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Happy Client Corner — Archives

Drat! Who’s Cat is That?
The Hesitation Blues

By S.D. Galindo, M. Ed.

I heard yowling on the back deck. Skittle was annoyed at a young brown tabby who hopped my fence. In the following weeks, I saw ‘Tabby’ lounging in the morning sun on my deck, surveying my yard with obvious contentment. Zooming in with my camera proved that “he” was not neutered.

I showed photos around but no one recognized him. That spring I had to break up one fight after another. It was time to get a trap.

Fortunately, Coalition: HUMAnE has a network of volunteers and I was able to borrow a trap. The volunteer lived nearby and, since I work all week, it was a real blessing when she offered to take Tabby to the clinic on one of her regular trips. Thank you, Yvonne!

I baited the trap with wet cat food and kept my crew indoors. In the morning, Mr. Tabby was lounging upside-down in the trap playing with his tail. He was too relaxed to be feral and seemed healthy. I wasn’t sure what step two would be, but step one was to get him to Coalition: HUMAnE.

The Humane Society’s Cinderella Program was another blessing at only $10 for strays. Mr. Tabby was affectionate, nippy, hissy, playful and insecure but he was in great spirits after surgery. I kept him indoors a few days. After letting him go, I offered him dry food in front of the house when I saw him, and he stopped jumping the fence. There isn’t any food out back and my 4 cats stay in the yard.

A month later we were out front and I asked another neighbor if she knew him. YES! He lived nearby! That was embarrassing because I knew his family, but had not recognized him.

When I saw one of the kids, I mentioned that Mr. Tabby had been coming by and I had not known who he was. I was told, ‘Yeah, he needs to get fixed because he sprays and cries all the time so he can’t come in the house. He fights, too. He got one ear torn up and now the tip of the other ear got torn clean off.’ He did not realize that clean cut ear tip identifies a stray or feral cat when they’re fixed, and that his cat was fixed over a month ago. I didn’t know what to say so I said nothing.

As winter closed in, thinking of Mr. Tabby being outside, I mentioned to my neighbor that he seemed extra hungry lately. “Maybe he wants to put on some winter weight”, I suggested. Great news! He had stopped spraying, didn’t cry much anymore, and wasn’t fighting so his family now let him inside at night! He is back to his cute kitten habits of stealing loaves of bread and bunches of bananas off the kitchen counters to cache in his special corner. So I told the truth – the bad behavior stopped because I got him neutered.

The Hesitation Blues: Spraying? Fighting? Crying? Bossy? Roaming? Early spay and neuter makes a HUGE difference. Bad habits may take years to stop if you wait too long. Skittle was 3 years old when I found him and got him fixed. It took 4 years for him to stop spraying and bossing my other cats around. Get cats fixed by 4 months of age to prevent adult behaviors from starting. Tom-catting begins at 5–6 months and females can get pregnant at that age, every few months thereafter, and within weeks of having kittens. Don’t hesitate!

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