by Barbara George
Tellington Ttouch Behaviourist
As the weather warms up so do hormones in cats. The gentle cat sleeping in the sun turns into a violent, howling gang member, out looking for fights and females. The ladies aren’t much better, parading with their finest fur looking for mates.
This is a serious situation, made more so as many roaming cats carry diseases that can be passed on to other cats through fights. Other unintended consequences are cats being chased, getting lost, hit by cars or caught by dogs.
Most of this action happens at night so we are only aware of more than usual cat fights, howling and growling, and of course the smell of un-neutered Tom cat around the house, indoors as well as outside.
Apart from death and injury for many cats at this time, there are the hundreds of kittens that are born to live on the streets and perpetuate the issue of feral and homeless cats. Only a small number of these kittens will find homes, few will reach maturity and the remainder are condemned to a short life of disease, pain, hunger and abuse.
There are steps that every pet owner can take to reduce the risks of infection, death, and loss of their pets.
- Sterilise all your pets, both male and female, as soon as possible. A girl cat can have her first litter at 4 months of age while she is still a kitten herself. If you cannot afford a private vet contact the rescue centres, they often have less expensive options or can advise you where to go.
- Keep your pets indoors at night, all night, every night.
- Clean up any tom-cat smells as these may upset your cat and lead to unacceptable behaviour. There are many solutions available for cleaning different surfaces. Do not use any product that contains bleach or ammonia.
- Cat-proof your garden as best possible to keep other cats out.
- Support your local rescue shelter – they are desperately trying to put the situation right.
- Be a responsible pet owner. Educate other owners on the need to sterilise pets.
- Help create and support controlled and managed feral colonies in your area – speak to the local rescue centres for details and how to help.