A female or queen usually becomes sexually mature between 7 and 12 months of age but some may have their first heat earlier. Cats living a natural life in the wild will have regular seasons of sexual activity, coming into heat for up to 4 days at intervals of about two to three weeks until the season ends or pregnancy intervenes, whichever comes first. These seasons are usually in Spring and Summer and again, possibly, in the Autumn.
Where cats are kept under domestic conditions, especially in flats without access to the world outside, breeding activity is often erratic and unpredictable.
Unfortunately, if you do not want to breed from your cat there seems to be no problem in her becoming pregnant. The answer, of course, is to have her spayed (see Neutering below).
A tomcat usually becomes sexually active earlier than the queen and may well develop an interest in the opposite sex by the time he is six months old. Unless you intend to use your tomcat at stud, you are well advised to seek advice about neutering from your Veterinary Surgeon.
|Temporary Control of Heat||The Tomcat|
Sexual activity may be prevented in both queen and tomcat by neutering. Surgical neutering is irreversible but there are chemical methods of control for the queen that can be helpful, where temporary control is needed.
Unless you can keep your queen inside whenever she is in season and be sure that you can detect heat as soon as it starts, you will be wise to consider having your cat spayed. Your neighbourhood tomcats, remember, will detect when your cat is in heat quicker than you can! Unless you really need a litter of kittens for genuine reasons, do not be tempted to have one because you think it will be good for her, she will feel fulfilled or it will improve her temperament. It makes little or no difference to her good or bad nature whether she has a litter or not.
If she does have a litter, remember that as the kittens are weaned and they depend less upon their mother's milk, she is likely to come into heat and, if given the opportunity, will soon be in kitten again. So get in touch with your local Veterinary Surgeon when the kittens are 4 weeks old to book the operation.
Temporary Control of Heat
The chemical methods of heat control involve the use of hormones but, because cats kept in the home are often erratic in their breeding seasons, the injectable methods commonly used in the bitch are not so predictable in their effects on the cat. However, your Veterinary Surgeon can supply hormone tablets, which are effective.
Most tomcats have two secondary sexual characteristics. Firstly, the production of a smelly urine and an almost irresistible desire to spray it everywhere around its territory, including the home. Secondly, fighting the competition for the favours of any queen in the area that comes into heat.
The first is obviously undesirable.
The second may well increase your Veterinary expenses as abscesses frequently follow cat bites.
Further, the entire or uncastrated tom has more reason to cross the road, which increases its chances of causing an accident. Assuming that you do not intend to use your tomcat for breeding, you should consider neutering to safeguard your own cat and reduce the number of unwanted kittens.
An abscess is a localised collection of pus. A wall of thick, fibrous tissue encompasses this pus.