In a study by A.G. Searle, University College, London, entitled Gene frequencies in London’s cats, which was carried out in the summer of 1947, it was concluded that “There is a significant tendency for male castration to increase hair length from short to medium… It is well established that castration inhibits baldness in Man.”
My research does confirm that castration of a man will stop the balding process. You can’t reverse baldness with castration but you can stop it getting worse. Mr Searle uses that information, which appears to be accepted by the experts, to support the notion that castration of male domestic cats leads to an increase in hair length from short to medium.
My research on the Internet produced nothing which supports that assessment. That does not mean that it is incorrect. It just means that it has not been discussed and/or any discussions have not been reported on the Internet.
It is a very interesting thought nonetheless. This is partly because a very high percentage of male domestic cats are castrated i.e. sterilised or neutered to use another word. And nobody has ever told me that it might increase the hair length of a cat. And I would be confident in saying that a veterinarian has hardly ever if ever told their customer that their shorthaired cat is going to have medium length hair after the neutering operation 😉. And nobody has reported that effect on my website. And indeed, my cat’s hair length did not change after he was neutered. Or that, at least, is my impression.
It is doubly interesting to me because some years ago I wondered how a male domestic cats felt after being neutered. Do male cats recognised a change in their character or the way they feel?
In order to try and get to the bottom of that question I found out how men felt after being castrated. You can read that page if you wish by clicking on this link. Certainly, men are much calmer when they’ve been castrated because of the lack of testosterone which can lead to aggressivity.
To return to the study that I mention in the first sentence, Mr Searle examined 700 cats. All of them had been ‘destroyed’ to use his language “at three main animal clinics in London”. You can sense a lower concern for animal welfare in 1947 compared to today. There has been a general improvement in human sensitivities towards animal welfare over the years. And those improvements are continuing.
The study was actually about the kind of cat coats present in London at that time. Mr Searle wanted to find out what sort of cat coats were the most prevalent and whether they might have been selected by humans in an informal way by killing kittens they didn’t want or whether domestic and stray cats were left to their own devices to mate as they pleased.
He concluded that white cats were incredibly rare with just six cat out of the 700 being white. At the opposite end of the spectrum Mr Searle found that a sizeable percentage of the cats had a non-agouti i.e. black coat. It is believed that at that time black cats were considered to be good luck. This may account for the high percentage of black cats in London at that time.
And a sizeable percentage were blotched tabby cats. So, in London at that time both blotched tabby and black cats were the most prevalent. This does not surprise me.
The dilute coat was rare as were silver tabbies. Comments welcome.
SOME MORE ON NEUTERING: