Showing posts with label testosterone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label testosterone. Show all posts

Saturday 26 June 2021

Can a neutered male cat still mate?

Yes, neutered male cats can still mate because they are driven to mate by 3 things including testosterone, but they can't procreate.

This question has been asked thousands of times and answered pretty comprehensively but I'm going to throw my hat into the ring. In this article I interpret 'mating' as the desire to have sex with a female.

It seems to me that there are 3 drives which make a male cat want to mate with a female and they are (1) it's in his DNA i.e. it is inherited, and (2) behaviourally he has learned to do it after mating with queens (unneutered female cats normally breeding cats) and (3) the presence of the hormone testosterone in his blood.

Gunner an unneutered male Sphynx cat. Photos: Helmi Flick.
Gunner an unneutered male Sphynx cat. Photos: Helmi Flick. As he is hairless his testicles are very visible. Sorry Gunner, I realise it is a bit rude to talk about you like that.

It is the last factor which is the most relevant and certainly the most relevant in this instance because it is the male cat's testes (testicles) in which testosterone is produced. Neuter (castrate) him and you remove the testes and you remove the testosterone although some of this hormone may remain in their body afterwards for a while. So, there should be less motivation to mate with a female once a male cat has been castrated.

But it's not true that there is no motivation because you will read stories on the Internet of male cats who want to mate with female cats even though they have been castrated. Certainly, male cats who have been neutered later in life may still want to mate with females although it is uncommon. It appears that they have a habit or a practiced mating activity which continues instinctively even though they're not driven to have sex with a female because of their testosterone.

And there must, it seems to me, be some inherited desire through their genetics to procreate and therefore that innate desire is present even without the hormone testosterone.

It also seems, though, that even young male cats who have been neutered at about 7 months old can retain their sex drive. And I have personal experience of this because my male cat regards me as his mother and when I wear an old dressing gown, he likes to have sex on my arm. He treats the dressing gown as his mother. It does feel a bit like a cat because it's woolly and about the rough shape of a cat! I know it sounds a bit ridiculous and bizarre but I let him do it. Given the opportunity he would do it at least once per day.

In short, he has a very strong sex drive even though he totally lacks testosterone and is about 6 years old so he's been without testosterone for 5.5 years. It seems that the two factors I mentioned above other than the testosterone drive have come into play for my cat. Instinctively, he wants or needs to procreate. He instinctively wants to mate with a female. This is strongly evident in his behaviour towards me.

And, it has to be said, it is not that strange for domestic cats to hump a person's arm or to hump something inanimate. The same thing happens with dogs. It entirely instinctive and we should not laugh at them or belittle them for it. Humans are no better when you think about it!

To get back to the question in the title, can a neutered male cat still mate? Yes, they can and I don't think that it is as uncommon as people think. However, they can go through the act of mating but they can't procreate because they have no sperm due to their missing testicles. That's obvious but perhaps it needs to be stated just in case it isn't that obvious.

The neutering operation is called an orchidectomy. Both testicles are removed and the cat can go home the same day. Neutering does not change the cat's personality except to reduce or eliminate the desire to roam and his sexual impulses. Clearly it does not entirely eliminate his sexual impulses but it presumably varies on a cat-by-cat basis. Also, males become less aggressive when neutered and this is partly because they are less territorial and a lot of their aggression is expended in protecting their home range.

Early neutering produces a cat which is slightly taller in size due to delayed bone growth plate closure. Early neutering might cause the inability to extrude the penis! For that reason, I insisted that my cat was neutered no sooner than 7-months-of-age. I wanted him to at least have a decent willie that worked for Christ's sake! It does and he has it out (it is erect) when he is humping my arm for around five minutes. He only humps my arm when I am wearing the same dressing gown.

He becomes very excited and makes a pleased squeak before he starts. He grips the cuff of the garment in his teeth in the classic mating position to stop the 'female' turning and slapping him when he removes his barbed willy. Yes, I am being a bit graphic but it is the reality of it. Oh, and he washes his willie after the mating. And then jumps back on my lap for a pleasant snooze.

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