Preview of Coming Attractions

Over the next several months, I will be traveling across the country in search of cat stories, visiting innovative cat rescues and shelters, interviewing eccentric cat lovers, leading vets and behaviorists and so much more. To view my travel schedule and learn more about my Cat Behaviorist business, please visit http://www.thecatbehaviorist.com/ . If I will be in your area and you feel you have some interesting cat stories to share, please don't hesistate to contact me via my website.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Heat


The vet verified that the silver tabby's kittenish 6 month old body was in heat. "It was just a matter of luck that she wasn't pregnant yet." This complicates the surgery, because all of her little reproductive parts are engorged with blood. (Its no wonder she was so affectionate last night.)

The Beesley Humane Society in Murfreesboro, TN is not a shelter, they function as a not-for-profit spay/neuter clinic. Spaying is just $35 and neutering is $25. They fix cats and dogs for the public, rescue groups, ferals--pretty much anyone who asks. However, it can take weeks before an appointment is available. I explained the situation with the silver tabby and they were so kind. They squeezed her in at the end of the day.

She is spending her first post-surgery night in our bathroom. When I brought her dinner, she lept onto my shoulder, rubbing and purring. Can cats express gratitude? In the scientific community, this is not considered a feline emotion. Maybe it was just her residual hormones in action, but I felt deeply appreciated.

Intact cats are so controlled by their fertility that relieving them of it does feel somehow heroic. There is a clear sense of elation involved in all the variations of Trap-Neuter-Return. Usually, feral cats will bolt out of their cages and run for thier lives to avoid being near you (when they are returned to their home after being fixed.) It is such a treat to interact with this young, well-socialized barn cat.

I don't understand all the mysteries of feline sexuality--what parts are pleasure what parts are pain. But I do know that millions of unwanted cats are euthanized every year. I know that spaying helps prevent cancer in female cats, and that the bodies of unspayed females are often ravaged by the endless cycles of kittens. Unneutered toms are by far the highest risk group for FIV (the feline version of AIDS) because it is spread through deep bite wounds incurred during sexually motivated fights.

Spaying and neutering cats is an act of kindness. I look forward to the weeks ahead--after all of the Walking Horse Farm cats are fixed--it will be fascinating to watch their interactions and contrast them with the behavior I observed on Monday.

No comments: