Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I have a 14-month-old Siamese, that first came into season in May of this year, and called every three weeks until September. She has now stopped calling. Will she now not come into season again until next spring?
Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
My cat is 1 year old. She is going in to heat. Is there anything I could give her to help with this?
Siouxsie: Catherine, cats are seasonally polyestrus, which means that they have heat cycles until they are bred. However, cats’ mating seasons are influenced by the length of daylight, the temperature, and the presence of other cats.
Thomas: In the northern hemisphere, the mating season usually runs from March through September, whereas in the southern hemisphere cats cycle from October through March.
Dahlia: However, the anestrus period (the time when cats don’t go into heat) can be as short as three months — typically November through January in the northern hemisphere. So your cat could begin calling again in just a couple of months.
Siouxsie: We noticed that you’re a Siamese cat breeder and that you’re fairly new to this work. To help you learn as much as you can about cat anatomy and health issues, we’d recommend that you make sure you have a very good relationship with your vet and that you consider purchasing a book like the Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook by Debra M. Eldredge, DVM; Delbert G. Carlson, DVM; Liisa D. Carlson, DVM; and James M. Giffin, MD.
Thomas: This book will inform you about all aspects of your cat’s health and anatomy in terms easily understood by lay people, and it even has a few tips about cat genetics and breeding issues.
Dahlia: If you can find another reputable breeder to be a mentor, you’ll probably find that very helpful, too.
Siouxsie: Now, on to Windigo’s question …
Thomas: The only thing you’re really going to be able to give your cat to help her stop going into heat, Windigo, is a spay.
Dahlia: We are very firm believers in the importance of spaying and neutering. Every year, millions of unwanted cats and kittens are euthanized in shelters when homes cannot be found for them. Or worse yet, they are abandoned to fend for themselves and subjected to a short, hard, hungry life, where they will probably die from disease or accident.
Siouxsie: We don’t even like to contemplate such horrible fates. Every day we thank our lucky purrs that we were rescued and spayed or neutered!
Thomas: People often justify not having their cats spayed by saying it’s too expensive. This really isn’t a valid excuse in most developed nations because animal rescue groups offer low-cost spay/neuter clinics, there are organizations all over the US that will help low-income people get their animals spayed or neutered, and some states here in the US actually offer low-cost spay/neuter vouchers.
Dahlia: If you think of the long-term consequences, you’ll find that it’s actually more expensive not to have your cat fixed! You’ll spend more on food, cat litter, vet bills, cleaning up after roaming toms, and lots of other little things. A spay will pay for itself in less than a year. Seriously.
Siouxsie: And spaying your cat will certainly spare you and your neighbors the annoyance of having to deal with a crying, wailing escape artist and the suitors that will come from miles around to woo her and grace your yard with the lovely aroma of tomcat spray.
Thomas: The only people exempt from our injunction to spay or neuter are responsible breeders, as opposed to “backyard breeders” or kitten mills. (Yes, kitten mills do exist, although they don’t get as much publicity as puppy mills.)
Dahlia: Some people have strong negative feelings about the breeding of pedigreed animals, but to them we’d say that whether or not there are responsible breeders, there will always be a demand for purebred cats. We’d rather have that demand satisfied by people who breed cats with knowledge, diligent effort, good vet care, responsibility, and a love for the breed. If only profit-motivated sellers are left, the breeds — and more importantly, the cats themselves — will suffer.
Siouxsie: So, to wrap this up, we’d say to Catherine that you’ve made a huge commitment when you chose to take on being a breeder. We’re delighted that you seem to be doing so responsibly, by learning as much as you can about the breed you’re working with. We hope you can find a mentor in the fancy who can help you get started and learn some things that he or she may have learned the hard way.
Thomas: Windigo, please have your cat spayed as soon as you can. If affordability is an issue for you, check with your local humane society or animal rescue group to see if they offer low-cost spay/neuter clinics or vouchers. If you’re in the US, check the links above to find resources in your area. If you’re outside the US but living in Canada, one of the European countries, or Australia/New Zealand, there are similar organizations. In developing nations, spay/neuter clinics — and veterinarians, for that matter — can be few and far between.
Dahlia: We have readers all over the world, and we’d like to hear from you: If you live outside the US, what resources are available for people who want to get their animals spayed or neutered? Are there any? If so, how did you access those resources?