People ask whether cats can be gay. I think it’s a silly question. It creates a complication where one doesn’t exist. If you’re going to try and answer the question logically you have to start off with a definition of homosexuality which is “sexually attracted to people of one’s own sex”. Note the word “people”. The concept of homosexuality has been created by people for people to describe some people. Therefore to ask whether cats can be gay or not and therefore homosexual you have to shoehorn a word in the English dictionary into domestic cat behavior which doesn’t work. You end up with some false, forced conclusions.
The first thing that comes to my mind is that in the cat world there is no concept of homosexuality. One domestic cat does not go up to another and ask that cat whether he or she is homosexual! They don’t look at each other and think “oh my God, he’s homosexual!” There are no gay bars. They just do things instinctively and behave naturally. There is no labelling, no judging and no pigeonholing.
My initial conclusion, therefore is that cats cannot be gay because the term “gay” is not part of their mentality and does not exist in their world. By the way, there is an argument that humans should not label people gay or heterosexual. There is a wide spectrum of sexuality and it should all be accepted as normal.
Having got that point out of the way there are records of male cats and female cats having what appears to us to be sex with each other. It appears that when male cats appear to be having sex with each other it is really about one male exerting dominance over the other and using the vehicle of sex to achieve that. This is not gay cat behavior but instinctive behavior of an aggressive kind.
The website with a ‘dominance’ over this subject is pinkmews.com (top of page one in Google search). I have read the article and it is inconclusive and in my opinion there are errors in it. The author says that in order to judge a cat’s emotions you observe his or her behavior and work backwards. This is incorrect. As explained above it might appear that two tomcats are having sex and therefore they are gay but the truth is that one cat is dominating the other and it is not the case that one cat is sexually attracted to another. Therefore you cannot by observing apparent gay tomcat behavior decide that the cats are gay.
As to animals in general, it appears that animals can demonstrate what we would describe as gay behaviour. However, I think that you will find that the underlying drive behind this behaviour is nothing to do with homosexuality and a desire to have sex, one with the other, but something else. The pinknews.com author makes a good point when he writes about “same-sex behaviour”. He says that it happens in almost all animals. I don’t know if this is true but same-sex behaviour does not mean that the animals concerned are gay. Therefore this is not evidence that these animals can be gay.
There is an added complication in discussing homosexuality in animals. Often accompanying homosexuality is the love of one person for another, both of the same sex. If we accept that that happens then we have to decide whether animals, particularly domestic cats, can also love one another. If you read the best books on the subject you will find that the expert describe cats who are friendly with each other as “associates”. This is a cold term and nowhere near indicating that the cats are lovers. It is clear that domestic cats can have friendships with each other but there is no current scientific evidence to prove that cats can love each other. Once again the word “love” is a word created by humans for humans and we should be cautious about using it outside of that context.
My conclusion is that (1) is foolhardy to talk about domestic cats being gay or otherwise because we are discussing a human concept that cannot be transposed to the cat world and (2) when two cats exhibit what we might think is same-sex behavior the underlying reason is not about being sexually attracted, one with the other, but about something entirely different. Therefore cats cannot be gay or it is yet to be established that they can.
I’d love to hear your views and feel free to disagree.