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Monday, March 05, 2007

Another View of Cat Sexuality: Walking Horse Farm

Watching another set of barn cats at my daughter’s riding stable, the Walking Horse Farm, the experience is proving that it isn’t wise to generalize.

These cats are young, around 6 to 8 months and just coming into sexual maturity. The fumbling, testosterone riddled adolescent males are harassing one female—their sister. She isn’t acting like a cat in heat—quite the contrary, she is fighting them off at every turn.

They approach her one at a time, sniffing and biting at her scruff. She roles onto her back in a defensive posture, hissing and growling, kicking with her claws out. Eventually one male will give up and another will take a turn bullying her.

At Harlinsdale Farm, Bill Harlin observed that the three resident Toms will kill the male kittens. As horrible as that sounds, it may be nature’s effective way of curbing sibling incest (something that happens with indoor litters that aren’t neutered soon enough. The results are not pretty.)

Getting these boys fixed would turn them into their sister’s allies, relieving everyone of this relentless pursuit. Getting her fixed would stop an onslaught of roaming Toms that catch her scent as she comes into heat.

“Would you like it if I took the barn cats in to be fixed?” I approach the riding instructor quietly.

Relief floods her face. “You would do that? Really?” Followed by an outpouring of gratitude and explanations about why she is unable to do it herself. “They really aren’t my cats. I feed them, but they just show up here and I can’t afford to take them to the vet. I tried taking one before but the bill was outrageous after all the tests and everything they wanted to do. I’m just scraping by doing all that for the horses. I can’t take on the cats too.”

I explained about the Wilson County Humane Society that does free feral spay/neutering, and some local low cost spay neuter programs. I will do some research to determine the right program for this situation and come back for the cats.

That poor little silver tabby haunts me. I have to take care of her immediately.

***Note: Why start Trap-Neuter-Return on these cats and not the cats at Harlinsdale Farm? I don’t think that the timing is right for the owner to be receptive yet. But it is certainly on my mind.


Katzenmusik said...

Hey ho, I totaly love cats and I can understand your fascination with them. I am studying literature and I write little poems to increase my vocabulary. Please don´t take my poem at face value. However, the situation I described is funny.

A cat is still a cat is still a cat is still a cat

A rainy day
on the roof of our garden cabin
I was in the kitchen looking through the window
One fat muscularly white cat mauled the back of an other more graceful grey one and dug its claws into its thick anf fluffy fur--
She had tried to escape him - now,
only a hair breath distant form the 5 meters deep abyss.
terrifed of falling down.
That´s where he began to seize the chance.

I went outside stood on my toes and looked the white cat into its bestial eyes.

Not on our roof! You are not allowed to have sex on our roof!

That is a public offence!

I went into my room and put a chair right in front of the cabin, climbed up
just to be at eye level with them.

The animals seemed to know exactly why I was talking to them.
5 minutes of silence and unobtrusive moves only.
She too scared of jumping down.
He, with his proud thorax poked out, directing his angry slitshaped pupil at me.
A challenge. Will I throw a stone or wil they jump on my face?

The male cat sniffed at the other cat’s crotch.

Miaouw, Miaouw.

In despair the she jumped down -- directly followed by its much taller counterpart

Running through my neighbours backyard like as it´s a matter of life an death,
and around the corner

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