Feline Vasectomy: A Rational Birth Control Alternative to Neutering?

Two of the most common veterinary surgeries are neutering and spaying pets. Having cats neutered or spayed is possibly the most important health-care decision that kitty guardians can make for their kitties.

Feline vasectomy

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Neutering is a surgical procedure which entails the removal of the cat’s testicles, and spaying entails the removal of the female cat’s uterus and ovaries. Both surgeries generally require minimal or no hospitalization.

These two surgeries offer kitties a lifetime of health and behavioral benefits. When female cats are spayed prior to their first heat cycle, the risk of mammary cancer may be greatly reduced. Spaying a female cat prevents the occurrence of uterine or ovarian cancer. Spayed females no longer go into “heat” every 3 weeks for 5 days during the breeding season and less likely to be escape artists.

In male cats, neutering surgery eliminates the risk of testicular cancer. Neutered males make much better pets. They are less likely to be aggressive, are generally calmer, much easier to handle and less likely to spray because the production of testosterone is greatly reduced.

But what may become a popular alternative to neutering is feline vasectomy. But, in reality, is vasectomy in male cats a rational birth control alternative method to neutering?

In humans, vasectomy is considered to be a safe and permanent method of birth control. Once semen no longer contains sperm, other methods of birth control are no longer needed. Additionally no evidence exists that vasectomy lowers testosterone levels or the sex drive in humans- as well as in male cats.

One of the main advantages of neutering a male cat is basically eliminating their sex drive. Intact male cats have one basic mission in life; impregnating female kitties. As supremely gifted escape artists, indoor intact male cats will do just about anything to get outdoors to get their job done. These cats are also fiercely territorial, and can risk serious injury since they can become extremely aggressive with rival tomcats.

Male cat neutering
Male cat neutering. Photo: O’Dwyer and Jones vets.

Since neutering is a relatively simple and effective procedure, it makes me wonder why on earth a kitty guardian could ever want to have their cat undergo vasectomy surgery.

Years ago I met a cat breeder who opted to have the surgery done one of her intact male cats. To say that I was stunned is a huge understatement. Her explanation actually gave me the willies! She claimed that this cat was keeping her breeding females very happy without the risk of pregnancy. While at first glance in this particular case, the vasectomy might appear to be a simple solution yet at the same time a female cat “bred” by a sterile male may cause a pseudo pregnancy interrupting her normal cycle.

However the surgery may be useful to efficiently control the population in feral cat colonies. According to the 2013 study published on Tufts Now.

“New research from Tufts University scientists shows that feral cats that undergo a vasectomy or hysterectomy could reduce a feral colony’s numbers more effectively than the traditional approach of neutering. This may be because vasectomized cats retain reproductive hormones, in addition to not being able to reproduce, and therefore protect their turf from sexually intact competitors.”

Although the proven health enhancing and positive behavioral changes afforded by neutering are widely accepted, there still remain some folks – mostly men – who balk at just the thought of having their cat neutered. Personally, I think that their reaction may be caused by an over-identification with their cat eliciting such an overwhelming negative response to what is responsible for an excellent outcome for both the cat and his guardian.

However, for those men who are squeamish about having the profile of their cat drastically altered, there is always the option for having testicular implants called ‘Neuticles’ inserted by their veterinarian at the time their beloved cat is neutered.

What are your opinions concerning feline vasectomy? Share your thoughts in a comment.

Note: For sake of complete clarity, a vasectomy is cutting the tube that carries the sperm.

48 thoughts on “Feline Vasectomy: A Rational Birth Control Alternative to Neutering?”

  1. My spayed female cat developed imbalanced hormone issues and she became very lethargic, clingy with little confidence along with a stubborn UTI that will not go away. I don’t know if they even put her organs back in the right places. I deeply regret spaying her. I had to put her on natural medicine to help her get balanced for what I suspect is kidney disease or cystitis.

    With all due respect, I’m going the route of tubal ligation for both male and female animals from here on out because I’m concerned of the long term health effects on their endocrine system, I believe in staying as natural and intact as possible and respecting the nature of the animal. Somehow humans enjoyed feline/canine company for thousands of years before we discovered sterilization.
    One of my neutered males still behaves sexually regardless and my intact male is relatively calm and actually cries to come inside, instead of fighting to go out. Yes he will occasionally try to mate with my leg or something, but the habit is easy to redirect by making him lie down, distracting him with play/food or giving him calming herbs like lavender. It’s called training.

    Castration is not a guarantee and I think we should take the individual into account, instead of a one size fits all. Spayed and neutered cats/dogs still die of cancer on a mass scale regardless (thanks to junk pet food/vaccine adjuvants/heavy metals). The only reason why they don’t get cancer in their gonads is because they’re not even there, they just get the cancer everywhere else like my relatives’ pets.

    My number one concern is long-term health of their hormonal system. I can tolerate a little leg humping (nothing my friend’s neutered male dog didn’t do) if it means they will be healthy and live long. My intact male is still sweet, playful, lazy and affectionate when he’s ready. His behavior does not disrupt our daily life. I hope we all continue to stay on top of our Pet Health research.

    Blessings

    Reply
    • Great comment. Thank you, T. Hall. The problem is that we – humans – have indoctrinated ourselves into believing that the only way is spaying and neutering our cats by the removal of the organs. It is mandated by society. And reinforced by the fear of the procreation of feral cats and the alleged damage they do to the environment. But there is an alternative which for me is better. I agree with you.

      Reply
      • Sincerest thanks:)
        Yeah, so many vets have tried to scare me into neutering my kitten while I was calling around asking for vasectomy. No actual data was presented, just lots of judgment and fear mongering. I finally found a place that did it, just waiting for his body to finish growing. 18 months safest bet, I’m horrified when vets force sterilization on such a young animals????
        Blessings ????

        Reply
          • That may be the case for some, thankfully my neutered male is still the most masculine thing in my house, lol. You can always try giving the reason it is for their long-term health, which it is. That is what I always tell them and I doubt some would try to argue against that because at the end of the day that is what most of us want. That aside, we can continue to study up on their wild origins and emulate their needs as closely as possible. We can never lose with that 😉
            All the best with your kitties*

            Reply
  2. maybe some of us have perfectly friendly male intact cats that don’t spray and we don’t want to alter them but are still trying to be humane. Assholes.

    Reply
    • Actually, I agree that intact male cats look better and I would rather that my cat was not neutered but he has to be because he is a rescue cat and the rescue centre insisted as part of their rules. I would prefer it that there was no obligation to neuter male cats. And the same goes for female cats. But practicalities dictate otherwise. You have a friendly intact male cat. But does he go outside? If he does it is possible that he might mate with a female cat owned by somebody with a similar viewpoint to yours. And then, what you have is a problem. But basically, I agree with what you say but I don’t think you should insult me because I wrote the article.

      Reply
      • He only goes out on leash. He lives with a female cat and they’re in love and going to have one litter and I was just researching this to find out my options for birth control after that. Looks like vasectomys are pretty rare for the most part? Sorry for being rude. I was more just talking to the people hating on people for not wanting to neuter their cats.

        Reply
        • “Only going to have ONE LITTER…” With all the cats dying in shelters all over the world, you have the audacity to add to the problem? Why not go volunteer at an animal shelter for a day before you decide to let your cat have a litter of kittens. I’m willing to bet you just might change your tune.

          Reply

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