We’ve enjoyed February here at Apex Vets. The stark contrast from this time in 2011 is noteworthy.
Then, the first hour of every day at the surgery was spent scraping the car park with a snow shovel so staff and clients could get to the door safely. At one stage, we had dug a path through about 12 inches of snow and ice in order to locate terra firma and provide sound footing to get to our door. This year is different.
Whenever Scotland starts to defrost after another winter, my thoughts turn to cats. Cats are known as ‘Seasonally Polyoestrus’ breeders.
Translated, this means that, unlike dogs who come into season every six months, cats come into season every three weeks without fail. This happens from the end of the frosts in February, right through to September when the nights start to draw in. Seasoned cat owners will know all too well what a cat in season sounds like. Cat people term this ‘calling’, for soon to be obvious reasons.
A female cat when in season will spend about 10 days sprawling herself around the living room shouting (for want of a better term) – she will cry as loudly as her owner has ever heard before. This will be near constant as she searches for a mate (sadly for her, there are very slim pickings in her living room amongst her scratching posts and toy mice).
I have had new owners mistake this with dire illness in the past, and present their beloved cat as an emergency, convinced that she is in agony!
Boy cats are no better. They know when this time of year comes round and will also start to try and escape the sanctuary of their homestead. They will roam, sometimes for miles searching for a mate, and are at risk of encountering traffic, as well as other cats doing the same thing – we see a spike in illness from cat fights and road traffic accidents at this time of year.
The only way to solve your cat’s woes is to have him or her neutered. It is a simple operation and cats rarely ail.
For owners on low income, pensioners and students, the charity Cats Protection is running a neutering drive through March.
Eligible owners can have their cats neutered for £5. Visit www.cats.org.uk or call the local shelter on (01259) 720 555 for more details.