Cryptorchid Cat Facts

A male cat is considered cryptorchid if one or both his testicles has not descended into the scrotum by the time the cat has reached roughly two months of age. Although cryptorchidism should not be cause for alarm, it should be addressed by a veterinarian while the cat is still young to avoid complications in the future. 

Types of Cryptorchidism

Cryptorchidism is believed to be a hereditary condition. Unilateral cryptorchidism, the most common cryptorchid condition, occurs when one testicle has descended into the scrotum and the other has not. The undescended testicle may be found in the abdomen, groin or inguinal ring. Bilateral cryptorchidism, significantly less common, occurs when both testicles have not descended. 

Diagnosing Cryptorchidism

For kittens without cryptorchidism, both testicles are present in the scrotum at birth or shortly there after. When a male cat is born, the testicles are initially very small and may be difficult to detect for several weeks. Once a kitten is a couple months old, a veterinarian can more easily diagnosis cryptorchidism if it is present.

If a kitten is found to be cryptorchid it is unlikely any retained testicles will descend further as the kitten ages. Some vets however, will delay any action for an additional few months in the rare case that the undescended testicle continues to move into toward the scrotum. Testicles found in or near the scrotum can be more easily removed.

Treating Cryptorchid Cats

There is no safe or sure treatment that will cause a retained testicle to descend into the scrotum. Surgical removal of both undescended and descended testicles is recommended. Undescended testicles are often non-functional but can cause problems in the future if left behind. Undescended testicles pose a greater risk of cancer and torsion.

If the cat has one descended testicle present in the scrotum, it is often completely functional but should still be removed. Breeding cryptorchid cats is not recommended as the condition can be passed to the next generation. Removing both testicles will lessen the risk of health complications, assure the cat will not produce offspring, and reduce the unpleasant behaviors that often accompany intact males.

Neuter Surgery

If your cat has been diagnosed with cryptorchidism, schedule a neuter surgery with your veterinarian. The cryptorchid neuter is a fairly common procedure and most vets are very comfortable performing the operation. Before the surgery, the veterinarian will palpate the cat's abdomen and groin to find the undescended testicle. An incision will be made and the testicle will be removed. The vet may have to make additional incisions if the undescended testicle proves more difficult to extract. The cost to neuter a cryptorchid cat may be higher than a standard neuter because the surgery requires more of the veterinarian's time.

Care after the Surgery

After your cat comes home from the operation, limit his activity level and do not allow him to disturb the incision area. You may need to purchase an "Elizabethan" collar if your cat will not leave the area alone. Check the incision daily for blood, discharge, excessive redness or swelling as these can be signs of infection.