Did you, or someone you know, get a new kitten last summer? Have you procrastinated about getting her spayed? If you’ve let her outside at all, there’s a good chance she is pregnant. Yes, already! Cats can come into heat as young as five months old. So the best time to get her fixed is probably yesterday – but next to that is today. Stop procrastinating and make the call for an appointment.
January is when female cats start coming into heat. With cats, the heat cycle can last anywhere from three to fourteen days. If not bred, the cat will continue to cycle through heats until either bred or spayed. If you’ve ever lived with a cat in heat you will understand why most people end up throwing them outside just to get some quiet. The yowling and crying a female does has prompted some naïve owners to rush their pet to the veterinarian thinking they are in pain! With hormones completely ruling their behavior, they are relentless in their instinct to mate.
Intact males are equally as driven by the call of nature and will roam further in their efforts to find a female, sometimes becoming lost, injured or killed by a car, in the process. The males will fight over a female causing wounds and abscesses and spreading diseases like FIV. Did you know that several males can mate with the same female during a single heat so there can be different fathers among the same litter of kittens? And that parents can mate with their offspring, and siblings will mate with each other if kept intact? Some people are shocked to hear that but again, once the hormones kick in that is all that counts.
Gestation lasts approximately 63 days and if she is bred again as soon as the first litter is separated at eight weeks old the mom-cat theoretically could have three litters in a year! And by the time she is on the third litter, the kittens from the first are old enough to start reproducing themselves! With an average litter size of four to five kittens you can see how quickly this can become a nightmare. Fortunately, we have a solution!
The City of Rohnert Park, through their Animal Services program offers a monthly “Fix-it Clinic” where cats are spayed and neutered for our residents at no cost. That’s right, it’s FREE! Included in the service are initial vaccinations and a microchip. We call it a free ‘snip and chip’! The only criteria are that you have to be a current resident of Rohnert Park or within the city limits of Cotati. Proof such as a current utility bill and photo ID is required and appointments are booking up quickly. Call our Fix-it Clinic line at 588-3531 for an appointment as soon as possible – before you have an “oops” litter!
You don’t have to wait until your cat shows signs of being in heat to have her fixed. They just have to be four months old to get into our clinic. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could make this spring litter-free? Then we could help out less progressive shelters with their kitten overpopulation.
Bark After Dark – a dinner and auction to help the animals! Sat., February 22, 6:30-10 p.m. Tickets now available at www.AnimalShelterLeagueRP.org or at the RP Animal Shelter. Come enjoy a fun evening and support the Animal Shelter League!!
Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $100 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.