It is well past midnight and your sound sleep is shattered by the distinctive high-pitched wails of cats in heat. There they crouch, with heads turned up to the sky on top of the fence singing away.
Caterwauling as it is called. It is the sound the male cat makes when sexually excited, usually as a prelude to a fight over the favors of a female.
Cats are naturally, and sometimes passionately, interested in the opposite sex and occasionally in substitute displays of affection directed towards people and animals of other species. The female cat, also know as a queen, when in heat, or season begins to rub and purr. As she gets more excited, she may call, paw the ground or rollover. Siamese females are especially vocal. If she is not confined, her loud wails will attract tomcats and she will be surrounded by males fighting for privilege of mating with her. She may mate with just the winning male, or a cat on the sidelines while the winner is still being decided. Or she could mate with a number of males in succession, which may be nature's way of making sure the female is impregnated.
When the male and the female live together, sometimes the tomcat will pursue the female, courting her for several days, to the exclusion of everything else, including food, until he mates with her.
During the sexual act the female crouches in front of the male who mounts her and grabs hold of the scruff of her neck with his teeth. The male cat then kneads the female's sides and moves his pelvis in rapid thrusts until ejaculation occurs.
Afterwards, as the male withdraws, the female utters a loud cry. Some think this is a cry of ecstasy because the female is usually ready to mate and will do so soon again. Others think it is a cry of pain because the penis of the male cat is barbed. Scratching of the vagina may also be the stimulation need that begins ovulation. This mating period usually last four to seven days.
Cats have been producing kittens without any difficulty for thousands of years, and if you let a female wander she will produce litter after litter of kittens. If you have a pedigree cat then you must keep your animals inside to ensure that the parentage is known. Male pedigree cats if left to roam will fight any local males and could be severely injured.
Pedigree cats are bred in a cattery, and of course the mating is controlled, so that the female mates only with one male. Cats seen to mate less easily in the artificial atmosphere of a cattery. In general practice, it is a good idea, that at least one of the cats to be experienced and that the cats be in adjacent cages so that they are introduced before mating. There is some debate, however, about the number of times the female cat should be mated. Some say once is enough, other like to have a second or third mating just in case the first is unsuccessful.
When being mated in artificial circumstances, things may not go as smoothly as you would think. Some females take a great dislike to the male you have presented her with and uses her claws to defend herself. On the other hand males, because they are away from their familiar surroundings may be impotent.
Gestation period is about 65 days from copulation. There is usually no sign for the first four weeks, then, there is usually a slight swelling of the nipples, which become a deeper pink. By the sixth or seventh week there should be noticeable bumps and a fullness of the side of the female that is generally unmistakable.
Although it may be an exciting time if your cat is going to have kittens, you will be unwittingly adding to the tremendous problem of unwanted cats. There are so many kittens born every day, it is impossible to find responsible homes for them all. The chances of your kittens dying at an early age are very high. Every day thousands of cats and kittens are put to sleep by animal rescue societies. If you think that letting a cat fend for itself will ensure its survival you are greatly mistaken… Feral cats are lucky to live to their second year. Starvation and disease will surely finish off those not killed on the roads. The only way to stop this tragedy is to have your animals spayed or neutered. Please do not think it is cruel to have this done, not only will you contribute to responsible pet ownership, your own animal will be much healthier.
Written by Nancy Norris
Nancy Norris is a Canadian citizen. She was educated in Britain, where she first began training dogs. After returning to Canada she continued her work with companion animals. Nancy has authored many newspaper and magazine articles. President and CEO of Perfect Pets (an Animal Training and Therapy Center) located in Lynden Ontario Canada. Nancy was formerly the Director of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She also was instrumental in creating a dog training program that dealt with mental health patients. She is divorced and lives in Brantford On. Canada.
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