Before you congratulate yourself on the awesome care you’ve been giving this poor wayward kitty, consider another possibility – she’s probably pregnant! Conversely, if a stray cat you’ve been feeding is suddenly looking slimmer, she’s probably popped and has kittens hidden somewhere nearby (keep your eyes open for some movement in your bushes or under a shed in a few weeks). While we thank you for caring enough to offer food to the big brown eyes that showed up on your property, it’s not enough. Most people are OK with feeding one mouth but once it starts multiplying (and it does quickly if left unchecked) they decide it’s too much work and costly and want to surrender all of them. Prevention is the best course of action - if you feed a stray, then neuter and spay!
Female cats start coming into heat in January. You might have heard the growling and yowling of males fighting and females calling. Once they’ve been bred, the noise stops. But that just lulls you into a false sense that everything’s fine! With a gestation period of approximately 64 days, we are coming close to birthing time. If caught now, females can be spayed and we can prevent a flood of kittens into the shelters this spring. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to assure that every kitten has a home? In order to do that we need to limit the numbers being born!
Knowing that paying for spays and neuters (don’t forget to do the males too. They are half – or more – of the problem!) might be outside the budget of some people, especially if there are multiple cats to do, there are several resources to help out. If the cat is feral (wild, you can’t touch him), then Forgotten Felines, Sonoma County’s “trap, neuter, release” organization is who you should contact, 576-7999. They run weekly clinics and have the most efficient system you can imagine that allows them to spay and neuter 40-50 feral cats at each clinic. They have transfer cages to get the cats out of the traps and recovery cages for the ferals to wake up in. It’s an amazing assembly line and they are experts at doing it. This program includes vaccines, flea control, ear-tipping (so it’s obvious who’s been altered, even at a distance) and pain meds for just $30 per cat (negotiable if necessary). Find out more about this extraordinary service at http://www.forgottenfelines.com/sninfo
If the cat is tame enough for you to pet, or your own cat needs to be altered (and you are a low-income RP/Cotati resident), we run a monthly Fix-it Clinic that will alter your cat for free! Included in this deal are vaccinations, flea control and a microchip. Appointments are needed and space in each clinic is limited so call 588-3531 right away to get on the schedule. If you think your cat is already pregnant, please mention that so you can get a priority appointment.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to bring in kittens from other crowded shelters because our residents are ultra responsible and have taken care of our cat population? That’s our goal and we’re doing all we can to make it happen. Now we just need your participation in utilizing these services! Remember – If you feed a stray, then neuter and spay!!
No More Lost Pets – free microchips and pet ID tags for residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati City. Stop by the shelter during our open hours with your pet to get one! The shelter is open Wed 1-6:30 p.m., Thurs.-Fri-Sat 1-5:30 p.m. and Sun. 1-4:30 p.m.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.