This article is about how neutering affects the male cat. It is written from a different perspective by comparing how castration affects a man. Castrating a cat is neutering a cat. The technical term is orchidectomy. Neutering is an operation in which both testicles are removed. The operation is easy to do and often the cat goes home on the day of the operation. Its ease should not deter us from thinking about the consequences.
The official version of the effect of castration upon a male domestic cat is that it does not change the cat’s personality except,
“to reduce or eliminate his desire to roam, his sexual impulses, and the aggressive behaviour that accompanies them. His hunting instincts are not affected. He often becomes more affectionate and more orientated to the company of people.”
The best time, veterinarians say is to neuter a male cat when he is 6 or 7 months old. Right away, I have to say that Gabriel, my cat, was neutered well before 6 or 7 months of age and I wonder how this will affect them (the timing was not my idea as he is a rescue cat, it happened before I fostered him).
It is said that when the neutering a male cat takes place at 6 or 7 months of age he is mature enough such that his growth and bone structure are not adversely affected. This implies that if it takes place before 6 or 7 months of age, growth and bone structure may be adversely affected. Does this apply to Gabriel?
Well, neutering kittens as young as 7 weeks of age can result in a slightly taller size due to delayed bone growth. There appears to be a question mark over the effect that early neutering has upon the urinary tract. The penis may be small.
The official version, as you can see, is that it affects the cat relatively little and what effects there are, are positive or of no consequence to people.
I have a slightly different view upon the effects of castration of the male cat. My view is that veterinarians are not absolutely sure of the effects. It is as if castrating male cats and spaying female cats is absolutely automatic and a necessity. It pretty well is a necessity because cat populations are too high we are consistently told. But this necessity may color the way people describe the effect it has upon the domestic cat; veterinarians may downplay the effects. Are they correct? Do they know it all? Are we inured to the effects?
We know that the physiology of the domestic cat is similar, in many ways, to the physiology of the human being. Of course there are differences but at a fundamental level we are similar, anatomically, to the cat.
On that basis, what is the effect of castration upon a human and does this shed some light on the effect that it has upon male cats? I think this question is worth asking and below I describe the effects of castration upon a male person and try to relate them to the known effects that castration has upon the male cat.
I don’t know the name of this person but he described, in detail, the effect that castration had upon him and I think it is quite enlightening.
He states that one of the first things he noticed was that he had a reduced sex drive. This squares up, quite clearly and obviously, with the effect that it has upon male cats because neutered cats demonstrate less of a desire to roam and spray urine. There are a lot of, what we would consider to be, negative aspects of male cat behaviour which is driven by the sex drive. These are removed by castration which is what people want.
Of course, the neutered male cat is infertile, which is a major objective, namely to reduce the cat population.
Another outstanding effect of castration upon the male person is that he feels calmer. This gentleman states that 4 days after his castration he felt distinctively calmer. The usual things which stressed him no longer had the same effect. He says that he felt better without testosterone. Let’s remind themselves that when a person/cat is castrated there is no longer any testosterone. The hormone, testosterone has a major effect upon the body.
The gentleman who was castrated says he felt much better (due to lower stress). He said that he felt better and better and, “I felt as a feather floating around everywhere”.
Another noticeable effect of castration was that he suffered a loss of physical strength. He says he is much weaker than before. In addition, and associated with this loss of strength is a decrease in metabolism and energy. He began to feel chilly more easily and much more sensitive to changes in temperature.
Body hair became softer and finer after castration. As for physical appearance, muscle mass faded away or was turned into fat. This appears to be feminization.
There was no effect upon the voice. As for memory, the person suffered a decline in memory and concentration. Bone density was reduced by castration according to this person.
In conclusion, I have selected the major effects upon castration of a person and this person states that perhaps the biggest effect upon him was that his stress levels went down and he felt a sense of “serenity”. This squares up with perceived “better behaviour” of neutered male cats.
Of course, there are other benefits related to health but in this article I simply wish to focus upon the effects upon the anatomy and upon the behaviour of the male cat.
I hope and believe that you will see some relationship between what this person describes as the effects of castration to the observable effects of castration upon the male domestic cat. I believe it gives us some insight into how it affects the male domestic cat because all we see are the obvious behavioural effects but my argument is that there may well be more going on behind the scenes, which we are unaware of and are unconcerned about because, after all, neutering of the male domestic cat is for our benefit. We don’t want to think too much about the negatives.