male cats.


The differences between a tomcat vs neutered cat is quite significant. Behaviorally, tomcats are more aggressive and territorial, while neutered cats are much calmer and cleaner. Neutered cats are also much slimmer than muscular tomcats.

Additionally, neutered cats tend to be healthier as they like to groom themselves and have less risk of certain cancers. However,

If you decide whether you want a tomcat or a gib, then you should think carefully since neutering your cat is irreversible. It is best you consult a veterinarian so that you can be informed of the best option for the wellbeing of your cat.

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Tomcat vs Neutered Cat: Physical & Behavioral Comparison (10)

Amy Sawy

Hi, I am Amy Sawy, a veterinary professional working in the field for nearly 15 years. This site is established to provide cat guardians access to helpful information and health care advice. My co-worker and I run this site mainly to help inexperienced families currently taking care of their cats without professional guidance.


What is the difference between a neutered cat and a Tomcat? ›

The differences between a tomcat vs neutered cat is quite significant. Behaviorally, tomcats are more aggressive and territorial, while neutered cats are much calmer and cleaner. Neutered cats are also much slimmer than muscular tomcats.

Should I neuter my Tomcat? ›

A single male cat can father many litters so that neutering of intact males is essential for population control. Although sexual desire will be greatly reduced by castration, some experienced males may continue to show sexual interest in females.

What is the difference between a male cat and a tomcat? ›

A male cat is called a “tomcat” or a “tom” for short. This term came from a book published in the 1700s called “The Life and Adventures of a Cat.” The main character of the book was named Tom, and he went around and wooed many female cats.

What are the benefits of neutering a tom cat? ›

Benefits of Neutering (males):

Less desire to roam, therefore less likely to be injured in fights or auto accidents. Risk of testicular cancer is eliminated, and decreases incidence of prostate disease. Reduces number of unwanted cats/kittens/dogs/puppies. Decreases aggressive behavior, including dog bites.

Are neutered male cats less aggressive? ›

Spaying and neutering greatly reduces aggression in cats. More to the point, because of their impulse to be territorial it's often impossible to resolve aggression among cats if one or more cats is intact.

What is the disadvantage of neutering a male cat? ›

One of the disadvantages of neutering is that the metabolism can decrease. This may lead to cats becoming overweight more easily. Obesity, in turn, can cause several other problems, such as urinary tract problems, diabetes and osteoarthritis.

Are neutered male cats calmer? ›

Another positive aspect of neutering your cat is that neutering can result in a calmer, and sometimes cleaner, home. Without the drive to mate, your cat may be quieter and not prone to cat calls and an incessant need to seek out a mate. The neutered cat no longer feels the need to seek out and serenade females.

What are the disadvantages of neutering a cat? ›


Neutering will result in the sterilization of your cat. Neutering may cause weight gain. Some cats gain weight after neutering. Intact animals typically have a strong mating desire and can expend a lot of energy seeking a mate and reproducing.

Do male cats know they've been neutered? ›

While they may be groggy from the anesthesia post-op, spayed or neutered pets won't know they've lost the ability to reproduce. They simply won't feel the desire, or have the capacity, to do so.

Can a neutered cat still look like he has balls? ›

When a cat is castrated, the testicles are removed but the scrotum (ball sack) isn't. This means sometimes they look like they still have testicles after their operation. Over time the scrotum will shrink and become less noticeable.

Do unneutered male cats pee everywhere? ›

Although female cats as well as neutered and spayed cats can urine mark, unneutered males have more reason to do so. One function of urine marking is to advertise reproductive availability, so unneutered males may urine mark to let females know they are available. There are multiple cats in the household.

Are Tomcats more affectionate? ›

Myth: Male cats are more affectionate towards humans and bond really well with their owners. Female cats are aloof and, because of their mothering instincts, prefer other cats to humans. Reality: This usually comes down to your cat's individual personality.

How do you tell if your cat is a Tomcat? ›

Unaltered male cats are commonly referred to as “Tom” cats. Intact male cats have a characteristic appearance, with a heavier, more muscular body, thick neck and the typical big, heavy tomcat head.

Can a Tomcat be a house cat? ›

A Tomcat can be a good pet.

Just like any other cat, a tomcat will appreciate a good loving home to provide him with food, warmth, comfort and snuggles. However, the need to mate will far outweigh the need for cuddles.

Are neutered cats healthier? ›

Spaying a female cat, especially before the first heat, helps prevent uterine infections, uterine cancers, and breast cancer. Neutering male cats eliminates the chances of testicular cancer and lowers the risk of prostate problems. Generally, spayed and neutered pets live healthier, longer, and happier lives.

What age should a male cat be neutered? ›

For females, spaying before the cat reaches 5 months of age would eliminate the behaviors displayed when in heat as well as unwanted pregnancies. For male cats, neutering before 5 months of age would substantially reduce or eliminate male territorial marking, fighting, and roaming.

How long does it take for a male cat to calm down after being neutered? ›

Once spayed or neutered, keep in mind that it may take up to one month after the surgery for the cat to exhibit appropriate behavior. Also note that cats spayed or neutered after 1-2 years of age may continue aggressive behavior.

Do male cats become more aggressive after neutering? ›

A Cat's Recovery After Neutering

Cats can also sometimes be aggressive as the result of the discomfort they are feeling, so we also recommend keeping other people and pet's away from your furry friend during this time.

Do cats become more friendly after neutering? ›

Does Spaying and Neutering Promote Affection? Because most research on spaying and neutering cats has been focused on studying population control, there is currently no evidence to prove that male cats are more affectionate before or after neutering, Posluns says.

Why are my cats balls big after neutering? ›

In some cats, the remaining scrotum may fill up with fluid, as post castration there are no testicles to fill the space. If the swelling appears to be bigger than the testicles that were there before, call us for advice. Please prevent your cat from licking the procedure site as this can lead to infection.

Why are my cats balls turning black after being neutered? ›

Bruising – Occasionally pets will experience some bruising of the scrotal area after neutering. This is thought to occur as a result of “seeping” of several microscopic blood vessels under the skin. This is more common in light colored pets, middle age and older pets and large breed dogs.

How do you take care of a male cat after neutering? ›

What care will the cat need after the operation? The vet will probably advise you to keep the cat indoors for a few days after surgery. It may need to wear a buster collar, a plastic lampshade-shape collar to stop it chewing its stitches. Stitches may need removing after seven or 10 days, or may be dissolvable.

Why did my neutered cat pee on me? ›

Stress and Anxiety Can Cause Inappropriate Urination

After medical conditions, stress and anxiety are the most common causes of inappropriate urination in cats. Cats can be stressed or anxious about many things that humans might not immediately recognize.

Why is my neutered male cat peeing on the floor? ›

Frustration, stress and anxiety are common causes of inappropriate urinating in cats and can be a way for cats to show they are not feeling too happy about something. You should try and work out what could be causing your cat to feel stressed so that you can remove or at least reduce, the stressor.

Why did my cat pee on my bed in front of me? ›

In particular, a cat that feels unsafe or vulnerable in any way can take to peeing on your bed. Similarly, a bored or under-stimulated cat can also start peeing in inappropriate areas as a way to communicate their need for more stimulation with you.

How do you tell if your cat is a tomcat? ›

Unaltered male cats are commonly referred to as “Tom” cats. Intact male cats have a characteristic appearance, with a heavier, more muscular body, thick neck and the typical big, heavy tomcat head.

Why does my neutered cat have tomcat cheeks? ›

To put it simply: testosterone. Chubby cheeks are specific to unneutered male cats, but it's important to know that not all unneutered males develop these swollen cheeks. The impressive jowls are also not fat, but rather thickened skin.

What is a neutered tomcat called? ›

Gib - a castrated male cat; most people use the term "a neuter" instead. Guardian - another "politically correct" term for a pet cat's owner or a feral cat's caregiver.

What makes a male cat a tomcat? ›

A tomcat is a domesticated male cat.

Specifically, they are sexually active adult male cats that have not been neutered. Because of this, they will roam in search of a female cat in heat. They will not hesitate to encroach on another male's territory to seek a female to mate with.

Are Tomcats friendlier? ›

"Most researchers agree that we can rate cats on a dimension called sociability, which encompasses traits that characterize cats as friendly and loving," Posluns says. "Based on the few studies of cat sociability, little research supports that male cats are more affectionate."

Why is my Tomcat meowing so much? ›

If your male cat isn't neutered and he periodically meows excessively, he may be hearing or smelling a female cat in heat. He is likely to pace and meow relentlessly throughout the time the female stays in heat.

Do Tomcat jowls go away after neutering? ›

Do tomcat jowls go away once a male is neutered? Once a cat is neutered and his testosterone levels drop, jowls will usually decrease in size although some breeders and pet owners with former tomcats say they didn't decrease once the cat had been neutered.

Why do neutered cats still have balls? ›

Why does my cat still look like they have testicles after being castrated? When a cat is castrated, the testicles are removed but the scrotum (ball sack) isn't. This means sometimes they look like they still have testicles after their operation. Over time the scrotum will shrink and become less noticeable.

Why does my male cat keep putting his bum in my face? ›

For some cats, shoving their butt in your face means they want to be petted. While a gentle pat from the paw would do, a bum in the face is a sure-fire way to get into your line of sight and snag a little extra attention. So, when your cat puts his bum in your face, he might just want some lovin'.

What age do tomcats get big cheeks? ›

At What Age Do Male Cats' Cheeks Start Getting Big? Lesinsky says a cat will start developing his tough cheek skin when he reaches sexual maturity. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, most cats reach sexual maturity when they're around 6 months old, though this can vary depending on the time of year.

How do male cats show dominance? ›

Simple dominance will be exhibited by a cat by marking or spraying urine on territory, stealing and hoarding toys, rubbing its face on items it wants to claim as its own, claiming specific areas to sleep, pushing other cats away from the food bowl, and/or starting at or physically intimidating other cats.

Are Tomcats territorial? ›

Both male and female cats are territorial, but males may defend larger territories than females. Cats' territorial aggression is usually directly toward other cats, but it can be directed toward dogs and people, too.

Do tomcats wander? ›

Male cats will often roam far from home when looking for a mate.


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