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What to do when your cat is in heat
A few weeks ago I wrote a piece on feline fertility, which is one of the key issues of a pet owner’s life and is something of a universal topic of conversation with owners of all types of pets. While it has been widely read and is also popular on sites like Facebook, it was written for a specific audience, and many people have either said that the article was too basic or too complex, or they have some different concerns to add. One very common concern that gets brought up is what to do when you realize your cat is in heat, and then you know what you need to do!
I recently sat down with my friend and vet, Dr. Karen Wieslander, who happens to be the best vet in the business and often has me in her office at least once a year when I’m in town. My cats are all vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and if they need it, they are on flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives. Our only remaining worry is fertility. I do not want any litter box issues.
Karen said, “There are several things you can do to try to head this off, but you need to check your vet and the local board on animal control in the area you live to find out about local ordinances. Some localities have ordinances that are more restrictive than others, but even if they are more lenient than your state, you still need to make sure it’s OK for your cat to be there. It may be a no-no, or it may be as simple as keeping her on her leash until she’s dry. It may also be that you are prohibited from bringing her into your house unless the heating system is on for an extended period of time. If there’s no room to keep her in your home and there’s no room to keep her outside, that’s even a bigger problem.”
Karen was kind enough to share the resources below:
Litter box regulations. Some localities have ordinances that are more lenient than others. To see if yours is on the list, you can visit the city’s webpage for a list of prohibited animals.
If your local city or county has not yet passed an ordinance, you may want to start the ball rolling to educate people in your area about your cat’s needs and what constitutes appropriate sheltering.
City ordinances on cat control.
Litter box guidelines. “In some places, you can’t even keep a cat out in the yard. The guidelines for keeping them out of the yard are very specific and will be spelled out in detail. Most cities have laws that do not allow you to have more than one cat inside the home. Many require that your cat not have access to food or water outside of the yard and that it is kept away from other animals, food and water.”
“My home is a safe home for my cat,” says Karen, and we are glad to see she is taking steps to protect her home’s residents.
“You may choose to get the cat a permanent home or not, but there are things you need to consider, such as how does the cat or cats feel about having a roommate, do you know how to spay or neuter your cat and what happens if you die or move?” says Dr. Nunn. “Do you need to think about things like home insurance or pet insurance, because your cat may be your responsibility for the rest of your life? It may seem like a big deal, but in some cases, the investment you make in finding a home for your cat may save your cat’s life.”
We are grateful for Karen’s insight and advice on caring for our four-legged friends. It is amazing how many of our feline friends will find a new home when they arrive at our shelter.
“Cats are amazing. I just love them. My daughter and I decided that there is no greater reward than having a pet,” said Karen. “I do think people should consider the animal before they make a decision to have a pet and I think I made the right decision to have a pet,” says Karen.
It is amazing how the bond we share with our animals will make a difference in our lives. The first time you meet a furry friend, it will forever change your life.
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