Fred: It's not my fault. Maybe he'd calm down after we have him fixed!
Dino: WHAT!?! (he runs away)
Spaying and neutering are common procedures performed on animals where all or most of their reproductive organs are removed.
House pets such as dogs and cats are altered to reduce behaviors such as mounting, urine spraying or marking, female heats (often messy in dogs, can be noisy in cats), and forms of male aggression, which are highly undesirable or inconvenient in domestic animals. Additionally, eliminating a dog or cat's ability to reproduce helps reduce their numbers in a world where there are more dogs and cats than there are homes for them. In rodent pets, spaying drastically reduces the risk of mammary tumors Livestock (usually boars, bulls, and rams) are castrated to keep them tractable and their meat fat-rich. Gelding of horses likewise eliminates troublesome behaviors to which intact stallions are prone. Female ferrets have to be spayed if they aren't mated to or bred, or they get sick and can die. Castrated poultry produce higher-quality meat and fatten more rapidly.
On the other hand, as spaying and neutering procedures are endocrine disrupters, health and behavioral risks can show up. One of the most dramatic risks of the desexing procedures is that female dogs are more likely to get urinary incontinence if they are spayed. Two other dramatic risks of desexing are that castrated male ferrets are prone to getting adrenal disease and that early castrated male cats tend to get urinary blockages. Health benefits and risks are less dramatic for other animals, but pros and cons (like increasing the risk of obesity) exist for many species.
In fiction, Sapient Pets are not so understanding of the practical reasons for why they are spayed or neutered. Whatever the benefits, they just don't want their reproductive parts cut off. Talking Animals may protest the procedure, and others may attempt to avoid the procedure at all costs. May also render an animal Afraid Of Vets if it knows this is one possible reason for veterinary appointments. Sometimes combined with Share the Male Pain, if male animals flinch and cover their privates at the mere mention of the process. If the animal gets its way and avoids being neutered, Animals Lack Attributes is defied. If the animal doesn't get its way, it might get a Crippling Castration and likely become a Lazy Neutered Pet.
The idea that male animals miss their testicles and feel a loss in self-esteem is common enough that a product is sold to "fix" it. Neuticles are silicon replacements ordered by some owners, some of which were measured to be far larger than those that were lost.
- There's a commercial in which a little girl sees the name of the service her mom has selected on their minivan's navigation system, and asks "Mommy, what is... 'neutering'?" Their very macho-looking Boxer dog immediately jumps out of the van and makes a break for it.
- Appears as a gag in Robots. When Rodney asks "Who wants to get fixed?" — as in repaired, since all the characters are robots — a dog is seen cowering at the sound of the word "fixed".
- In Babe, Rex is acting wild for perfectly understandable reasons, but a vet, who doesn't speak dog, doesn't understand why except that a "snip-snip" will solve the problem. Because he's a stud, the Hoggets have him given an injection, instead of getting him neutered.
- Doctor Dolittle has a scene at a vet clinic where a dog is trying to get away, swearing he'll never look at a female again. Naturally, when a female does go by, he tosses off a come-on line to her, then goes right back to begging.
- Rush Hour 2 demonstrates that this trope isn't limited to non-human species — when Lee and Carter are captured by the Triads, Lee explains the Cold-Blooded Torture that awaits them. Carter listens stoically until the part about the Triads cutting off their "egg rolls," at which point he becomes desperate to escape.
- A Crazy Cat Lady finds a Genie in a Bottle, and asks for wealth, fame, and to turn her cat into Prince Charming. The genie complies and disappears, but as she starts to flirt with the prince, he says "Bet you must really regret having me neutered now".
- An old gag. Two men in a factory. A new apprentice asks "What's a ball race"? To which the old hand innocently replies: "A tom cat with twenty feet's start on the vet".
- There's a Christmas card with a picture of a dog with the text "All I want for Christmas are my testicles back."
- Two cat owners discuss their pets.//
Ugh, each spring my cat is killing me with his screeching!//Well, you know what you have to do.//
- It got worse! He's yelling even louder now!//What about?//"Where are they?! Where are they?!"
- There was a man with a cat. And each spring the cat would disappear for a month, returning all starving, torn up and disheveled. His owner got fed up with it, and had the cat neutered. And yet next spring the cat still went away and returned a month later, just as messy as always. In exasperation the man asks him: "What the hell were you doing there this time?". "Counseling" - says the cat proudly.
- In the first Warrior Cats novel, when Rusty/Fireheart first meets the Clan cats, they warn him to leave the "twolegs" before they have him "cut". Later, he meets one of his old friends named Smudge who has become fat and lethargic and concludes that he had been cut.
- The cats in Tailchaser's Song regard neutering as a demeaning violation humans visit upon cats for inexplicable reasons. Hushpad, a previously energetic and affectionate female that the protagonist is in love with, becomes sluggish and aloof after having it done to her. According to the cats' legends, neutering can even make a tomcat all but indistinguishable from a female. Lord Firefoot once met an incredibly attractive fela that turned out to actually be a neutered tom. Cats like making fun of "eunuchs".
- In Pyramids, much mention is made of how camels, which on Discworld are all mathematical geniuses, know exactly what two bricks add up to (it's the ancient practice of putting the animal's testes between two bricks and slamming them hard together). And they also know how to take revenge over it too.
- Doglands: Furgul runs away from his owners when they decide to neuter him.
- In The Door into Summer, Daniel's tom-cat Pete is his loyal animal companion. He dates shady Belle who suggests they should neuter him as he sometimes comes home badly battered from his fights and battles. Daniel is horrified and Belle never brings this up again.
- In White Night, Dresden mentions how, when Mouse was being treated for his shoulder injury from Proven Guilty, the vet's aides misfiled some paperwork and almost neutered the Foo dog in error. Mouse realized what they were about to do, and Harry wound up paying for the resulting property damage.
- Spayed and neutered cats in The Book of Night with Moon are treated essentially as they have No Biological Sex by other cats. Played with in that most cat wizards are altered; Rhiow, at least, considers this something of a blessing, as it means she's never been distracted by estrus.
- Maurice, the familiar of Thunder Dick from Slimy Underbelly, was neutered against his will at Dick's request. The cat is not happy about this, giving him even more reason to resent his master.
- Averted in A Dog's Purpose. The protagonist is neutered in all of his lives but he doesn't react negatively towards it. He's more annoyed by the pain that occurs after surgery, and the embarrassing cone he has to wear, than the actual neutering. However, in his case he doesn't understand what sex even is and doesn't understand why he's neutered. He just notices that females no longer smell a certain way to him (or when he is a female, that she no longer has an embarrassing smell).
- Cat Pack: The cats are horrified that humans spay and neuter them so they can't reproduce. They think of it as a violation and complain about how humans should get themselves "fixed". They later come to the conclusion that maybe there is a cat overpopulation problem and maybe it is okay to neuter cats, but none of them want to personally be spayed or neutered.
- Averted in The Unadulterated Cat by Terry Pratchett, which refers to "sleek females for whom liberation from the joys of motherhood appears to have come as something of a relief".
- The plot of Felidae's direct sequel is kicked off when Francis's owner gets a girlfriend, who insists that Francis be neutered. Francis decides to avoid this by running away.
- Greg the Bunny. Greg and Junction Jack dogsit for a girl Jimmy is going out with, and the dog hasn't been neutered and is quite aggressive. Jack suggests neutering him; he knows how because he was raised on a farm and did it to bulls all the time. When Jimmy and his girl get back she can tell right away, partially because they replaced the dog's testes with a pair of artificial eyes that jingle when the dog moves around. She is very upset.
- In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Salem (a human warlock turned talking cat) tells Sabrina that she shouldn't kiss the guy she likes because he'll turn into a frog. She responds with: "Fine. I won't kiss Harvey. But if you're lying, I promise that you will be neutered. Slowly."
- Wilfred: Ryan sees a dog Wilfred as a human in a dog costume who talks to him but otherwise he's a normal dog to everyone else. Wilfred hates going to the vet and being neutered is one of his greatest fears.
- This was Garfield's initial reason for dreading the vet — his uncle Bernie went there once and came back as his aunt Bernice.
- In the RuneScape quest The Lord of Vampyrium, there is a werewolf who needs to be punished. One of the options the player can choose is neutering, which his master rejects. When spoken to after, he is resentful of the player.
- Pictured above, the titular cat in Simon's Cat is positively mortified when the kitten tells him what has happened to him from visiting the vet in The Snip.
- In Dorkly's "If Videogames Were 11% More Realistic", a trainer explains that he would have had his Houndoom neutered, but the Houndoom flame-blasted the vet to avoid it.
- The Order of the Stick: A woman uses an inept medium to forgive her dead dog for peeing on the rug. In the afterlife, the dog shouts: "SHE forgives ME? Hey, I'm not the one who did the neutering, woman!"
- In Wondermark, a Dachshund learns that his owners are taking him to be neutered, and he vows that "There will be carnage!" before he lets them get away with it. We then see him after the operation, and he's feeling "pretty mellow" about the whole ordeal.
Alt Text: You know how I used to be all gaga over that Poodle down the block? well, funny thing—now when I look at her all I can think is HIGH MAINTENANCE
- In Faux Pas Kira, the cat, ran off and lived at the zoo for a few weeks after she heard her owners talking about getting her fixed. But, she later confesses that she was spayed pre-adoption and just doesn't want her numerous "friends" to think she's too domesticated.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
- Inverted in a strip where Charles Darwin keeps telling a cat to "eat, fuck, fight!" until he gets neutered and stops listening.
Darwin: But... if you don't have me, you don't have a purpose in life... so...
Fat, lazy Cat: Sooooo haaaapppy.
- Played straight in this one where a cat complains about his owner getting her nails done while he was being castrated.
- Inverted in a strip where Charles Darwin keeps telling a cat to "eat, fuck, fight!" until he gets neutered and stops listening.
- The Fairly OddParents!:
- An early episode had Timmy switch places with Doydle, Vicky's dog. The episode becomes a race against time for Timmy to find a way to communicate he wants to switch back before Vickey has him fixed (with the vet's increasingly large and scary drill-like fixing mechanisms). Doydle (without Timmy in his body) does end up getting fixed. Like Vicky's other neutered pets (which include a bird and a fish, animals which are rarely neutered in real life), Doydle becomes lethargic.
- In "The Past and the Furious," Sparky and Timmy are repairing damage to the timeline. After they repair the first part, Timmy says that it's "fixed." Sparky replies with "Don't EVER say 'fixed' to a dog" while covering his groin.
- The Simpsons:
- Santa's Little Helper once knocks up a Greyhound producing a litter of 24 puppies. Many seasons later, SLH gets a neighbour's bitch pregnant and most of the family are confused because they speak about the previous plot and say he was neutered afterward. Turns out Homer took him for one last fling before the operation (visiting a dog brothel for example), but then didn't go through with it.
- In a Treehouse of Horror episode, when Scratchy falls in love with Snowball II, Marge decides that Scratchy will have to be neutered, to which he reacts appropriately.
- Family Guy:
- An early episode shows Brian seemingly breeding with Carter's purebred dog and Carter insists that Brian never see her or the puppies. Brian sues for visitation rights, but only gets them on the condition that he let himself be neutered. Brian is willing to accept it, but right before he goes under the knife it turns out he isn't the father as the litter is born and the puppies all have the face of Ted Turner.
- Another early episode has Brian watching an episode of The Price Is Right, with Bob Barker giving his signature support for controlling pet populations.
Bob Barker: And as always, please, spay and neuter your pets!
Brian: Oh just die already...
- Robot Chicken:
- One skit has Bob Barker go on a serial neutering spree, neutering animals whether they want to not. This leads to the dogs forming a united front against Bob Barker.
- Another one has Garfield on a parody of The Biggest Loser wanting to lose weight so he can lick his balls. When he does, he finds that Jon "Monday'ed" them.
- In Rick and Morty, the neutered family dog Snuffles is accidentally given super intelligence. After building himself an android body and demanding to know where his balls are, Snuffles enslaves humanity for the many crimes against dogkind.
- In Brickleberry episode, "Saved by the Balls", Woody neuters Malloy the bear due to his sudden bursts of extreme hormonal change causing him to hump everything. Steve uses the testicles to grow large amounts of marijuana quickly. Malloy is displeased and wants his testicles back. He ends up getting Woody's transplanted to him while Woody is in surgery after Steve accidentally shoots him.
Malloy: *incredibly deep voiced* Payback's a bitch!
- The 2 Stupid Dogs episode "Let's Make a Right Price" ends with Bill Beaker, a blatant parody of Bob Barker, spouting the "spay and neuter your pets" thing. Little Dog overhears this and reacts by fainting.
- The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries used this kind of joke in the episode "Fifty Karat Furball" when Tweety offers to help Sylvester get the I of Istanbul out of his stomach and tries to assure him by saying he'll be fixed in no time. Sylvester panics at the mention of "fixed", which causes Tweety to acknowledge that he used a very poor choice of words.
- Averted in Family Guy's precursor Larry & Steve, where the bipedal dog Steve has no apparent issue with being neutered.