What is a “Tom” Cat?

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.  This thickening of the face is commonly referred to as “stud jowls” or “shields.”  If a male cat is neutered before reaching puberty at around 6 months of age, he will not develop these secondary male sexual characteristics.

Neutering a male cat will also greatly reduce unwanted behaviors such as roaming, fighting and urine marking. Additionally, shortly after neutering, the characteristic pungent smell of the male cat’s urine will be eliminated.

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There are 6 comments

  • I have been trying to trap a tom cat who has been terrorizing the inside cats in the area. He seems to dislike one neutered male cat whom he fought with and injured.He has sprayed the condo front and back and jumps onto the doors trying to get the cats inside. Will neutering him help?

  • Abby PetMeds Pro says:

    It should definitely help. Neutered cats tend to be far less aggressive, and will also be less likely to spray/mark their territory. This will be good for the cats in the neighborhood, and also help him because he’ll be less likely to get into fights and won’t contribute to any unwanted litters. Good luck trapping the tom cat so he can be helped!

  • Leslie McNevin says:

    I have started feeding a young neutered male stray. I am concerned lately, because he is showing a thickening in his cheeks and neck area that I associate with unaltered male toms. I have checked and he is no longer intact. Is this something I should check with a vet about? Or is it something that happens to outside males?

  • Gheese says:

    “No longer intact”, do you think his bits grew back ?

  • Linda Rockman says:

    I have an all black male to cat that lives in the complex that has the stud jowls, and is about 8 years old (?). I have been trying to trap him to get neutered so it will give him a better quality of life, but he looks at the trap and then walks by it spraying the towel that hangs over the trap. I have been feeding him and fixed an eye infection that he had gotten from a fight with another community cat. He’s also blind in one eye. How can I get him into that trap? And do you think once he has been trapped will he fight to get out and possibly hurt himself? Concerned for this very sweet cat.

  • AKhoriaty says:

    Hi Linda and thanks for looking out for this cat. Alley Cat Allies has some great tips for trapping a wary cat: https://www.alleycat.org/community-cat-care/tips-for-hard-to-trap-cats/

    Best of luck!
    ~ Abby, PetMeds Pro

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