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.
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.
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.