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What makes an unneutered male cat have hard cheeks?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
and what is the reason for it? I just brought in a 12 year old unneutered really beat up male cat from a trailer park. He was left behind 2 years ago when someone moved out. He is deaf almost completely, missing one ear, his fur is all weird and missing in places, he has poo on him, he put up a great fight when I scruffed him and shoved him in a carrier and he has HUGE monster cheeks but he is purring and kneeding his paws!

Anyways, where do these big hard cheeks come from? What causes it?
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen View Post
and what is the reason for it? I just brought in a 12 year old unneutered really beat up male cat from a trailer park. He was left behind 2 years ago when someone moved out. He is deaf almost completely, missing one ear, his fur is all weird and missing in places, he has poo on him, he put up a great fight when I scruffed him and shoved him in a carrier and he has HUGE monster cheeks but he is purring and kneeding his paws!

Anyways, where do these big hard cheeks come from? What causes it?
I'm just guessing here, until someone more knowledgeable comes along - but I think they're called stud cheeks? And my assumption is that it has something to do with the marking glands cats have in that area of their bodies.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kluchetta View Post
I'm just guessing here, until someone more knowledgeable comes along - but I think they're called stud cheeks? And my assumption is that it has something to do with the marking glands cats have in that area of their bodies.
hmm that makes sense. but why do they get so big? is it the actual glands getting inflamed? is that a bad thing? I think it looks kinda cool when they have it a little bit. His are like a large hard object almost under the skin there!
post #4 of 16
I've heard that some of it is built up scar tissue from fighting, and some of it is built up muscle from fighting, but I don't know how true either is.
post #5 of 16
They are called "jowels". I think that they form like that in intact males for added protection in fighting, since a lot of bite wounds happen around the face. I'm not sure if it is just extra skin that develops around the head and neck, or what it is exactly.
post #6 of 16
I have an intact male that my grandmother fed for about 6 years in Houston. He survived hurricane Ike and when my grandmother moved to Alabama, we brought "Ike" with us. He has enormous cheeks! According to my vet, this is due to being intact and allowed to breed at will for so long. The vet advised that the cheek size is directly related to testosterone. Go figure ...

henbane
post #7 of 16
I think it's muscle. Just like how bulls have larger necks, I guess to protect them when they fight.
post #8 of 16
They are called jowls or shields and are part of the secondary sexual characteristics of male cats, and are thus hormone driven. There are glands but also considerable muscle tissue, which acts both as a shield as the name implies, but also allows the tomcat to bite down with considerable force.
post #9 of 16

 My cat Popeye is about 4 years old I got him fixed around 3 months ago. Now he no longer has those strange but adorable HUGE "balls" under his cheeks :(  he also used to love love love being outside but since being fixed he now prefers being inside and is more playful and not so uptight

post #10 of 16

I also rescued a stray male cat. I had to take him to the vet because he got beat up by something. I asked the vet about his pouchy cute cheeks. He said they are because of him not being neutered and are filled with testosterone. If I get him neutered they will go down.

post #11 of 16
My Tom cat who got neutered kept his cheeks....
post #12 of 16

I hope he keeps his, too. They are so cute. He started coming in the doggie door on his own and now we can't keep him outside lol. We are domesticating him, but I get urine smells at times that are driving me mad. He uses the litterbox too.

post #13 of 16
Is he spraying inside the house?
post #14 of 16

Yes. The issue I think is that there is another male stray that we were also feeding outside. For the past 2 years we were feeding both. Now this one has been coming in and kind of attached himself as one of the family. The other male has been hanging around across the street more now. We also have 3 females, all spayed, that we have been keeping in my daughters upstairs apartment because her 2 females hate males.​ I feel bad for the girls because they were our cats for years and had free roam of the house, and were strictly inside cats.

post #15 of 16
Ugh!! I think eventually you will be able to integrate them together. We have lots of suggestions on how to do that after you get the Tom cat situated.
post #16 of 16

Some 15 years or so I adopted a male unaltered longhaired cat from the local shelter. He had this fat face which was very appealing and he was a black smoke, very handsome, I named him Teddy because of the teddy-bear-like face. He was about 5 years old and neutering was not automatically done at shelters at that time. Since I did not want him howling around the neighborhood and wanting to go outside all the time I had him neutered. The vet told me at that time that he had  "testosterone cheeks" and that they would go away after a few weeks after neutering which they did. While he did not want to go outside anymore and he did not sing his tomcat songs after the neutering his face lost some of its appeal without those fat cheeks. Unfortunately he was also positive for feline AIDS for which there was no test at the time or vaccinations available,  and a year later he passed away. RIP Teddy, you were loved during the time you were with me.

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