Should I neuter my cat? Ask a cat breeder.

Savannah cats mating
Savannah cats mating. Photo by Michael. Taken at A1 Savannahs. These cats were the opposite to reluctant.
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A person who wants to adopt a male cat might ask why they should neuter their cat if they are going to be indoors full-time and there will be no other cats in the home; no chance of procreation. Incidentally, the word “neuter” has two meanings. It can mean the removal of the male cat’s testes in a simple and quick operation and it can also have an umbrella meaning namely the desexing operation for both male and female cats. For female cats this is an ovariohysterectomy which is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus. The latter takes much longer to recover from than the former.

I’ve mentioned, in the title, a cat breeder (of Siamese cats) who talks about keeping a stud cat happy. A stud cat is a male, unneutered cat kept for breeding purposes for people new to the cat world.

Breeders normally keep male stud cats in outside enclosures. It looks rather cruel to me; such a sterile and unnatural environment. No fun for the cat. That’s the potential but this breeder makes a big effort to keep his cat happy.

But the reason why most or the majority of cat breeders keep their stud cats outside in an enclosure is because they spray urine all over the place in marking their territory. The breeder says that “99% of stud cats will spray urine around their territory”.

You don’t want that in the home because, as you might know, feline urine is incredibly strong smelling and very hard to get rid of. You have to use enzyme cleaners to chemically break down the urine so that it becomes a different substance and no longer smells.

In short, keeping a stud cat inside the home is probably impractical for most people but that said sometimes stud cats are kept inside the breeder’s home, perhaps in a separate room or a separate area of the home if it’s large enough.

2012 a breeding queen
2012 a breeding queen. Photo: A1 Savannahs.

One expert commentator in responding to the question, “Should I neuter my cat?”, said that an unneutered tom “will display strong territorial and sexual behaviour. This will include aggression and fighting, straying long distances in search of a mate and spraying urine to mark his territory.”

That comment, to me, points to the fact that a stud cat kept in an enclosure will not be able to do what he wants to do which is stray over long distances finding a mate. All the more reason to keep him as happy as possible in other ways.

I sense actually that there is an added obligation and responsibility on a cat breeder to keep their stud cat happy because they have to put him in a cage. That said, the enclosure can be dressed up and made to be as enriched as possible and it should be. Plenty of high places and interesting runs. It is quite involved but I guess it depends how concerned the breeder is.

The picture below is from A1 Savannahs in Oklahoma. I took it. I was not a great enclosure I am afraid to say. The stud was lonely and desperate for human attention. In the photo he is checking out my glasses which I hooked up to the fence to keep them out of the way. He was desperate for stimulation.

Breeding melanistic F4 Savannah cat in his cage
Breeding melanistic F4 Savannah cat in his cage at A1 Savannahs. Photo: MikeB

This Siamese cat breeder, Ross, says that he takes his stud cat out of the cage for one hour a day to be with him, to cuddle and provide him with some emotional warmth and enjoyment. And he suggests that it is reasonable to provide him with some neutered female company on occasions inside his enclosure.

If a stud cat kept in a cage is allowed into the home, they should wear ‘stud pants’ which is a kind of nappy. In fact, I suspect that some breeders put these on their male cats all the time if they are kept indoors. They should not cover the whole of the cat’s bottom so as to allow them to use the litter tray if they need to. Stud pants strap around the cat’s belly and with a second strap looping around the tail. Once again, the focus is on urine!

To return to the question about whether you should neuter or not neuter your male cat. The answer all about urine and horrible smells and stopping procreation! Too many cats already. That said, it brings to mind exotic pets. Some people in America like to keep wild cats as pets. And I suspect they don’t neuter these cats or perhaps they do.

But if they don’t, they can expect lots of urine in their home. More so when living with a medium-sized wild cat such as a serval.

Incidentally, an unneutered queen will attract tomcats to the house. They will wail or caterwaul when she’s ready to mate. This is a female cat on heat. If she is not kept away from unneutered male cats, she will become pregnant all the time and she may acquire injuries from mating. There are other health issues to spaying a female cat.

Serval in an enclosure looking out forlornly
Serval in an enclosure looking out forlornly. Photo: Michael

Ross focuses very strongly on keeping his stud cats happy because if they become unhappy through boredom and confinement, they may become aggressive and difficult to handle. It may break the arrangement to the point where the cat is no longer any use to the breeder. Also, it would be incredibly unfair and cruel not to offset confinement in an enclosure outside with a genuine effort to entertain that cat on a regular basis and keep as happy as possible.

Neutering and spaying.

The truth of the matter is that there is no place in this human world for an unneutered male cat and the same goes for the female. In developing countries there are lots of unneutered male cats on the streets procreating. It’s why they have a cat problem. It’s why Greece has a cat problem in this why they are used to entertain tourists in the holiday season and why many are poisoned to death in the off-season! Horrible. And is why there are lots of stray cats in Israel and other Mediterranean countries. Cyprus is an island of cats thanks to a failure to neuter street cats. As I said there’s no place in the modern world for unneutered cats which is a kind of indictment really on the relationship between human cat. It is not entirely successful.

P.S. I have failed to mention that female cats also spray urine as they are also territorial but less so than males. The typical male wild cat home ranges include the home ranges of females. And females travel less far from the natal home range to find their own compared to males. They are less inclined to mark territory.

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