We are so used to male cats being neutered i.e. castrated, which entails the removal of the cat’s testes, that we hardly think about it. Typically male cat castration takes place before puberty. It is called prepubertal neutering or a prepubertal gonadectomy.
You won’t find any literature or very little information about how male cats feel after prepubertal neutering because we simply can’t ask them and there’s no way of really knowing. We have an idea of how they appear after neutering but we don’t think about it much because we accept it.
We do see unneutered tomcats looking distinctly different to neutered domestic cats cosseted in the human home. The former have much squarer, jowly faces and look stronger and more masculine in general. By contrast the neutered male cat is somewhat feminised in my view. That’s not to criticise either the operation or the neutered male cats. It’s just observational.
It occurred to me some time ago – and I’m going over the same ground in this article in a different way – that we can gain some insight into how domestic cats feel after neutering if we ask men how they feel after neutering. I did some research on that. I also did some research on the general effect on men of a prepubertal gonadectomy operation.
Doing the operation before puberty is more dramatic in its effect that after puberty since puberty is the period during which significant hormonal changes occur. Prepubertal castration prevents the full development of secondary sexual characteristics and the onset of sexual maturation in men.
In an interview with a man who was castrated he said that it had the following impact on him:
- reduced sex drive
- infertility (obvious)
- feeling calmer
- feeling better
- felt less stressed
- ‘I felt as a feather floating around everywhere’
- loss of physical strength
- decreasing metabolism and energy levels
- feeling cold and more sensitive to temperature changes
- body hair was softer and finer
- muscles faded away somewhat
- voice stayed the same
- memory was less good as was his concentration
- bone density was reduced.
Fruther research indicates the following effect on men of the prepubertal castration operation:
- it prevents the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as deepening of the voice, growth of facial and body hair and enlargement of the testes.The man has a more androgynous physical appearance
- there is a lack of sexual development
- testosterone production is halted
- a lack of sexual maturation including the absence of spontaneous erections
- the growth of the penis is halted
- the development of sexual desire is halted
- there is a wide variation of psychological and emotional effects due to prepubertal castration
- diminished or absent sense of sexual identity
- reduced sexual fantasies
- potential decreasing aggression.
It’s important to note that the effect will vary between individuals. Is it fair to say that the catration of the male has a greater impact on the individual than a gonadectomy on a female?
So when looking at the above and how the prepubertal gonadectomy operation affects men, does it help us gain some insight into how it affects cats and how they feel?
Of course, we can’t translate one directly to the other but it does give me a very clear indication of how cats feel. Cats have very simillar anatomies to humans and they are sentient, feeling beings. And we know that male castration makes them calmer. It reduces territorial aggression although that still remains somewhat dependent on the individual cat’s character.
Castration of cats does not stop them having boners i.e. erections, in my view and it doesn’t stop them having the urge to have sex in my view. But it does make them look more androgynous which is something we fully accept and don’t even recognise most of the time.
This is about a study: The effect of prepubertal and post pubertal gonadectomy on the general health and development of obesity in the male and female domestic cat.
The opening paragraph in the summary of the above study says this:
“Complete penile extrusion was possible in all of the intact males [all the males that had not been castrated], and 60% of the post pubertal castrated males, and in none of the prepubertal castrated males”.
This female scientist who produced this study for their PhD is saying that 6 in 10 domestic cats castrated after puberty could not extrude their penis. I take that to mean that the could not have an erection. And in those cats that had the operation before puberty all of them could not extrude their penis. This compares with the intact males, all of whom could extrude their penis.
I don’t believe the conclusion of the study although it happened for this woman but I don’t believe that it happens to all domestic cats. But it is rather a shocking and interesting conclusion.
I would like people reading this article to leave comments and tell me if their castrated domestic cat can extrude their penis! I know I’m being a bit rude by human standards but this is a scientific and medical situation so we can put aside any squeamishness about the male cat penis.
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