De-sexing our cats changes them from real animals to living toys

We are fooling ourselves if we believe we are forced to spay and neuter our cats for their benefit and ours and to solely keep down the domestic cat population. Spaying and neutering are invasive operations; they remove the sex organs of the female and male cat. This both prevents reproduction and alters behaviour. It turns them into living toys.

Many Americans go a step further in this quest and remove their cat’s claws as well – ten amputations. It is called ‘declawing’ which is a deliberate misnomer to make is sound less ghastly. And a few even go one step further in turning their cat into a living fluff ball; they remove their cat’s canine teeth (detoothing). They are all part of the same human process; a deep modification of the domestic cat on human terms without consent.

How we like them
How we like them. Image: MikeB
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The de-sexing operations are described as necessary and in the case of male neutering a trivial matter, carried out rapidly with a speedy recovery. It is not a trivial matter from the cat’s standpoint as it radically alters his behavior. I have said it before, castrating male humans is considered extreme and almost shocking. And yet for our dear ‘pets’ who we consider to be close family members cutting of the balls of the male is a ‘minor op’.

RELATED: Effects of Castrating a Cat (and a man)

The purpose of the operation is equally about stopping unwanted male cat behavior during mating. Humans consider domestic cat mating as unpleasant. They are noisy and the males get into fights competing for females. The females call out for mates and have sex with different males. It is all rather crude and distasteful. An orgy of sorts. We have to get rid of it all.

The female operation, spaying, the removal of the uterus and ovaries is more serious with a longer recovery but the objective is the same; to stop procreation and to stop mating behaviours. It is also said to improve health. Humans can improve on nature.

At the end of the day turning our cats into sexless objects is as much about altering behaviour as it about stopping the production of kittens.

Vasectomy and tubal sterilisation

We shouldn’t fool ourselves into believing anything else as there is a way of preventing procreation while retaining normal feline behavior: the vasectomy in male cats and tubal sterilization in females.

For females this means cutting or tying her fallopian tubes. It stopes pregnancy but not her love-life. For males the vasectomy means tying off their sperm ducts. This prevents him delivering sperm to fertilise the female’s eggs. It does nothing else.

It does not make him lazy or docile (and sometimes plumper) and it does not interfere with his sexual activities which he would continue to enjoy but not us. It would be deeply upsetting for humans to have males chomping at the bit seeking sex.

If you look up why we don’t instruct veterinarians to carry out these operations, they wisely state that it is because they do not alter behavior. We need to alter their behavior. We need fluffy living toys on our terms.

If our cats had a voice they’d object. And it is ironic that animal advocates who say they are the voice of the voiceless don’t criticise the de-sexing operations along these lines. From a strictly feline perspective they are horrible.

I have always said that I prefer the whole male cat appearance. So, this is not even about creating sexless living toys. It is also about altering the appearance of the male. The female’s appearance is unaltered by the spaying operation but the male loses their masculine face. It is sad to be honest. The majority of women love the masculine male human face for a variety of reasons but they accept the less than masculine face of the castrated male cat.

Unsterilised or late sterilised male cat
This boy is 10 years old. He has no teeth! Too much fighting, I guess. He is described as handsome by women. Photo: Community Cat Coalition on Facebook.

I understand the sentiments completely. But at root, these desexing operations are an example of speciesism. The cat does not have a voice. They do as we want and as we please.

Comments welcome.

13 thoughts on “De-sexing our cats changes them from real animals to living toys”

  1. Infants, toddlers, and young children would most all likely not want to receive their vaccinations from their pediatrician. Few little ones would welcome a shot, pain, or potential side effects from the vaccines. However, parents choose to vaccinate their babies, toddlers, and young children because it’s in the child’s best interest to prevent diseases in the future.

    A female feral cat likely does not enjoy or appreciate being pregnant the majority of her life and having litter after litter of kittens to die of starvation, disease, and/or attacked and eaten by predators. The male cats penis has barbs on it and mating is painful for the female. She could care less if the male cat’s face has jowls or is more masculine. Sorry, but your reasoning to not TNR and spay/neuter feral cats sounds self serving and selfish.

    Reply
    • My point is that we don’t gain consent from babies and toddlers to vaccinate them from diseases. We don’t really need to gain consent from cats if spaying or neutering them is in their best interest.

      Reply
      • Good point but there is a difference between a vaccination – a benign procedure which has a 99.99% success rate – and ripping out the sex organs of domestic cats to leave then ‘neutered’. We don’t castrate young men (cut off their balls while sedated) as a matter of routine and give young women full hysterectomies as a matter of course. That’s my point. Both these ops are needed for cats but it is an indication of the failure of cat domestication that we have to do them.

        Reply
  2. Cats are not spayed or neutered whilst they are conscious and are sedated for days after (and, if they are not, it should not be done at all.) If cats were not neutered or spayed we would have way more wild and feral cats and kittens than even Ancient Egypt! I also disagree about a male cat’s face. I’ve never notice any difference post neutering. Also “de-sexing” is misleading in one sense – they still remain male or female cats. If anything, I have observed spaying and neutering often very significantly reduce the number of dangerous cat fights and attacks.

    Reply
    • Well, I disagree! You’ve missed two major points: there are alternatives to spaying and neutering which are as effective in preventing procreation and cats would prefer to keep their sex organs and natural behavior. Have you seen an unneutered tomcat and compared him to a neutered one? The jowls are very distinct.

      For humans: “This study found that men with a low digit ratio (associated with higher prenatal testosterone) exhibited a wider jaw and zygomatic arch (i.e. face width) as compared to those with a higher digit ratio.”

      For cats: Testosterone often gives male cats jowls.

      Tomcat jowls

      Head shape from Pets4 Homes:

      A mature un-neutered male cat will often develop a fairly round, broad head by the time they are two or three years old, due to the level of testosterone and other sex hormones coursing through their bodies. Neutering before the age of one year old usually means that your cat’s head and face will not widen up to the level that it might if they were not neutered-however, if your cat is castrated as an adult, their heads may already be rather wider and this is not something that is reversed by the castration procedure.

      FOR MALE HUMANS:

      “High facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) has been associated with a cluster of behavioural traits in men, including aggression and status-striving. We found a positive association with baseline testosterone and fWHR in Sample 2. In addition, face-width-to-lower-height ratio was positively associated with testosterone in both samples, suggesting that, in particular, facial width (scaled by two measures of facial height) is associated with testosterone.” – Study: Telling facial metrics: facial width is associated with testosterone levels in men

      A neutered cat with an adrenal gland tumour resulted in the cat having high levels of testosterone:

      “The owner also noticed that the cat’s face seemed larger than in previous years and that it had recently lost weight. The cat was thin with a body condition score of 2/5. It had a round face with enlarged masseter and caudal mandibular regions and a thin, coarse hair coat.”

      The masseter muscle is on the side of the face where the jowls are! The caudal mandibular is a little higher up but the same region. I think this is pretty good evidence that I am correct.

      Reply
      • Once again, I am sorry, but I have limited energy and have my ongoing campaign against BAYER AG going on regarding the death of my cat after I applied Germolene to his wounds. If there are better less drastic or ‘cruel’ alternatives they should be used instead of neutering or spaying. My cat Charlie Junior had a hormone implant to suppress her going into heat too young.

        Reply
  3. Spaying and neutering saves lives. Males will fight to near death for a female and crawl off and die from infections. And kittens are born just to die from illness and starvation. I do not see my cats as toys. One female cat can make 7,500 cats in 7 years, look it up. And then you have places that use the feral cats as target practice and let them suffer with bullets and arrows before they die. Nope spaying and neutering saves lives.

    Reply
    • Yep, probably does but that does not change the argument in the article. Do male cats want their lives to be saved by cutting off their balls? Would they prefer to take the risks of injury while retaining all their natural behaviours?

      Reply
      • Most of my male cats still roam and fight they just don’t kill each other or tear each other apart. And they don’t make kittens. I’ve seen what happens when cats aren’t spayed and neutered. When I moved to my current home there was 200 cats on a 1/4 mile dirt road. They were sick and emaciated from starving. And for several years I would have to dig their dead bodies out of the ice where they dropped dead from freezing to death. Tiny kittens wobbling down the road sick and starving and blind from eye infections. It took nearly 10 years for me and 2 other ladies to TNR them all at a cost of 1,000’s of dollars. When you see the suffering of 100’s of cats and kittens up close Mike you might change your mind too…Nope do not want to see that again.

        Reply
        • I understand fully Tamara. It is just that we do all this for ourselves at the end of the day. We don’t obtain consent and if we could ask cats what they’d prefer I’d bet my bottom dollar they’d opt for being left alone to live their more dangerous lives but sexually whole.

          Reply
      • I think most of us realise this. It’s a far from perfect world alas. I’d far rather my cats were safer and avoid potentially dangerous fights.

        Reply

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