By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ask a Vet: Castration not a hands-on lesson for students
Placeholder Image

If you have a toothache, you’re using them. If you stub your toe, you’re using them.

What you are using is nociceptive pathways, which are the nerves in your body carrying information about bad things. Nociception is the neurology term for pain detection.

If someone holds you down and cuts you open with a knife, you’re using them.

That isn’t the image you want as you read the Sunday paper, is it? Me neither. So why did I throw it in there? Because of high school.

No, I wasn’t held down and cut with a knife in high school. And luckily, it didn’t happen to anyone I know.

It happened to a cat in a high school class.

How could this happen? We send our children to school to learn with the implied understanding they’ll be safe. Having to see a mutilation isn’t congruent with that. Why weren’t adults around to keep this from happening?

An adult did it. It was an adult’s idea. In fact, it was the teacher’s idea.

Apparently, the teacher was attempting to show the students an example of farm surgery, such as castration.

No anesthesia was used. The cat was physically held down by students and cut.

How’s that for a lesson? Someone who has no idea of feline anatomy or physiology mutilated a cat in front of children.

And you know the funny thing about cats? They have every nociceptive pathway you do.

Don’t kid yourself. Cats feel pain, especially in the delicate area where a castration is performed.

I don’t know if the teacher does this to cats on farms. I don’t know if other farmers do that to cats on farms. But they shouldn’t. “Amateur surgeon” isn’t a thing. Knucklehead with a blade is.

Maybe it was a poorly conceived model of livestock castration. Maybe that points out how unfair it is to livestock. Maybe it was a well-intentioned mistake.

But it was stupid. No maybe.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

Regional events