“..the widespread adoption of early neutering by the most responsible cat owners risks pushing the domestic cat genetics back gradually towards the wild, away from their current domesticate state.” (Dr Bradshaw of Cat Sense)
Humans selectively breed purebred cats mainly for their glamorous appearance. We almost never selectively breed random bred cats (moggies).
However, There is a case for selectively breeding ordinary, random bred house cats for their character and personality. Over decades it has been hammered into our heads that we should spay and neuter our cats (altered cats). This is correct in order to avoid unwanted cats. There are already too many.
However, amongst the millions of altered cats there must some who have fabulous personalities ideal as housecats particularly in an ever more busy and populated world. In the interests of people who are looking for cats with the best possible character might it not be reasonable to suggest that random bred cats with known great characters are bred in a controlled way? It may lead to less abandoned cats as cat aggression is cited as a reason for abandoning a cat.
I realise that this is very controversial suggestion. However, in a perfect world all house cats would be altered. There would be no knew cats other than purebred cats from breeders and new cats from stray and feral cats. These stray cat offspring would almost certainly have personalities that were not ideal as human companions. They would be likely to have personalities that are a bit wilder than the typical random bred cat.
The difference would be slight but over many years most kittens born will come from a breeding line of semi-wild cats so writes Dr Bradshaw because only these cats are able to breed freely.
Therefore the argument is that highly successful mass spaying and neutering which is our target might leave us with house cats who did not have the best characters. That is not a situation that we are aiming for.
Bradshaw writes that this future state of affairs amongst the domestic cat population is not science fiction. He cites a study that he completed. In an area of Southampton, England, he found that 98% of pets cats were neutered. People who wanted a cat had to travel outside the city.
In this area he found that the kittens of the small number of intact female cats were ‘less willing to settle on their owners’ laps than kittens born in another area of the city’ were there were more unneutered male cats. This suggested that feral cats had fathered the kittens rather than male housecats with nice characters. The way the kittens had been socialised and the temperament of the mother cats had been taken into account.
I just think this is an interesting potential side effect of mass spaying and neutering. Although I am not suggesting in any way that people stop altering cats. It is simply that if spaying and neutering is carried out more extensively and efficiently there may be unforeseen consequences.