A German judge has ordered a whiskerless cat to be neutered, believing that breeding the feline, and allowing him to possibly sire whiskerless offspring, would go against the country’s animal cruelty laws.
Willi, a 4-year-old Canadian Sphynx cat, is considered a family member to Berlin breeder Jacqueline L., who owns four additional felines (all female). Canadian Sphynx kittens are known to bring in hundreds of Euros per animal, and with Willi’s award-winning history for good looks, that price would increase handsomely.
“The issue is not whether people find hairless cats to be pretty or not,” Judge Christian Oestmann stated before delivering the verdict Wednesday.
In Oestmann’s mind, the issue here is focused on animal cruelty, and to make his point and concern clear, the judge cited the 2013 law forbidding the production of animals that lack species-specific organs.
In Willi’s case, that species-specific organ is the whiskers, which cats use to enhance sense of touch, rely upon to determine whether or not they can fit in a tight space, and use to communicate with vibrations in the air (essential when stalking and catching prey), and seeing in the dark.
“I would consider the lack of a sensory organ to be harmful,” animal expert and veterinarian Thomas Göbel told the court.
Göbel’s testimony in the case was enough to cause the five-member panel of judges hearing the case to unanimously vote in favor of neutering Willi. As with many court cases, however, the verdict can be appealed, and Jacqueline L. has already divulged that she will continue to fight the order.
What are your thoughts? Should Jacqueline L. be forced to neuter Willi, or should she be able to breed him?