When a male cat courts a female cat, the courtship is intermittent and can take a few days, with the female deciding. If she is in heat, she calls out to all nearby male cats, attracting them through her scent. The male on whose patch the female is showing her readiness to mate has the home advantage. Despite this, other males drawn by the scent will invade the patch, the attraction overriding their fear of the patch’s owner. Naturally, this very quickly leads to conflict, and their aggressive yelps are mistakenly construed by uninformed listeners as cries of love. Yet serious fights are rare in this context: the female is the focal point of their attention and this moderates their belligerence. The real challenge for the males at this point is simply waiting long enough: if they approach the female too early, she responds by lashing out with her paws. The winner is the male who has shown the greatest self-control, approaching her little by little.
Even during the act of mating, the male needs to look out for the female’s sharp claws, which is why he grabs her neck firmly with his teeth. The grip he uses here is the same as that used by a mother cat forcing her young to adopt a motionless posture.
- Why neuter?
If an indoor cat is unable to act on its sexual urges, it suffers greatly. In addition to psychological problems, its physical health will also be at risk (e.g. uterus disease). It is therefore important to have the cat neutered before it reaches sexual maturity. This eliminates odour-intensive marking behaviour on the part of the tomcat and the female is spared her periods (which cats and humans find very burdensome) in heat.
Overpopulation among cats has countless negative consequences. Animals die because of the inadequate food supply. There is also an increased risk of cat diseases like leucosis, FIP or feline panleukopenia spreading, affecting not only strays but also house cats that are allowed to run free.
- Which cats should be neutered?
It is particularly important to neuter both male and female feral cats. Unchecked breeding will disrupt the natural balance and cause the animals a great deal of suffering.
- When should cats be neutered?
Cats can be neutered as early as when they are three to four months old. There is no evidence whatsoever that cats benefit from pregnancy, either physically or psychologically. Neutering should therefore be carried out when the cat is four months old!