Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cats in heat

The comic I posted earlier today made me think of my cat Autumn, from my freshman year of high school. I remember it was the middle of summer, and Autumn was acting really strange. She was crying for no reason, rubbing up against things.

We figured out that Autumn was in heat. She had not yet been spayed, and we had waited too long. We then spent the next week locking her up in various rooms of the house. It was particularly hot that summer thanks to El Nino, and our house didn't have air conditioner. We had to keep all the doors and windows shut in the particular room where she was in order to keep her from escaping. I would try and spend as much time as I could with her, without going crazy being cooped up in a hot room! I remember at one time being in my parents' bedroom with her, and I was playing with her and trying to distract her from what her raging hormones were screaming. It was so hot, so I opened the window just a little. The bedroom was on the second story, and there wasn't anything handy to jump on, so I thought I was okay. A little while later, I left to use the bathroom, forgetting about the window. I came back and Autumn was nowhere to be found. About half an hour later we discovered her outside! We couldn't believe she had jumped from a second story window.

What is heat, exactly? It's part of the feline reproductive cycle in female cats where they are ready to mate. This happens for the first time around 4 or 6 months of age. It's pretty easy to tell if your cat's in heat. Some of the signs:
  • unusually affectionate
  • excessive time licking her genital area
  • loud vocalizations or "calling"
  • mating position: head down, forelegs bent, rear quarters and the tail raised and held to the side of the body
  • may also spray vertical surfaces with a strongly scented fluid

If your cat goes into heat, like Autumn did, here are the things you can do:
  • try to calm your cat; devote extra physical attention to her (petting, brushing, cuddling)
  • keep the cat busy; play with her and get her new toys (especially ones that will get her active, running and jumping)
  • a veterinarian can inject your cat with hormones or other medication that can help
  • if you let your cat out she will probably mate with a roaming or feral cat in the neighborhood

Of course, I have to say it. The best, best way to deal with a cat in heat is to get her spayed before she goes into heat! :-)

And what happened to Autumn? Well all our struggles were for naught. About two months later, she graced us with four precious kittens. And that is another story for another time.

We have never procrastinated getting our animals spayed and neutered again. :-)

This post brought to you by Phentermine

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