Cold weather plus cats in heat equals kittens

Cold weather plus cats in heat equals kittens

Baby, it may be cold outside but this is when babies are made. I’m talking about kittens for those of you shocked at the first sentence.

January is typically the start of the feline breeding cycle (in this area), with females coming into heat. How do you know if that’s happening to your sweet kitty? She becomes a yowling, affectionate machine. Pet her on her lower back and she will throw her tail up and sashay around. You might find that she tries to dash out the door, too. You might also notice a new male, or two, hanging around your house and hear them fighting during the night. They are jousting for the rights to breed.

Only one thing to do in a situation like this, and no, throwing the female outside so you can finally get some sleep is not the answer. Spaying the females and neutering the males is not only the right thing to do, it is quick, permanent and free! The nice thing about the kitty arias is that hearing them gives you the opportunity to catch and spay them before they are pregnant and have accidental litters. Even if it’s not your cat singing and fighting outside your window, please don’t ignore it. What they are actually singing is, “Spay me! Spay me!”  Ok, maybe not, but that’s what I hear it as. And it won’t cost you a cent to get involved – just a bit of time.

We offer free cat spays and neuters (yes, please catch the boys, too!) to community cats (the “un-owned” stray that you’ve been kind enough to feed for weeks or months) and for pets of low-income residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati. The saying we live by is “if you feed a stray, then neuter and spay.”

The real problem is when someone (or a group of people) is feeding an outdoor cat but no one claims ownership, someone who cares enough needs to take the initiative to trap the cat so she can be altered. It’s amazing how many kind people will feed a cat and then watch as they go through a heat, mating sessions, two months of pregnancy, and two plus months of nursing kittens and then call to complain that there are too many cats in their area and they want us to magically make them go away. It doesn’t work that way. If you are hearing the yowling, then chances are the kittens will be born on or close to your property – and then it’s a bigger problem you are dealing with.

We really need to stop the proliferation of these feral, or community (free-roaming) cats, which is where the bulk of the kittens come from. We’re willing to cover the costs for getting them spayed and neutered, but the problem is reaching the people caring for these animals because they aren’t our typical audience.

If you work with low-income clients, with the Hispanic community, with seniors, or with anyone that might have an unaltered pet, please help spread the word about our program (there are similar low-cost spay-neuter programs in all other parts of our county; you can have them call us for referrals). We have a flyer available at the shelter (in English and Spanish) that you can post around your neighborhood or at work. Just stop by and pick up a few.

We’re doing what we can to stop the problem by offering free and low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to our community. Won’t you help by spreading the word? Especially if you are tired from being awakened at night to the sounds of the kitty chorus.

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