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  • Writer's pictureKaylee Sanabria

Intact male cats & "cages"

The disgusted expression on someone's face when they learn that your intact male cat is kept secluded in his own space. People are unaware that this is the best way to house intact male cats for both their own comfort and the comfort of the breeder. Did everybody just disregard how cats are kept in shelters?

It is common for breeders to put their males in "cages" or spare rooms within or outside of their homes, this is something that ALL cat breeders will have to do at some point. This is because as a male cat reaches sexual maturity, his hormones take over and the kitten that was once able to snuggle you on the couch is now solely concerned with territory and breeding, which may become unpredictable and dangerous for people, other cats, and especially kittens. This is especially true when dealing with huge cats who stand over three feet tall and weigh more than twenty five pounds. Not to add that intact males will frequently spray to establish their territory, destroying furniture, carpeting, and other items in the house.

Every male cat will be unique. Some may never become aggressive or overwhelmed, and others may not spray when breeders let them roam their house, but this is unusual, and there are other factors to consider.

Breeders typically allow gaps in between litters, which means males can't roam freely with females. Along with free roaming comes the unknown of who the father is if you have multiple males, as well as the uncertainty of the due dates of the females. There is no use in being a breeder if you allow your cats to roam freely and reproduce whenever they like, the ethical goal of breeding is to produce a better cat by selecting which cats are paired together.

Inbreeding would be a concern if breeders kept females from prior litters. Yes, purebreds were inbred at the start of their development, but it is no longer acceptable and is not practiced by the majority of breeders.

Speaking of personal experience, my first intact male cat taught me a lot. He was a very affectionate cat when I first received him, prior to reaching sexual maturity and adding a female to the home, he was not confined to one area and could freely roam my entire house. I struggled to find a place to keep him after that, I considered that it was ethical to keep him in the largest area possible while still allowing him to see the females (without coming into contact with them), this left him overwhelmed, pacing, constantly vocalizing, and becoming overstimulated by physical affection. I even tried letting him wander free in my house while closely monitoring him, which resulted in him spraying on my brand new $2,500 couch. He obviously did not want to spend time with me or the other cats, and he was no longer interested in relaxing on the couch. He is only interested in the female's litter boxes and covering up their scents by spraying.

Everything I described above came to a halt when a section of my laundry room became his own personal space and he was no longer able to see the females. The once clearly overwhelmed cat was now at ease, thanks to his own small area containing only his scent. This makes perfect sense because cats tend to go in confined spaces like little boxes, closets, and under the bed, yet none of this was being considered in order to please those who believe restricting intact males is bad.

Every breeder and every cat will bring a different experience and each breeder will decide what is the best way to house their cats. It is important to remember that intact male cats being used for breeding are not the same as your pet cat and breeders are not secluding their cats to be cruel, these cats cost alot of money and our breeding programs are contingent on our males being happy and healthy. These males spend a very small amount of time with a breeder and will go on to be retired, neutered and live the rest of their 10+ years in a pet home.

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