Are men reluctant to neuter their male cat? Sarah Hartwell’s article on men’s emotional barriers to neutering their male cat made me smile and reflect on my own attitudes.
In summary, I think I am fair in saying that Sarah’s conclusion is that men struggle with neutering (‘castrating’ but don’t say that word) their male cat because:
- men regard their male cat as a son and you wouldn’t castrate your son would you?
- men’s innate desire to spread their seed is vicariously lived through their male cat.
- the male cat is a phallic symbol. As Sarah says, “the unneutered tomcat is an extension of its male owner’s ego and libido”. Perhaps, this is another way of saying what I have stated in 2.
- When a man asks a vet to castrate his cat, psychologically he feels that he is being castrated.
I searched my own mindset on this. I recall that I had an argument with my vet about the age at which my then kitten should be neutered. I fought hard to have him neutered as late as possible but within the usual time frame because I had read in an authoritative book on cat health that early neutering can leave a cat with a small penis! I accepted that he had to be neutered but I did all I could to protect his willy!
I was definitely relating to my cat as my son at that time. I did not feel as if I was being castrated and neither was the operation an attack on my ego or libido but instinctively I wanted my boy cat to retain as much of his manhood as possible.
Also I read that early neutering can make a male cat more feminine in appearance. I wanted my boy to grow up to be a man! Another example of humanising (anthropomorphising) my sweet boy cat.
I had raised him from a tiny 7 week old kitten and was hopelessly attached to him as a father is to his son.
The argument I had with the vet was so bad I changed veterinary surgeries. As my cat was a rescue I had to use the vet surgery recommended by the rescue organisation. And this gave the vet some power over me. Anyway I stood my ground and got my way but when I presented my arguments to another vet at the clinic saying that I was making sure my cat had a decent sized penis it must have seemed as if I was nuts. I probably was.
P.S. He is now over three-years-of-age and his manhood is very impressive…..