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Castration or Breeding?

At purchasing a kitten, a breeder usually asks a customer, whether he takes a cat breeding or as a pet “to a sofa”. Some have already solved this question for themselves. But many customers don’t imagine this “breeding”. There plenty of mistakes and prejudice about breeding or castration, especially among those, who chooses a cat for the first time.

These are the typical mistakes:

1. Many suppose that cats have estrus twice a year, like dogs; and it is accompanied only by increased sexual enticement. I was amazed to find this data even in a veterinary cat passport. Indeed, the sex cycle of cats, which live outdoors, is naturally regulated (the length of a light day, warmth-cold and the opportunity to hunt more or less luckily). Such cats have estrus rarely, and they grow 1-2 sets of kittens a year. Home cats have perfect accommodation: they live in warmth, fullness, at permanent light. Therefore, our pets have “everlasting spring” in their souls, and they are ready to sing love songs10-15 times a year with short breaks. It’s especially about Eastern breeds, which, moreover, have loud reedy voices. Take into consideration, that many cats start having estrus at the age of 5-6 months and until genital age (10-15 months) they’re able to lead their hosts to a collapse. Once my friends’ cat had a long-lasting estrus for 2 months. All that time they carried it on their hands to let kids and neighbors sleep. Of course, after the first delivery they sterilized their pet and are now glad to have a playful, good-natured and silent creature.

2. Castration or sterilization of cats is definitely approved by experienced breeders and causes contradictory feelings of the “untutored”. The main opponents of cats’ castration are men. Probably, out of the male sympathy they’re trying to transfer their emotions on cats. At the same time they forget, that cats don’t have a social perception of sex. The regulation of sexual enticement of cats is just physiological: if there’s a hormone – there’s a sexual enticement, if there’s no hormone – there’s no sexual enticement. In other words, a male cat needs a female cat only if the male sex hormones are active (testosterone). The absence of these hormones doesn’t make a cat socially waning; and the cat doesn’t mourn for not being able to mate any more.

Also many people think that it’s impossible to castrate the cat, which has alredy have sexual experience. This is also a human approach: it is supposed that a cat would remember, how well he felt, and sorrow, that he wouldn’t “be able” any more. I’m assuring you that it wouldn’t, cats “do it” not for pleasure, but for continuation of the generations; that’s just the instinct, which is defined by hormones.

3. Many suppose that a cat before sterilization needs to deliver at least once for the prophylaxis of some mysterious illness in future. It’s absolutely not obligatory. There are much more opportunities to get ill after mating, pregnancy and delivery. A female cat can be sterilized since the age of 4 months. Before the first 3-4 estrus it’s enough to remove only ovaries. This is quite non-complicated and less traumatic operation, which is performed through a small incision sidewise; it demands minimal post-operational care. After 3 or 4 estrus the removal of uterus and ovaries is needed.

The removal of testis can be performed also at the age of 3 months. Earlier there was the opinion that castration of a cat is possible only after sexual maturity. Nowadays, these data are disproved. The researches have shown that early castration doesn’t disturb the growth of cat’s genitals; and general physical development and growth of castrates might be even stronger, than of non-castrates.

4. There’s another frequent mistake. The hosts think that it’s enough for a cat to spend a couple months in the country in summer, and those memories would be enough till the next summer. Or it is enough to buy a female cat for regular mating. Unfortunately, a sexually mature cat needs 6-8 to 24 matings a year, depending on temper. You will unlikely be able to provide a cat such regular mating, if it’s not particularly precious, imported, expensive super breeder. And a female cat would be an endlessly pregnant exhausted creature in this case. Chronically unsatisfied cat pees on walls and furniture, cries, grows thin, becomes nervous and aggressive. Are these tortures of the animal worth the host’s pride for the presence of 2 balls under the cat’s tail?

However, the most important points in this thesis are peed host’s boots, smelling soft furniture and (Lord forbid!) bitten or scratched children.

5. Sometimes the opponents of castration suggest their cat for free mating, presuming, that greedy hosts of female cats would provide them massive inflow of brides. Theoretically, that’s an opportunity. However, there’re some doubts: if these hosts save 200 dollars on their cat’s mating, they might also save money on adequate food, examination, vaccination. Then there’s an opportunity that these “free-load” cats are unhealthy and they might infect your cat. By the way, the process of mating isn’t very aesthetic and is accompanied by shouts of animals, and sometimes even destruction of a flat.

6. Some hosts try to avoid estus by using hormone contraception. Unfortunately, these drugs are terribly harmful for health and may cause severe diseases: breast and uterine cancer, pyometra, polycystic ovary.

7. There’s an opinion that castration and sterilization surgeries are extremely complicated and can “kill” an animal. The answer is that any treatment of a cat in hands of an unqualified veterinarian can harm. And if a surgery is performed by a qualified doctor in hospital, the risk is minimal. And it definitely doesn’t exceed the risk of complicated delivery, diseases after mating with suspicious animals, and traumas of male cats during a struggle for a female cat.

8. Some suppose that castrated animals become fat, lazy and uncommunicative. It’s absolutely false! If a cat before castration was playful and lovesome, it would stay the same. Probably, it would even become better, as it loses sexual focus, which eclipses the rest of the world. However, castrate’s appetite really improves. But the problem of gaining weight can be easily solved by a special diet for castrates.


I hope the described picture doesn’t look absolutely hopeless. For real BREEDERS all this horror is compensated by huge joy of birth and bringing up kittens. Kittens at home bring plenty of positive emotions. And success of grown “champions and winners” during exhibitions are often estimated even higher than their own. In order to become a BREEDER you don’t need a lot: your personal wish and agreement of the family, much free time, big flat, readiness to serious financial expanses, professional knowledge and huge PATIENCE.

Purchasing an animal “for castration”, you’re saving money, as cats “for a pillow” cost much lower. You wouldn’t listen to cat’s shouts during hunting. Your flat wouldn’t smell cat’s urine. Your male cat would avoid quarrels and traumas outdoors, and your female cat would avoid possible problems at pregnancy and delivery. Your animal wouldn’t get infected with some infectious disease from a sexual partner. You wouldn’t have to hand around or (even worse!) drown kittens in case of accidental pregnancy of your female cat. In my opinion, the only point against castration is the increase of possible risk of kidney stone disease at male cats. To avoid this, it’s enough to give your cat special dry food or balanced natural food. By the way, non-castrated cats may also suffer from kidney stone disease.

So make a informed decision: a pet or a breeding animal.


Marina Popova
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